State Education Department Taking Decisive Action to Improve Common Core Implementation

The State Education Department announced yesterday that it is taking action to improve implementation of the Common Core Standards.

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Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. yesterday announced the State Education Department is moving forward in addressing recommendations made by the New York State Educational Conference Board to improve implementation of the Common Core Standards. The SED also announced that the New York State Board of Regents is likely to approve its State School Aid proposal for the 2014-15 state budget, which would increase state aid by $1.3 billion.

The ECB is comprised of the Conference of Big 5 School Districts, NYS Association of School Business Officials, NYS Council of School Superintendents, NYS Parent Teacher Association, NYS School Boards Association, NYS United Teachers, and the School Administrators Association of NYS. Earlier this year the group released a report identifying five means of improving the implementation of the Common Core.

“The Board of Regents is committed to the Common Core, and so is the Educational Conference Board. Any major reform requires adjustment along the way, and ECB has presented a thoughtful response to the challenges that come with raising standards for teaching and learning,” Tisch said.

Commissioner King confirmed that the SED will address each of the five areas in the following ways:

  • Increasing understanding. In addition to the 20 statewide forums just completed by King and the Board of Regents members, the SED is expanding its Common Core website, including utilizing an educators’ blog to feature positive Common Core happenings in schools and instructional videos. SED will also work to increase understanding around the Common Core for parents of students with disabilities.
  • Professional development. In addition to the thousands of teachers and principals it has trained in best practices for implementation, SED will continue to work on the regional level by providing more than $70 million in Race to the Top professional-development grants to high-need districts. In addition the Board of Regents is proposing a $125 million (increasing to $200 million per year in subsequent years) Core Instructional Development Fund to support professional development and parental involvement.
  • Ensuring adequate funding. The Board of Regents proposal to increase state aid by $1.3 billion for school districts will improve funding equity while providing additional funding for new instructional materials.
  • Concerns with testing. The SED has reduced the number of questions and testing time on the federally required assessments for grades 3-8 and is working to further reduce testing time and eliminate stand alone, multiple choice field tests. The Department is also working with the U.S. Department of Education to adjust assessment policies for English language learners and students with disabilities.
  • Review and refinement. In order to ensure fairness, high school students will have the option of taking the old form of certain Regents exams, along with the Common-Core aligned version. SED is also empowering Content Advisory Panels, comprised of educators from across the State, to guide professional development and state-created optional instructional materials.

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[Source: NYS Education Department]

Photo by Daniel Case via Wikimedia Commons