Tests based on Common Core standards shouldn’t be used in teacher and student evaluations for at least two years, the powerful leader of the state Assembly said Tuesday.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Assembly Education Chairwoman Cathy Nolan, D-Queens, issued a joint statement Tuesday, calling for a delay in using Common Core-based standardized test scores for “high-stakes decisions” involving students, principals and teachers. The delay, the lawmakers said, should be two years “at a minimum.”
The legislators also called for further delay in sharing information with inBloom, a non-profit that is setting up a statewide database of student data.
“At the same time, (the state Education Department) should continue to develop Common Core aligned curricula and assist local school districts in developing their own curricula so that teachers will be able to successfully teach Common Core aligned subjects while at the same time helping students reach their maximum potential,” Nolan and Silver’s statement reads.
The state’s rollout of the Common Core, a set of standards being adopted by more than 40 states across the country, has been criticized by a wide array of teachers and parents. The standards were first installed in New York last school year.
In his State of the State address last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state Board of Regents’ management of the Common Core has been “flawed,” and he called for the creation of a panel that will recommend possible reforms to the program.
Silver and Nolan’s call for a delay in using Common Core-based tests on teacher and student evaluations comes amid calls for the New York State United Teachers union for a three-year moratorium. The union, which has long been allied with Assembly Democrats, has been critical of the state’s implementation of the Common Core, arguing it was rushed and didn’t give teachers enough time to properly teach the more-stringent standards.
State Education Commissioner John King has defended the standards and has said the union’s push for a delay is a “distraction.” In a meeting last month, NYSUT’s board of directors approved a vote of “no confidence” in King.
“The Common Core as a set of standards is something that is widely agreed upon,” King said at a state Senate hearing last month. “And in fact, in classrooms across the state … good things are happening in terms of Common Core instruction.”
Here’s the full statement from Silver and Nolan:
Many of our colleagues as well as advocates and stakeholders have raised numerous concerns regarding the State Education Department’s rollout of the Common Core. New Yorkers share the same goal – to improve our schools and help prepare our students to be successful and college and career ready upon graduation. However, given the serious issues that have been raised over the past year, we feel it is both prudent and wise to take the following actions.
The use of Common Core aligned tests for high-stakes decisions for teachers, principals and students should be delayed, at a minimum, for two years.
At the same time, SED should continue to develop Common Core aligned curricula and assist local school districts in developing their own curricula so that teachers will be able to successfully teach Common Core aligned subjects while at the same time helping students reach their maximum potential.
As we have stated in the past, there are equally serious concerns and potential flaws regarding plans to share student data with a private third party vendor. There are persistent questions regarding the ability to protect such data from security breaches, the necessity of the details and categories of such student data that is being shared, as well as the highly inappropriate potential for commercialization. SED should delay the use of inBloom or any third party vendor in developing a “data portal” until all these questions have been answered and the concerns fully satisfied.