Lawmakers in New York, including Senator George Latimer (D-37), are pushing state Education Commissioner John King to delay the Common Core standards and tests.
“On paper Common Core looks positive,” Latimer told Breitbart News. “But I am a bottom up guy. Education should not be federal or state. It should be local.”
Earlier this month, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) said he expected the Board of Regents to develop a plan to improve or delay new Common Core standards. Test scores plummeted after the state adopted Common Core standards, with only 31% of students passing the exams in math and reading; last year, 55% passed in reading and 65% passed in math.
“Communities are different,” he said. “Everyone learns differently. There is too much testing and over standardization. There are many students who learn while doing something. For example, some learn biology better by going to the zoo.”
“They are going full speed ahead. They need to hit the pause button because that is what prudent people do in business.”
Latimer’s district is outside of New York City and contains neighborhoods that are both wealthy and not wealthy. He wants an opt-out program if schools already show great achievement.
“Are they hitting those metrics? Then leave them alone,” he said. “There are schools who already have a great graduating rate and many students accepted into four year universities. There are schools that are not doing so great. That is where you put your emphasis. Let schools opt out if they hit the metrics.”
He also has great concern with the data collection in Common Core. The database will allow government to collect testing date, but they also can access private information from birth onward. These include health care histories, income information, religion, voting records, and blood type. Latimer said he does not believe the government can use any of this information and turn it around even on a yearly basis.
“It’s a breach of privacy,” he said. “Show me in concrete ways how collecting this data works.”
He flat-out asked the board if they knew the data would be safe and no one would be able to hack and steal information. No one was able to give him a response.
Constituents on both sides of the aisle have told Latimer they do not like Common Core. The people are upset with the government, and he said the average voter will not stand for this.
“We disagree on many issues, but not when it comes to our child’s education,” said Latimer.
Latimer said this issue is bipartisan, and lawmakers want the Board of Regents at their February meeting to design a plan that addresses these issues. Lawmakers can legislate the way test results are used to evaluate teacher performance.
“If we do not like the board’s response we will legislate,” he said. “We do not want to legislate, but we will.”