Dear Commons Community,
A panel appointed by the NYS Board of Regents made public a list of nineteen recommendations to address the growing concerns with the implementation of the Common Core Standards. As reported in the New York Times, Andrew Cuomo was less than thrilled with what was recommended especially with regard to language concerning teacher evaluations.
“Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo attacked state education officials on Monday for what he saw as an attempt to water down a new teacher evaluation system that was one of his earliest legislative triumphs.
The governor’s message was delivered to the State Board of Regents, which sets education policy and appears likely on Tuesday to give teachers more leeway to contest poor evaluations. But he could have also been addressing the State Legislature, which appoints the Board of Regents and whose leading members of both parties last week called for a more significant change to the evaluation system.
Lawmakers have proposed a two-year moratorium on the use of standardized test scores in the evaluations, after complaints that teachers have had problems adapting to the new curriculum standards known as the Common Core. Test scores plummeted last year after the state rewrote the exams to match the new, tougher standards. Major problems, teachers said, were that curriculums had not been in place and important teaching materials had not reached their classrooms.
In his statement, Mr. Cuomo criticized the regents for the Common Core rollout, but he added, “There is a difference between remedying the system for students and parents and using this situation as yet another excuse to stop the teacher evaluation process.”
A working group of the Board of Regents on Monday recommended several changes to how the state’s schools use the Common Core. It did not call for a moratorium as legislators have done, but it proposed letting teachers who earn the poorest evaluations — “ineffective” — to raise the bumpy Common Core rollout as a defense. Teachers rated ineffective two years in a row are at risk of losing their jobs. The full board is expected to approve the change on Tuesday.
In a conference call with reporters, John B. King Jr., the state education commissioner, who reports to the regents, said the idea was designed to ensure “that no teacher will be unfairly removed” as a result of students’ posting poor scores on the tests aligned with the Common Core.
In an email, Catherine T. Nolan, the chairwoman of the State Assembly’s education committee, said that the board’s proposal “sounds reasonable,” though she would seek more input, including from the New York City schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña.”
In sum, it is obvious that there is a serious problem in Albany among all the key players regarding the Common Core. However, the NYS Regents and Commissioner King bear the brunt of the responsibility for the poorly implemented and rushed roll-out of the Common Core that has just about everybody (the Governor, the Legislature, teachers, parents, school boards, and students) upset.