The president of education company Achieve, Inc., which has received millions of dollars in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop and implement the Common Core standards, is celebrating the fact that New York lawmakers will continue implementation of the controversial nationalized standards.
“Today’s action in Albany is good news for New York’s students,” said Achieve president Michael Cohen in a statement on the company’s website. “It demonstrates that state elected officials, education leaders, and teachers can come together and unite behind the goal of preparing all students for college and career and of enabling teachers to do the difficult work of implementing the Common Core standards without distraction.”
“At a time when over 50% of students in New York community colleges and more than 10% of students who enter 4-year colleges in New York are required to take remedial courses, the status quo is a bad deal for New York students, their families, and taxpayers,” Cohen added. “Effective implementation of the Common Core standards is a key component of New York’s strategy for turning these results around.”
Despite the fact that a Times Union/Siena College Upstate Education poll released last week found that an overwhelming 82 percent of New Yorkers are opposed to the Common Core standards, legislators in New York approved a measure, sponsored by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), that continues implementation of the nationalized standards but changes the impact that the aligned assessments have on some teacher and principal evaluations for both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.
As Education Week reports, the legislation states that “teachers and principals won’t be at risk of losing their jobs or being denied certain job protections if they receive the two lowest ratings on the evaluation system” for these two school years.
A memo from the governor’s office that accompanied the legislation, however, said the measure “does not include a moratorium or delay.”
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), which withdrew its support for the Common Core standards and New York State Education Commissioner John King due to problems with curricula and materials related to the standards, turned around and praised Cuomo for his bill, calling it a “necessary first step” to further evaluate the state’s transition to the Common Core.
Though the state initially feared it could lose $300 million in federal funding because of the changes in teacher and principal evaluations with respect to the Common Core, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan subsequently issued a statement in support of Cuomo’s legislation, responding that the measure would ensure the state would move forward with implementation of the standards.
“Michael Cohen claims the legislation demonstrates that state elected officials, education leaders, and teachers can come together and united behind the goal of preparing all students for college and career,” Yvonne Gasperino, a parent organizer of Stop Common Core in New York State, told Breitbart News. “He will continue to spin this as a positive move; the reality, however, is that this deal was done to protect our teachers from the Common Core disaster.”
“Teachers are not united, and parents are still trying to figure out how this is good news for students, as yet again not a single bill has been passed this year that is ‘child-focused’ and that will relieve their suffering,” Gasperino continued. “This deal might quiet down the unions a bit but will not quiet down the parents at all.”
“Cohen’s remedial course statement and statistics are yet again just a distraction from the truth,” she added, “as Common Core is designed for the minimum definition of college per Jason Zimba, author of the Common Core Math standards; so an effective implementation will only meet that low bar set by these standards.”
Glen Dalgleish, also with Stop Common Core in New York State, told Breitbart News, “While the poll results suggest parents are starting to pay attention to the Common Core issue, the implementation continues to be the red herring used by the pro-Common Core crowd to divert the attention away from the standards themselves.”
“Parents are still putting their faith in their school district assuming there is still a lot of local control, unaware that those school districts have had their hands tied and are no longer in control,” Dalgleish explained. “The standards are copyrighted and cannot be changed; the tests will be done by third parties with no visibility to those teachers they trust.”