New York Commissioner King Defends Common Core

Common Core testing standards have been met with controversy since their introduction, and New York has proven to be one of the fiercest battlegrounds. In a recent letter to principals and superintendents, New York State Education Commissioner John King speaks out in their defense. He states that many are misinformed and that the state has decided to ease off of testing students and teachers. He states that the rigorous standards are going to 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,”

Joseph Spector writes in The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that parents and schools had criticized King for dismissing their concerns. The new testing was implemented last school year for Math and English in third through eighth grades. He had cancelled events scheduled to discuss the concerns.

He was highly criticized for cancelling the events and decided to hold forums on television to listen to the concerns. Spokesman for the New York State United Teachers union, Carl Korn feels that King’s letter is more proof that the state is, not listing to the public’s feelings on these tests. The teachers union has asked for a three-year suspension 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.”

King s reply was that some of the concerns “expressed at the forums were based on misinformation.” He also stated that New York has added very few tests and stated that all but two were required by federal law.

He said the state has been working to “increase the quality and reduce the length of state tests” and help districts eliminate assessments for teacher and principal evaluations.

King also pointed out that the Board of Regents had recommended a 6 percent rise in state education funding. This increase of $1.3 billion would partially be used to fund training for the new tests.

“We’ll make more adjustments in the future as we learn more about your successes and challenges,” King wrote. “We hope that parents, teachers, students, and administrators continue to be open about their concerns and partner with us to make Common Core a continuing success.”