Suffolk County school superintendents stepped up efforts to halt the state's next round of Common Core standardized tests, now less than a month away, with a direct appeal Monday to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The local school leaders acknowledged that probably only a U.S. Department of Education waiver could stop the tests for children in grades 3-8, scheduled to be given in April and early May in English Language Arts and math.
The urgency of the situation calls for Cuomo's involvement, they said, even though most testing policy is set by the state Board of Regents and the education commissioner, who reports to the board.
"Time is quickly running out: April -- and testing -- will soon be here," said the moratorium request to the governor from the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association. "There is still time to do what is right for our students."
The governor's office issued no immediate response. Cuomo has criticized the state Education Department's implementation of the Common Core academic standards as flawed.
State education officials, however, said any moratorium on ELA and math testing for grades 3-8 would violate federal law and risk loss of millions of dollars in financial assistance from the federal government to the state.
The letter was signed by Roberta Gerold, the association's president and superintendent of Middle Country schools, and Michael Mensch, chief operating officer of Western Suffolk BOCES. It represented the association's most direct demand yet for a temporary halt in the state's toughened assessments, which resulted in plunging student scores last spring.
According to the Here and Now update at State of Politics, a Capital Pro article that is behind a paywall had the following:
State Education Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in a statement that an Assembly bill to delay Common Core implementation would violate federal law and jeopardize “the day-to-day operations” of schools.
As for Cuomo, his campaign is running his Common Core ad this week (you can see the ad here) that has the governor trying to make as if he has nothing to do with all the Common Core tests and APPR tests being given to kids in NY State as a result of his education policies.
Meanwhile John Flanagan, head of the State Senate Education Committee, said yesterday that he doesn't want a delay in Common Core implementation, indeed, he thinks the timetable is just fine.
The Regents, the NYSED, the governor and the members of the Legislature are all scrambling to save their precious education reform agenda.
Alas, the agenda is so badly designed and flawed that it will fall apart no matter how hard they try to save it.
The more they try and fiddle with things around the edges while leaving the "core" reforms intact, the more unstable and tenuous the whole reform structure becomes.
Perhaps if they had been thoughtful and patient in their designing the agenda and their implementation of it, they could have avoided so much of the controversy they're now trying to handle.
But they infamously compared some of their reform agenda to building an airplane while already in flight (given how little of the reform agenda was actually thought out and tested, an apt metaphor) and now that flawed, badly designed, incomplete airplane is coming crashing to the ground.