March 2014
March 02, 2014

Common Core delayed? Who are they kidding?

Author: By Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT United

Don't be fooled by the headlines. The Regents approved only weak tweaks to the state's Common Core implementation — and failed to advance the significant course corrections educators and parents are demanding.

"Instead of listening to parents and educators who are grappling with the fallout from SED's disastrous implementation, the Regents offered adjustments that are nowhere near enough," said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi. "We need nothing less than a moratorium to provide real relief for students and teachers."

Regent Kathleen Cashin made a motion for a moratorium, but it was defeated 14 to 3, with Regents Betty Rosa and Harry Phillips joining Cashin in voting yes.

The Regents, instead, in a lame attempt to quell some of the outcry from educators, parents and lawmakers, approved a series of minor adjustments to the implementation of Common Core. The changes were recommended by a Regents work group that met in secret and did not seek public comment.

SED then issued a three-page press release trumpeting the Regents' action: "Regents adjust Common Core implementation: Full implementation delayed until 2022; Teachers, Students Protected from Impact of Assessment Transition."

The reality doesn't even come close.

The truth? Common Core testing continues, and the Regents made the exams tougher to pass.

The only delay is the year when students will need to pass Common Core Regents exams at the higher "college and career ready" score in order to graduate. Students in the class of 2022 — rather than the class of 2017 — will be the first required to pass the Common Core English and math Regents.

With no public input, the Regents phased in the use of "college and career ready" levels for graduation in 2022, meaning a score of 75 on the English language arts exam and 80 on the math exam will be needed, not the current 65.

"The Regents say they listened but their proposal is evidence they didn't hear a word," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "Most of the recommendations call for some other entity to take action — such as the federal government, the state or school districts. Others include adjustments already underway."

Contrary to the governor's comments, the Regents did not pause or delay anything that is not already in law, including a teacher evaluation provision that was eventually tabled. NYSUT maintains the recommendation to allow teachers who appeal an ineffective rating to point out failures in their district's implementation of the state standards is already contained in state law.

A number of other recommendations, such as increasing professional development, reducing field testing and providing educators access to test questions, would require additional state funding.

The Regents also called for $10 million in new funding to develop Native Language Arts assessments for Spanish-speaking students, plus new resources for teachers of students with disabilities and English language learners.

"When one reads the 18 recommendations, it is apparent that nothing of substance will change," noted South Side High School Principal Carol Burris, in an online edition of The Washington Post, criticizing the Regents' inaction.

"For a deliberative body that insists on holding students, schools and educators accountable, the Regents' unwillingness to assume responsibility for their blunders and then respond by correcting course is breathtaking," Burris wrote.

Making a case for universal pre-K

NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira discusses the need for universal pre-K in New York state during a panel discussion hosted by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators. NYSUT strongly supports universal pre-K and is urging lawmakers to provide adequate state funding for all eligible children.

NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira discusses the need for universal pre-K in New York state during a panel discussion hosted by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators. NYSUT strongly supports universal pre-K and is urging lawmakers to provide adequate state funding for all eligible children. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.