The head of the state Education Department on Thursday defended New York’s implementation of the Common Core standards, answering a barrage of questions from a panel of state senators who pressed him on testing and student-privacy concerns.
Testifying in front of the Senate Education Committee, Education Commissioner John King questioned the need for a delay of the Common Core or using the results to evaluate teachers. Some lawmakers have called for a delay in the program’s implementation.
“The question is to delay what, exactly?” King said. “Because the Common Core as a set of standards is something that is widely agreed upon. And in fact, in classrooms across the state … good things are happening in terms of Common Core instruction.”
King and the Education Department have faced widespread criticism from parents and educators across the state for the rollout of Common Core, a set of stricter standards for students adopted in more than 40 states across the country.
Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County, said school officials within his district are unified in their criticism of the Common Core.
“School superintendents, principals, school administrators, parents, PTA groups, classroom teachers — they all seem to be united in their opinion of the Common Core,” Maziarz said. “To me, those are experts that we are hearing from. Now, commissioner, to be frank with you, the people who seem to be supporting this are yourself and the members of the Board of Regents.”
Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, Westchester County, echoed calls to table the implementation of the Common Core, smacking a table as he urged King to “hit the delay button.”
In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, said the testimony Tuesday made clear the need for a “moratorium on the consequences for Common Core.”
“There is overwhelming evidence that we are moving at too fast a pace and not giving our teachers and students proper training in these new principles,” she said.
King’s testimony came the same day that Assembly Republicans released a report on the Common Core rollout, calling on the state to “stop the rushed implementation” and “properly evaluate” the standards.
The report, which was based on testimony lawmakers heard at 11 public forums, recommended preventing the state from requiring schools to use a series of standardized tests based on the standards until “a comprehensive review … is considered.” Otherwise, the report recommends withdrawing from Common Core.