At Tuesday's hearing before the state Senate's Standing Committee on Education, city teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said he supports the goals of the Common Core, which emphasize more critical thinking and writing.
"But the roll-out has been horrible," he said, referring to what he called a lack of curriculum materials and teacher preparation. Mulgrew said the state should have created a curriculum before the new tests were introduced this year. He also said the state should wait at least another year before evaluating teachers with these new exams.
Under the new teacher evaluation system, which has befuddled teachers, student performance on state exams counts for 20 percent of a teacher's rating. But because the exams don't start until third grade, and Mulgrew said some elementary schools have had to create brand-new "bubble test" assessments for their youngest students.
"A lot of children in kindergarten can't hold a number two pencil so I don't know how they're going to do on that test," he said.
The presumption seems to be that the Common Core implementation will get better after a couple of years and then it will be okay to tie teacher evaluations to the scores.
But the truth is, the standards are flawed, especially for the younger grades, the evaluation system is flawed (especially the testing component), the data tracking is Orwellian and the testing will not decrease so long as the evaluation system basing teacher ratings on tests stays in place.
So Mulgrew can say all he wants about the problems with implementation, blah blah blah.
Nothing will get better about the Common Core in a couple of years.
The standards need to be scrapped, we need to start the whole process over and everybody who was involved in developing, imposing and implementing the current reforms needs to be kept as far away from the re-do process as possible.
We'll see if hundreds of thousands of irate parents can force this kind of change across the state.
As for Mulgrew's undying devotion to the Common Core, a line from the hospital scene with Captain McCluskey in The Godfather comes to mind:
"How much is the Turk paying you to set up my father, Captain?"