New York State Politicians: Delay Common Core Testing

Pressure is mounting on state education officials in New York to delay Common Core-based tests to evaluate students and teachers. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos support the common core standards but say more time is needed to develop curriculum and train teachers on implementing it.

 “You can’t propose an entirely new curriculum, an entirely new set of standards and say: ‘Here it is, teach to it,’” Silver said.

Skelos, along with Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan, issued a joint statement agreeing with Silver.

The coordinated statements marked a rare show of bipartisan unity in Albany from lawmakers who have been bombarded with complaints from parents around the state about the tests, due to be administered for the second time this April. Student scores plummeted statewide in last spring’s tests.

Michael Mulgrew, President of United Federation of Teachers, says he is happy that so many Albany leaders agree over “what we have known for two years now that this is a debacle”.

Glenn Blain of the Daily News reported that Silver is asking the Board of Regents to deal with the message, which comes at the same time as Assembly members interview candidates for four board positions that will need to be filled this year by the legislature. Members have been pressing candidates about changes to Common Core.

Regents Chairwoman Merryl Tisch and state Education Commissioner John King, in a statement, said a special Regents work group will present options next week.

A representative for Gov. Cuomo said it was too early to call for a suspension on the Common Core tests and the administration is asking lawmakers to wait until a special panel can review the issue. Legislative officials have pointed out that the report by the “still-to be named” panel will be issued after the tests have been taken.

New York State United Teachers Union recently pulled their support of Common Core and said they have no confidence in Education Commissioner John King, with President of NYSUT Richard Iannuzzi saying that King’s policies were “damaging instruction in New York”.  They also proposed a resolution asking for a freeze on test scores as well as other requests like transparency on test questions, and more time to review Common Core lessons and modules.

King and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch issued a joint statement regarding the resolution:

“Together with the Board of Regents, the Governor, and legislature, we will make necessary adjustments and modifications to the implementation of the Common Core,” they said, “but now is not the time to weaken standards for teaching and learning.”