Common Core Under Fire from State Lawmakers

Parents packed a Port Chester auditorium in October 2013 to protest the Common Core standards and tests.
Parents packed a Port Chester auditorium in October 2013 to protest the Common Core standards and tests.
Leaders of the New York Assembly and Senate said they would push the state Board of Regents for a moratorium on the tests connected to the Common Core standards, for measuring both student and teacher performance, according to capitalnewyork.com.

State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Westchester, Bronx), one of the Senate's co-leaders, issued a statement with co-leader Dean Skelos  and Senate Education Committee chair John Flanagan.

“We continue to support the goals of an improved education curriculum that increases standards and ensures that students are college and career ready,” the statement said. 

Common Core and the state's whole school-improvement initiative, called EngageNY, has come in for increasingly loud and angry criticism from parents, educators and lawmakers since its adoption by the state Education Department. They complained that SED set the pass scores too high right away on tests of material students had barely been introduced to, that children were being needlessly stressed by incessant testing and that teachers were being unfairly rated by the flawed test system.

Harry Phillips, who represents the lower Hudson Valley on the Board of Regents, said he thought the board and state education officials had been "tone-deaf" in the implementation. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office responded to the lawmakers' statements with a press release from Communications Director Melissa DeRosa.

"The Governor believes that we need to set real standards for our students and have a meaningful teacher evaluation system, and continues to support the Common Core agenda.," she said in the statement. 

"However, the Governor believes that the way that Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed, leading to too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety among students and their parents. The strength of public education in New York is dependent on a rational system that is well administered.

"Two weeks ago, the Governor announced that he will assemble a panel that includes education experts and members of the legislature to identify flaws in Common Core’s rollout and take corrective action by the end of this session. The Governor believes there are two issues – common core and teacher evaluations – and they must be analyzed separately. It would be premature to consider any moratorium before the panel is allowed to do its work." 

emetib February 04, 2014 at 06:07 PM
We are creating an entire of generation of people that will unable to perform simple math calculations, enjoy a book, compose a letter or resume', or compete in our global economy.
Theresa Flora February 04, 2014 at 08:56 PM
Public education in disarray. How shocking!
Teleman February 04, 2014 at 08:58 PM
It's all part of the liberal agenda to eliminate free-thinking. What better way to control people than to ensure they remain poorly educated. Can you say "obama elected twice:?
Bob Zahm February 05, 2014 at 01:27 AM
Common core is sound. The issues in NY center on a failed rollout - requiring in the first year of its implementation that test results be used to decide teacher performance is putting the cart ahead of the horse. Nothing wrong with the testing per se so long as the teachers have been trained in the upgraded curricula, appropriate classroom materials have been made available, etc., but this has not happened in many districts given the cost and lack of funding for the changes. Just too bad that Gov Cuomo and the NY education establishment chose to use the $750million in race to the top funds to fill other budget gaps rather than support the cross-state needs for introducing common core. But this is a cross-party mess - both Republicans and Demos (although in NY, primarily a Cuomo present) are responsible.
Flower Jasmin February 05, 2014 at 07:19 AM
I found quite a few mistakes in the publications of the books. One can see that it was done fast. Regarding the testing I understand the frustration. I personally take it easy but I see that my child is loosing points because he does not do all the steps required (in math). He can do advanced math way beyond his age but he has lower scores then other kids. Teachers and educators have to stop pleasing the kids and parents but I cannot see it happen in US.
Jeffrey February 05, 2014 at 07:23 AM
RyeBob is correct. Common Core is a sound education curriculum. However, Gov. Cuomo forced the rollout across the state before the teachers were properly trained, parents were updated on the changes and children were effectively introduced over time. Cuomo jumped on the "Common Core" bandwagon before he himself understood the ramifications and shoved it down his administration's throat like he does with all of his knee jerk political decisions.
Rose Marie Raccioppi February 05, 2014 at 09:20 AM
Common Core Standards It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. Albert Einstein Attended a school sponsored presentation of Common Core Standards... there is a need to understand their implications for teaching, for parenting, for understanding the principles of child development. Policy makers can be questioned, can be challenged, can be presented with research, writings, educational programs that have proven to serve the multiplicity of needs, the diversity of learning styles, the realms of creativity and the benefits of independent thinking. EDUCATION IS NOT TO BE RELEGATED TO SCRIPTED PACKETS OF INSTRUCTION... I have read hundreds of posts in response to the newly adopted, "Core Standards." There is significant concern. A position must be established that assures our children's progress and well being. Most certainly 'standards' have inherent value, but are NOT to be instituted at the demise of a child's mental, physical and spiritual well being. Having worked in private practice with hundreds of learners, I have come to appreciate and value diversity, imaginative thinking, creativity, and learning styles that do not respond well to being 'boxed in.'
funkjohnson February 05, 2014 at 09:47 AM
Jeffrey and Ryebob, on what basis are you declaring that the Common Core is a sound education curriculum? Do you work for Pearson?
Class of 74 February 05, 2014 at 10:38 AM
I keep thinking about Arne Duncan's comment about suburban mothers and their kids and school districts. It's about time that children are challenged to be the best they can and learn to work hard. The schools in my district are just turning out a bunch of lazy winers. Maybe now they will stop crying and start learning.
Pat Godfrey February 05, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Common core is a bad idea. The states and local boards are the people who should have jurisdiction over what is taught in their own local schools not someone sitting in an office in DC. You cannot give this same person power to tell a teacher in Florida and Alaska what and how to teach. The people in their own community know what's best for their own children.
Rose Marie Raccioppi February 05, 2014 at 10:55 AM
Pat Godfrey, As I read your comment, I thought of how absurd. "the same for all" can be when applied to the extreme. A farmer, a builder, an architect, plants differently, builds differently, designs differently, according to local conditions and needs. Differences and diversity are characteristic of earth as too, each child, each location, each challenge. Out of specificity of time, location, need, can come specific as well as universal concepts, each to be respected, each to be honored, each to be woven into visions that serve local needs and vantages points, as well as universal needs and vantage points, One is NOT to be sacrificed for the other. As an Educational Consultant/Therapist, serving hundreds across the age span, it has become more than clear that diversity itself is 'core' to the human condition, growth and development and is NOT to be compromised by imposing a 'one fits all' educational policy.
Sam Clark DiBrell February 05, 2014 at 11:22 AM
The mistake is not in having a Common Core, but in making it so expansive and time-consuming, that fulfilling it eliminates time for teacher creativity and individuality of additional information to be presented. Additionally, having a plethora of standardized tests, to which the Common Core is linked, wreaks havoc on delivering the breadth and depth of learning and needed attention to differences in learning styles.
Theresa Flora February 05, 2014 at 12:32 PM
My biggest concern is the Leftist agenda being pushed by public schools. I've already put 3 kids though K-12, and still have an elementary schooler. This didn't just start with Common Core; it's been going on for decades, and it's been allowed to happen. Parents have allowed their rights to be eroded, and schools were/are all too happy to take over. As far as giving districts local control: why is that a cure all? They're certainly not good stewards of tax dollars. In 15 years, I've seen more math programs than I can remember. New ways to long divide, only to come back to the way we oldsters learned decades ago. That's just one example. Public education is a rotten mess. There aren't any answers, it's too far gone. I don't even want to start discussing the teachers unions.
smellypants February 05, 2014 at 01:54 PM
The Common Core finally resolves our State's education policies.
eatingdogfood February 05, 2014 at 02:07 PM
The indoctrination centers are in full force!
Bob Zahm February 05, 2014 at 06:26 PM
@FunkJohnson - I have read a great deal of the common core standards in English and math. I did this as part of reviewing my city's school district's submission of their testing plans in 2012. I have also compared what common core changes to what Rye already had as its curriculum. So my opinion is my own and not that of Pearson or some other organization. Your attempted slam was unnecessary.
Bob Zahm February 05, 2014 at 06:26 PM
@Pat Godfrey - Local Boards of Education still have control over their curriculum and standards. Common Core sets a baseline. Each district is free to raise the standards or add additional materials.
Bob Zahm February 05, 2014 at 06:28 PM
@Theresa Flora - why do you attempt to push the meme that Common Core is a product of "lefties"? This is a bi-partisan mess. The testing and coupling to teacher performance evaluations / compensation come from the "right" as much as anything may come from the "left".
Theresa Flora February 05, 2014 at 07:10 PM
RyeBob: I never said CC was a product of "lefties". What I said was, public education was hijacked by the Left decades ago. The math curriculum everybody is moaning about now isn't the worst thing to me. I've seen math programs come and go. That goes for spelling also. What I despise is the progressive agenda force fed to children and the feel-good programs during the school day that waste valuable class time. As a parent, I've spent lots of time filling in the educational gaps, as well as "counter-indoctrinating" my kids. As far as testing, there's always been testing. But now the teachers are beside themselves because a percent of their eval/comp is tied to the test. The progressives are experiencing a bit of the real world.
Allison White February 26, 2014 at 08:39 AM
Stop the New York State Education Department (NYSED) from sharing confidential information without parental consent and violating the privacy rights of students and parents. Sign the petition at this link http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/protect-new-york-state
Harold1968 March 03, 2014 at 04:59 PM
Teachers don't want to be held accountable for the teaching, or lack of teaching, they provide. They're getting parents all riled up so CC is delayed and eventually killed. The teachers I know personally don't care about their students. They became teachers to work nine months of the year, get six figure salaries with two annual raises, retire in their 50's with $100,000+ annual pensions and free healthcare for life. Wake up taxpayers! We pay higher and higher taxes for teacher compensation while our kids fail miserably compared to the rest of the world. Bad teachers need to be fired without years of litigation, teachers need to teach our children at least 210 days each year, they need to retire at 67 like we do, they need to be switched to 401K plans like the rest of us, they need to pay for their own healthcare and get one annual raise based on inflation. Wake up New York, you're getting ripped off by the teachers union and the politicians they own.
Robert Wingate March 03, 2014 at 07:53 PM
I have put two children through high school in several Westchester school districts, as well as having lived in Colorado where far few dollars were allocated for public education, to the great detriment of the systems and students in that state. I think the majority of the teachers our children have studied with, in both places, have been conscientious, intelligent and committed educators, and New York in particular has been blessed by high quality teaching in many of its schools. I think the schools could probably do a decent job working with the Common Core's emphasis on more rigorous thinking, if given the sufficient level of resources needed to train and support teachers in the course of the rollout. I do not have the sense that our state, with its often penny-wise and pound-foolish attitude toward holding back resources from school districts in need, such as by imposing a stifling property tax cap, has made this commitment in full, even as it has enforced the standardized evaluation measures that come with the curriculum. But I think local school districts are trying to catch up to the curriculum's demands. I wish them luck.
Harold1968 March 04, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Robert, Taxpayers have been throwing money at the education system for decades while being told by the teachers union to "think of the children!". Ironically the more we give the teachers the worse our children do compared to the rest of the world. Taypayers are done with this charade. The tax cap is the only sanity in the county with the highest property taxes in America.
Aidan April 11, 2014 at 10:05 PM


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