The New York State Department of Education is expected to delay full implementation of the controversial Common Core Standards today, following yesterday’s recommendations by the State Board of Regents. Since its inception, the Common Core has raised the ire of teachers and parents alike who fear the expanded role of standardized testing would negatively impact their students and children.
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch acknowledged the confusion and anxiety that has arisen over the new core standards in a statement released by the Board.
“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,” she said. “This report is designed to make significant and timely changes to improve our shared goal of implementing the Common Core. We have heard strong support for higher standards, but we have also heard a desire for more time. The Regents work group put together a series of strong adjustments that will help improve implementation without sacrificing the high standards we've set for our students.”
Those adjustments, which have already been approved by the Board of Regents and Higher Education Committees, would give districts more flexibility in the number of major tests they implement and how they would go about evaluating teachers. An expedited review process for districts which wish to amend their teacher evaluation process would be put in place, local traditional standardized testing for grade K-2 would be eliminated from teacher evaluations, and a cap of 1% of classroom time would be placed on local assessments used for teacher evaluations.
Additionally, “Teaching is the Core” grants would be issued to help districts review their local assessments and eliminate those that are needless or duplicative. The new changes would also delay the requirement to pass Common Core Regents exams at what is considered a college and career-ready level until 2022—five years past the original goal of 2017.
“These changes will help give principals, teachers, parents and students the time to adjust to the new standards without stopping our progress toward the goal we all share: college and career readiness for every student," said Tisch.
“The implementation of the higher standards has been uneven, and these changes will help strengthen the important work happening in schools throughout the state,” added Education Commissioner John King. “As challenging as implementation has been, we have to remember one important fact: the old standards were not adequate. Every year, despite our state's many excellent districts and schools, 140,000 students leave high school without the skills they need for college and career success.”
Not every official believes the delays will have a positive impact on New York’s education system as the state transitions into the Common Core, however. Governor Andrew Cuomo wasted little time in lambasting the Board of Regents for what he characterized as a “series of missteps” which he believes are cause to “seriously reexamine its capacity and performance.”
“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,” said Cuomo. “However, Common Core’s implementation in New York has been flawed and mismanaged from the start.
“…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.”
The governor went on to state that he had created a commission to “thoroughly examine how we can address these issues,” and that the commission has already begun its work.