Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) blasted the New York State Board of Regents’ proposal to delay the impact of the Common Core assessments on teachers and students until 2022 as yet another attempt to delay the state’s new teacher evaluation system.
In a statement Monday, Cuomo said, “The Regents’ response is to recommend delaying the teacher evaluation system and is yet another in a long series of roadblocks to a much-needed evaluation system, which the Regents had stalled putting in place for years.”
Claiming that the Regents’ revision was “too little, too late,” Cuomo said, “As far as today’s recommendations are concerned, there is a difference between remedying the system for students and parents and using this situation as yet another excuse to stop the teacher evaluation process.”
“Common Core is the right goal and direction as it is vital that we have a real set of standards for our students and a meaningful teacher evaluation system,” Cuomo said. “However, Common Core’s implementation in New York has been flawed and mismanaged from the start,” he added.
The Governor said he is appointing a commission to “thoroughly examine the situation.”
Cuomo’s response, however, is illustrative of many state leaders who actually support the nationalized standards yet are drawing attention to what they are calling the standards’ flawed “implementation” or “rollout,” rather than the significant problems of a top-down education system that is directed by an alliance between corporatists and political elites.
“We have listened to the concerns of parents and teachers,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch. “We’ve heard the concerns expressed at the hearings and forums, and we regret that the urgency of our work, and the unevenness of implementation, have caused frustration and anxiety for some of our educators, students, and their families.”
Education Commissioner John King, Jr. echoed support for the Common Core standards while regretting their “implementation” in New York.
“Any major shift – especially one involving 700 school districts, more than 4,500 schools, and millions of students – is going to require adjustments and course corrections along the way,” King said. “The implementation of the higher standards has been uneven, and these changes will help strengthen the important work happening in schools throughout the state.”
“As challenging as implementation has been, we have to remember one important fact: the old standards were not adequate,” he added.
According to The Buffalo News, the delay in the Common Core assessments until 2022 would mean that today’s fourth-graders would be the first group required to meet the state’s graduation requirements tied to the national standards.
In addition, teachers who were slow to launch the standards in their classrooms would now have some protection against lower performance ratings due to their students’ poor scores on the Common Core-aligned assessments.
The changes include:
- Extending the phase-in for high school Regents exams aligned with the Common Core so that the Class of 2022 would be the first required to pass new English and math exams with higher scores. Earlier classes would still take Regents exams tied to Common Core but would face a lower threshold for passing.
- Delaying the sharing of student names and addresses with inBloom Inc., a private data service provider that will manage a new statewide student information system, until the Legislature can address student privacy concerns.
- Preventing school districts from using traditional standardized tests to measure the progress of kindergarten through second-graders for teacher and principal evaluations and give more flexibility for school districts to reduce local testing connected to the evaluations.
- Capping the amount of time school districts can spend on local standardized tests that are used for teacher and principal evaluations.
Philip Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, said the changes merely addressed problems with the Common Core implementation that have already happened, not problems that are anticipated.
“In my opinion,” he said, “it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg.”
New York State Allies For Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of parent and educator groups, released a statement expressing “extreme disappointment that the NYS Regent Common Core Taskforce refused to address the real issues undermining education in this state and made only minor tweaks to current policies.”
“The report is quite clear that the Regents continue to ignore the deep flaws in the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), excessive high stakes state testing and student data sharing,” the statement said.