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Board of Regents putting the brakes on Common Core

Updated: 02/10/2014 8:22 PM
Created: 02/10/2014 7:49 PM WNYT.com
By: Steve Flamisch

ALBANY – By a 15-2 margin, the state Board of Regents voted in committee Monday to delay full implementation of the new Common Core standards until 2022. The same 17 members will vote Tuesday make it official, and the same result is expected.

The changes, recommended by a work group comprised of Regents members, come in response to the many complaints raised by students, parents, teachers, and administrators in recent months, Chancellor Merryl Tisch said.

"Today, I think the Board moved to say to every group in the state… that we listened very carefully to all of your concerns about the implementation of Common Core," Tisch said. "We have moved, I think, adroitly to address a lot of the concerns."

Students currently enrolled in grades 5 through 12 would not be required to pass the Common Core Regents exams in English and mathematics in order to graduate high school, according to the proposed changes.

Children not yet in school, and those currently enrolled in kindergarten through grade 4, would be required to pass the Common Core Regents exams in English and math in order to graduate, but they would have until 2022 to prepare.

"It should alleviate some of the stress that families are feeling, that students are feeling, and that staff has felt over the last several years," said Jim McHugh, the principal of Bell Top Elementary School in the East Greenbush Central School District.

If a district tries to fire a teacher or principal because of poor student performance on the 2012-13 and/or 2013-14 Common Core tests, "…he or she may raise as a defense an alleged failure by the board of education" to provide the proper support and guidance, the proposal stated.

GOVERNOR, UNION CRITICIZE CHANGES

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement blasting the proposal as "another in a series of missteps by the Board of Regents that suggests the time has come to seriously reexamine its capacity and performance."

Cuomo, who praised Common Core but criticized its rollout, took particular exception to the proposal regarding teachers and principals. He called it a "roadblock," and accused the Regents of "stalling" to initiate a proper evaluation system.

"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," Cuomo said in the statement.

Cuomo recently empanelled his own 10-member commission to examine the rollout of Common Core, and he said he intends to pursue a "legislative solution" once their recommendations are made public.

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) also criticized the Regents’ actions. The union’s president, Richard Iannuzzi, issued a statement saying the proposal "adds up to a 'we know best' collection of minor adjustments."

"After months of outrage from parents and teachers and clear guidance from the Legislature, the Regents today acknowledged significant problems but stubbornly rejected detaching, for at least two years, high-stakes consequences for students and teachers," Iannuzzi said, in part.

Kathleen Cashin, one of the two Board of Regents members who voted against the changes Monday, made a failed motion for a moratorium. Betty Rosa also voted against the changes, which could take effect as early as Tuesday.

Albany

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