New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has put together a task force of educators, lawmakers and parents who will meet to review the state's use of Common Core standards and how students are tested on them.
According to Cuomo, the goal of the task force is a "total reboot" of the Common Core system in the state. He would like to see a review of the standards, teacher training, and also the tests used to measure student and teacher performance.
Ever since the rollout of the standards in New York, Cuomo has been a supporter. However, he was not happy with their implementation by the state Education Department in 2013, finally requesting a review of them last month while at the same time promising changes to come.
In April, 20% of students in third through eighth grade in the state opted-out of the exams. Cuomo said he would like to see the number of tests reduced, adding that "some are absurdly long."
The review comes as criticism over the tests, which have largely been deemed to be too tough for students, increases across the state as the result of a growing national movement toward higher standards. Also used to evaluate teacher performance, the tests have sparked a number of protests among teachers, parents and educators, writes Joseph Spector for Lohud.
The state Education Department announced in September that the tests would be shortened next April.
"New York must complete a transition into the modern education era and this transition must happen in a way that instills confidence and not anxiety in our students and parents and makes teachers feel supported and rewarded, not criticized," Cuomo said in a video message.
The 15-member Common Core Task Force will be headed by Richard Parsons, a senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners. Parsons had previously led an education reform panel in January 2014.
Along with a review of the standards, the group will also make recommendations concerning the length and number of exams students in New York will take, in addition to the private companies who create them. The state Education Department had previously refused to give an extension for the development of the tests to Pearson, instead choosing Questar Assessment Inc. to develop English and math exams for the next five years.
"We can all agree that our students deserve every opportunity they can to learn and grow – and having tough, fair standards is crucial to ensuring that they receive those opportunities," Parson said in a statement.
A report on how to improve the system is expected to be released by the end of the year.