In a letter to superintendents and principals, state Education Commissioner John King defended the controversial Common Core testing standards and knocked “misinformation” at the 20 contentious forums he held across the state in recent months.
King said that the state has taken steps to ease the burden of new testing on students and teachers, saying that the rigorous standards will better prepare students for college and careers.
“The Common Core is the first set of learning standards back-mapped grade by grade from what students need to know and be able to do in college and the workforce,” King wrote in the letter released Monday afternoon.
King has been criticized for the Common Core standards and accused of dismissing the concerns of students, parents and schools over the new testing, which was implemented last school year for math and English students in third through eighth grades. He was berated by the audience at a forum in Poughkeepsie in October, then cancelled subsequent events.
But he was knocked for the cancellations and then held 20 forums and television events to listen to concerns about the tests, which are also used in part to evaluate teacher performance.
Carl Korn, spokesman for the New York State United Teachers union, said King’s letter is another indication that the state isn’t listening to the public’s objections to the tests. He said recent changes by the state Education Department are “superficial at best.”
The union has called for a three-year moratorium on Common Core.
“The state Education Department is failing to take responsibility for its own disastrous implementation of the Common Core,” Korn said. “The department continues to try to shift the blame to school districts and teachers, instead of listening to the voices of thousands of parents and teachers who have attended forums and have demanded change.”
Here’s King’s letter: