Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, February 10, 2014

Reaction To The Regents Recommendations On Common Core And APPR Teacher Evaluations (UPDATED - 6:00 PM)

So the Regents reaffirmed the importance of Common Core but delayed the timeline of full implementation to 2022.

You can read the Regents press release here.

The Regents recommendations seemed to make nobody but some members of the legislature happy.

Here was Cuomo's response:

“Today’s recommendations are another in a series of missteps by the Board of Regents that suggests the time has come to seriously reexamine its capacity and performance. These recommendations are simply too little, too late for our parents and students.

“Common Core is the right goal and direction as it is vital that we have a real set of standards for our students and a meaningful teacher evaluation system.

However, Common Core’s implementation in New York has been flawed and mismanaged from the start.

“As far as today’s recommendations are concerned, 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.

“The Regents’ response is to recommend delaying the teacher evaluation system and is yet another in a long series of roadblocks to a much needed evaluation system which the Regents had stalled putting in place for years.

“I have created a commission to thoroughly examine how we can address these issues. The commission has started its work and we should await their recommendations so that we can find a legislative solution this session to solve these problems.”

NYSAPE was also not happy with the recommendations, though for reasons far different than Cuomo's:

The leaders of the NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of more than 45 parent and educator groups from throughout the state, expressed extreme disappointment that the NYS Regent Common Core Taskforce refused to address the real issues undermining education in this state and made only minor tweaks to current policies.  The report is quite clear that the Regents continue to ignore the deep flaws in the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), excessive high stakes state testing and student data sharing.  The recommendations can be viewed here:
Tim Farley, a parent of four public school children and the Principal of Ichabod Crane Elementary/Middle School said, “Today's recommendations from Commissioner King and the Regents task force reveal just how out of touch they are and how obsessive their appetite is for excessive state tests.  The fact that they refuse to subject their own children to these excessive testing and data policies is very telling.  The parents and educators of New York have been paying attention, and they are justifiably outraged."
“The need to replace the four incumbent Regents members is more important than ever,” said Eric Mihelbergel, Ken-Ton public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.  The Regents Taskforce failed to address the real concerns of parents and again has displayed disconnect from their constituents.  Their recommendations today tell me the State is full steam ahead with this failed reform agenda.”
Carol Burris, South Side High Principal and 2013 Principal of the Year stated, “For a deliberative body that is so insistent that students, schools and educators be held accountable, their unwillingness to assume responsibility for their blunders and respond by correcting course is breathtaking.  For example, they shift the review of the New York State Common Core standards to the National Governors Association, rather than assume that responsibility themselves. At nearly every turn they “advocate”, or “encourage” others to take action, rather than earnestly respond to what they heard.  Developing a “teacher portal” and more low quality materials, is hardly the response our parents expected.  The tinkering with dates and semantics about college ready scores at the high school level provides no relief for our K-8 students from testing or from the implementation of flawed curriculum. ”
“Instead of simply calling for a delay in the uploading of private student data onto an insecure data cloud, and pass the responsibility to deal with this issue to the Legislature, the Regents should have insisted that the inBloom contract be cancelled, as every other state has done.  Why should New York continue to be the worst place in the country when it comes to student privacy?” asked Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.

“The notion that more time to phase in standards or train teachers will somehow cure the ills of a deficient curriculum and inappropriate tests is misguided.    Just as troubling is the suggestion that teachers should continue to be evaluated on the basis of a system no one believes in, and that if they are threatened with losing their jobs, they  should “raise an alleged failure” of their districts to properly implement the Common Core – when the fault lies with the state.   There is no need for more money to 'engage' parents with implementation of CCLS. Parents have made their voices perfectly clear in demanding that these destructive policies be brought to an immediate halt,” said Jessica McNair, New Hartford public school parent.
"The Regents appear not  to understand that the actual time spent on testing per day, multiplied out over six days of the state assessments, is inappropriate for all students despite the misleading statistics quoted in recommendations," stated Chris Cerrone, Western New York public school parent of two elementary-aged children.
“Our state education system remains in turmoil, yet the recommendations of this task force do nothing to address the profound problems associated with the standards and excessive high stakes testing.  They simply echo the false sentiments of Chancellor Tisch and Commissioner King, by providing nothing more than superficial suggestions in an attempt to pacify the public. Parents will not be so easily assuaged,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Bellmore public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt-Out.

But John Flanagan was mostly happy with the Regents:

Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) this afternoon was far less critical than Gov. Cuomo when discussing the changes the Board of Regents have proposed for the Common Core curriculum.

Flanagan praised the Regents for addressing many of the issues that parents and the lawmakers have been calling for. He called the changes a major step in the right direction and said it shows the Regents were listening to the widespread complaints.

“Compared to where they were and where they are today is night and day from where they started,” Flanagan said.

The Regents' plan, he said, addresses many of the issues the Senate has introduced bills to tackle, including the elimination of unnecessary testing and standardized testing for students in prekindergarten through second grade. He also praised the delay in releasing personalized student data to third parties.

He also highlighted the plan for ensuring that the graduating class of 2022 will be the first required to pass Common Core testing in order to graduate.

“Those are all positive things,” he said. “We’re going to have more discussions.”

Asked about Cuomo’s comments that the new plan would weaken a push for tougher teaching standards, Flanagan indicated it would do a lot to alleviate the fears of parents.

“There are things there the parents understand,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with eliminating standardized testing for pre-K through 2. There’s nothing wrong with saying we’re going to get rid of unnecessary testing. Those are things I think are right. Those are things that I think parents want. That has nothing to do with teachers. These are things that parents are concerned with.”

Despite the praise, Flanagan said he will still push the bills as a type of “belts and suspenders.”
He said there will also be continued discussions with the Regents and state Ed since the new plan “doesn’t address all concerns on delay and moratoriums.”

But he said the Regents seem to recognize they messed up and are now looking to correct it.
“They didn’t use the word ‘apology’ but they used the word ‘regrets’ about the way things have unfolded,” he said. “That’s a significant departure from where they were even a week ago.”

Shelly Silver sounded mostly happy as well:

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had a favorable reaction Monday afternoon to the changes the Board of Regents proposed to the Common Core curriculum.

“I think they’ve done by regulation what they can do,” Silver told reporters outside his Assembly office. “And basically they’ve imposed some sort of moratorium on a variety of issues that we had addressed with them and that, more importantly, parents around this state have expressed at forums around the state.”

Silver did not rule out further legislative changes to the Common Core but expressed a willingness to await the report of the commission formed by Gov. Cuomo to review the issue.

“I think today’s actions alleviate some of the tensions that parents have had and expressed at those forums,”  Silver said. “There are things that may have to be done statutorily and the governor has a commission. I hope that commission will report and recommend some statutory changes that are necessary.”

Silver added:  “Our concerns has always been the students and the parents and I think they’ve addressed that.”

I've spent the afternoon at some PD and managed to miss the Regents recommendations as well as the various reactions from parents, teachers, and the politicians, so this news is still "breaking" for me.

But I'll certainly have more in a bit on this.

For now, let's just say that these "fixes" seem as half-baked as the original reforms.


  1. We look forward to your thoughts on this breaking story. I can't really figure out what it means. 2022? That is 8 years from now. Does that mean that there will be no testing other than regents in NY state? What does this mean for evaluations? (Local measures only?) Does this mean that the required number of formal/informal observations may be changed yet again?

    1. It means the local measurements of student learning may be up in the air. Can't say that it means anything for the observations, although as far as I know, that can be changed with a new contract agreement (and I suspect it will be.) The 2022 deadline is a mess. Hard to say what tests students will be taking. Will the Regents exams still disappear on the timeline they had outlined previously? Or will students have the option to take either the old Regents exam or the new CCSS exam? Or both? It's a mess. Clearly they have no idea what to do - they were overwhelmed by the public outrage over the reforms and they reacted - but the changes announced are half-baked at best and seem to satisfy no one except for the legislature (since it means they don't have to do anything themselves...)

  2. Anon 6:23 beat me to it with the questions I was going to ask. Just got home and saw this. Will be doing my own research but looking forward to your take on the above questions. Thank you for all that you do.

    1. Still poring through stuff myself. My sense is, they're feeling some measure of desperation up there:

  3. The press release says the Class of 2022 will be taking CCSS-based Regents exams, so that would be students entering ninth grade in 2018.

    While I much prefer to see explicit repudiation of the Common Core once and for all, I think that in the end this will means it dies a death by a thousand cuts. the Regents are hoping this will quell resistance, as Cuomo does with his commission, but I don't think that's likely.

    I take this as good news, a sign that we may be entering a new period where the nastiness that's come down the pike in the past decade is running its course, and will increasingly be on life support in the face of widespread opposition by the true stakeholders.

    1. Here's my question - they've been rolling out CCSS curriculum and modules, giving 9th graders the option of either the Regents or the CCSS test (or both) - but you can't play Solomon with this. The curricula are different for each - students have to be either prepped for the Regents or the CCSS test is what I have been told by math teachers. Trying to prep them for both is almost impossible. As for ELA, the Regents exam remains pretty "lit-based." But with all the informational text we've been slinging on them, they're looking at the poetry and sci-fi the Regents gave them this year and been like "Huh?"

      It's a mess and I agree with you Michael, it looks like it will die a death of a thousand cuts. That's what Cuomo seemed to be reacting to. Don't be surprised if he doesn't jet into this now because he is pissed they're screwing with his APPR teacher evaluation system. That he's willing to go to the mattresses on.

  4. As recently as last week, one of the "Kens" at NYSED was telling a room full of people that the Regents board was considering the 75 on English proficient, in other words, an acceptable score for community college admission, and the 65 for graduation only, but perhaps not acceptable for community college. It was also noted that next year's juniors will take one of the tests, and depending on the curriculum in which they are enrolled, they will take either the "right" test or the "wrong" test. He was cryptic but clearly meant the "right" test to be the Cuomocore version. This class of 2022 change sure creates a complication. I'll be interested to know what it all means. By the way, they were anything but desperate sounding in Albany last week.

    1. Yeah, I think they're mucking things up pretty bad here. It's change, sure, but it's as ill-conceived and prepared for as the original reform agenda. We'll see more modifications sooner than anybody thinks because these changes they announced today are going to create even more complications.

  5. I'd love to know how this will effect elementary teachers and teachers of non-core subject areas. I agree with Michael that this is good news. "Slowing down" might just mean, "We are sick of dealing with this and we just want to see it die slowly". The NYC rag newspapers are going to have a field day with this in the morning!

    1. Yeah, the editorial boards are going to back Sheriff Andy up on this.

  6. Let the predators fight among themselves, rather than attack us.

    1. Sheriff Andy, being the biggest sociopath of the NY bunch, and the alpha male to boot, has already declared anybody who doesn't do it his way, he'll make them change their minds: