The governor’s latest task force on Common Core Standards issued a report last week which found the state’s rollout of the policy to be flawed and unsatisfactory. This was the second task force the governor has convened to look at education reform.
While students, teachers, parents and administrators wait for corrective action, state government has stalled and postured on education policy. It took the governor years to acknowledge what the Assembly Minority Conference has known and acted on since the earliest stages of the Common Core rollout. We were fighting for more transparency, more input from all stakeholders and flexible requirements for learners with disabilities long before the governor’s task force joined the calls for change.
ASSEMBLY MINORITY PLAN ADDRESSES COMMON CORE SHORTCOMINGS
It was clear early on that New York’s rollout of Common Core Standards left too many confused and ill-prepared. The state’s standardized tests were ineffective, and to add insult to injury, were wrongfully being used to evaluate teachers’ abilities. In a loud and clear message to Albany, more than 200,000 children were opted out of the tests by their parents last year.
The governor’s task force recommended that the tests have no role in teacher evaluations until 2019-2020 – a complete departure from his stance just a year ago. In fact, the governor actually vetoed his own bill to reform the teacher evaluation system.
We must take this time to create exams that do not unnecessarily encroach on valuable instruction time and are effective indicators of student growth. Our conference proposals, which were presented in January of 2014, call for a moratorium on these ineffective tests until reforms can be implemented. Our proposals also include:
- Providing funding for professional development;
- Eliminating the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) to help school districts become fiscally stable;
- Reducing the over-reliance on student testing; and
- Reasserting that an Individualized Education Program is the supreme document for the education of a child with special needs.
The time for action has long passed. With widespread agreement New York’s children are learning in a broken system, we must move forward with a renewed focus and commitment to crafting an education policy worthy of this great state. The governor’s task force has reiterated what the Assembly Minority Conference already knew. Now it’s time for action.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at email@example.com, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.