New Plan To Alter Teacher Evaluations Isn't New

The Assembly Majority passed a bill to decouple student standardized test scores from teacher evaluations. It’s a great idea—one that Assembly Republicans promoted five years ago when the initial proposal to link them was made by Gov. Cuomo. From the day the flawed Common Core Standards curriculum was rolled out, it has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.
The state’s English and math exams were poorly developed, rushed and have been the source of stress, anxiety and controversy for all those involved. Since then, hundreds of thousands of students have opted out of the exams. This year, a massive computer glitch derailed the ELA tests. New York State simply dropped the ball and thousands of students statewide were grappling with the fallout. 
Gov. Cuomo spent considerable political capital forcing a pairing between state exam scores and teacher evaluations. So much so, he made upping the weight of standardized test scores the highlight of multiple State of the State Addresses. The Assembly Majority, which once was complicit in the plan, now, apparently, is no longer buying into the flawed program either.
The Assembly Majority Conference and the governor have been playing politics with the education of New York students. The flaws in the Common Core Standards rollout were obvious from Day One. Instead of reversing course, leadership instead went ahead full bore without taking time to evaluate the curriculum and exams. Special interests won the day at the expense of those meant to benefit and far too much damage has already been done.
Repeated calls by the Assembly Minority to reform the state’s broken education system were brushed aside at the expense of political convenience. We were the only conference to call for a moratorium on testing until the entire program was fixed. Our APPLE (Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Launching Excellence) Plan, which we rolled out in response to the state’s flawed implementation, was developed with input from all the principle stakeholders. At 14 regional forums, we heard from parents and educators who were gravely concerned with the direction in which the state’s education was heading.
Like any problem, if the Majority and governor had taken corrective action before exposing countless students and teachers to this mess, it would be so much easier to overcome. But, sadly, they are just now taking steps to undo their mistake. It begs the question, “Why the change of heart?” The Assembly Majority’s proposal now seems shamefully late and disingenuous.
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, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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