New York’s Cuomo Calls for Overhaul of Common Core Standards

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it clear: Common Core is not working in his state. Now Cuomo is calling for “a comprehensive review” of school standards to address local concerns.

Cuomo agrees with the “goal of Common Core standards,” but he believes that the State Education Department’s (NYSED) implementation of the standards is unacceptable. He added that the longer he sees the standards and tests being used, the more he is convinced his position is correct, reports Leslie Brody of The Wall Street Journal.

In fact, NYSED is the only state agency Cuomo does not directly control, writes Teri Weaver for Syracuse Media Group.

“A growing chorus of experts have questioned the intelligence of (the state Education Department’s) Common Core program and objective educators across the state have found the implementation problematic, to say the least,” Cuomo said in a statement released early this afternoon.

Cuomo plans to use his own “education commission”  to review Common Core implementation in classrooms and the role the standards play in standardized testing. The group will be made up of education experts, teachers, parents, the Commissioner of Education, and legislative representatives. He has asked this commission to report back to him in a timely manner so he will have enough time to introduce new policy early next year.

In his statement, Cuomo was careful not to lay the blame on the state’s new education commissioner MaryEllen Elia, saying she had walked into a problem she inherited. Previously, Elia had criticized parents and education officials for supporting the mothers and fathers who choose to have their children opt-out of taking the end-of-year-standardized tests. Cuomo, however, said in his statement that he is sympathetic toward parents who are so frustrated that they are allowing their children to stay home when the state-mandated exams are being given.

“We must have standards for New York’s students, but those standards will only work if people – especially parents – have faith in them and in their ability to educate our children,” Cuomo said. “The current Common Core program does not do that. It must.”

Elia is on-board with the governor’s review and she is open to receiving ideas and comments from the governor’s panel. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore), both of whom have called for reforms to Common Core, have asked for a halt to the program until the panel has made its recommendations.

Diane C. Lore of Staten Island Advance writes that Staten Island Community Education Council President Michael Reilly has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core standards and state assessment exams in math and English. Now, says Reilly, he is “cautiously optimistic” that the review panel will decide to overhaul the standards and and the test-taking policy.

Glenn Blain, reporting for the New York Daily News, quoted the governor’s spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa, who said:

“The Governor’s point on reforming Common Core is that SED’s implementation was flawed and therefore the solution is not to ask SED to fix the problem they created but rather pass a new law that revamps the system designed with all stakeholders at the table: administrators, teachers, parents, legislators, and education experts.”