Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't Be Fooled - Cuomo Isn't Caving On Common Core

A headline on this Dave Weigel piece at Bloomberg News claims Andrew Cuomo has "conceded defeat" in the Common Core wars:

Over the summer, when Zephyr Teachout was mounting a surprisingly potent primary challenge to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, I noticed a poll result that confounded some left/right stereotypes. When asked if "Common Core standards should continue to be implemented," a majority of voters said "no." Only 47 percent of Democrats wanted the standards. Independents, who were planning to vote for Cuomo, broke against Common Core by 14 points.

The situation can't have gotten any better for education reforms since then, judging by Cuomo's new TV spot. Among his education pledges is a solemn one "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready." 

What a dizzying downward spiral it's been for Common Core. Just a few years ago, it was the joint product of agreements by 48 governors (minus only Rick Perry and Sarah Palin), an attempt to ameliorate the negative impacts of No Child Left Behind. (Cuomo was not elected until 2010, after the initial agreements.) Then conservatives rose in opposition – and for a while, progressives laughed at foolhardy lawmakers warning that these new standards would induct children into homosexuality. Later, as Tim Murphy has documented, suburbanites (in New York especially) started raging about the new testing that reflected poorly on their kids, and labor unions worried about the shuttering of underperforming schools.
That's how we ended up with this ad, from a center-left Democrat with heavy labor backing, promising voters that he will slow-walk the education standards that Glenn Beck had warned about first.

But as I posted earlier tonight, there is no five year moratorium on Common Core consequences.

The budget agreement that Cuomo signed into law this spring delayed Common Core consequences for two years, not five - and that was for students only.

As of now, the Common Core consequences for teachers remain.

The APPR teacher evaluation system in the state mandates that 20% of a teacher's evaluation come from student performance on state test scores.

If teachers have students who take the Common Core tests, their state test component for APPR will still be based on those scores - even though the Common Core tests don't count for students.

It's true that the legislature passed a bill giving a safety net for teachers in those circumstances - but so far, Cuomo hasn't had time to sign that bill into law (though he has had time to declare yogurt the official state snack.)

So I dunno what Weigel is reporting here - he's taking Cuomo's ad at face value, but he's foolish to do so.

There is no five year anything for Common Core and some consequences remain even during the so-called two year moratorium (albeit for teachers.)

Josefa Velasquez and Jessica Bakeman at Capital NY report the following:

It's unclear whether the statement is a new plan that Cuomo is revealing in the ad, or a claim about his record on the Common Core, the controversial standards for English and math instruction that have been adopted by most states. Cuomo has pushed for changes that would place less emphasis on students' scores on new standardized tests based on the Common Core, but none of those changes would apply for exactly five years.


Cuomo's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment explaining the "five years" pledge in the ad.

In short, Weigel is wrong - Cuomo isn't "slow-walking" anything around Common Core.

The moratorium on Common Core consequences is two years and if I'm not mistaken, those two years are up at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Unless Cuomo makes an explicit statement to the contrary, none of the jive in that soft-focus education ad of his changes anything about the Common Core implementation in New York - not for students, not for teachers.


  1. Kind of amazing he can get away with saying any damn thing, whether or not it has any basis in reality. It must be liberating to be a pathological liar.

    1. "It must be liberating to be a pathological liar."

      Yeah, that's the ticket...