"The fact is that the current Common Core program in New York is not working, and must be fixed," Cuomo said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "To that end, the time has come for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core Standards, curriculum, guidance and tests in order to address local concerns."
Cuomo said he will appoint a "representative group" from a pre-existing education commission he created to study the Common Core, and has asked that group to release its findings before his State of the State address in January.
Cuomo ordered a similar investigation to study the state's Common Core rollout last year. It produced a set of recommendations that had already been largely adopted by the state.
A "representative group" from the pre-existing education commission he created to study Common Core last year?
That commission was rigged, per teacher Todd Hathaway, who sat on the commission and had his name attached to the report even though he didn't agree with its findings:
I will issue a further statement tomorrow on the sham of @NYGovCuomo CCLS implementation panel. No dissent allowed, no discussion allowed!— Todd Hathaway (@toddjhathaway) March 11, 2014
Todd Hathaway, a teacher at East Aurora High School and a member of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Common Core panel, ripped the process today after the panel released its report last night.
The recommendations include what Cuomo wanted: holding students harmless for the tougher exams, but not a three-year moratorium on using the tests to evaluate teachers.
Hathaway said, “The report – and the process that produced it — is incomplete. the report was released suddenly, even as final comments were still being solicited. I had indicated the likelihood I would dissent and not allow the report to be spun as ‘consensus.'” Nevertheless, the report was issued with my name attached. I am very concerned that the report tries to make it seem like all the discussion had been completed.”
Here’s the rest of his statement:
“In fact, the Executive Office repeatedly ignored my concerns and the legitimate concerns of others about inappropriate state testing, the misuse of invalid tests for evaluations and the lack of transparency in state testing. The result is that some of the report’s conclusions and suggestions do not hold up to scrutiny. I wouldn’t accept this kind of work from my students and I don’t accept it here.”
“The failure to address testing and evaluation issues in a comprehensive way suggests the dynamics of the classroom will not change. The report seems to blame everybody else for the problems of the Common Core learning standards without adequately addressing the appropriateness of some of the standards and the testing that goes with it. This report should have addressed serious deficiencies in state testing. It should have discussed the lack of transparency in tests; the lack of diagnostic and prescriptive worth to teachers; the unacceptable delays in returning scores to school districts and the insanity of pretending there is validity to teacher ratings that are derived from student scores widely acknowledged to be invalid.”
“Finally, this panel should have recognized the need to pause in the use of assessments for high-stakes decisions for students and teachers. This would have allowed the State Education Department, as well as school districts, to refine the tests and testing materials; teachers to engage in the standards and develop a variety of lessons to meet them instead of just relying on modules; parents to understand the role and utility of data in education; and for teachers to receive the necessary professional development. Implementing massive curriculum changes do not just happen overnight. They take time. I fully support a delay in the use of tests in high-stakes decisions for students and teachers, but that issue was never fully explored. You can’t put students first if you put their teachers last.”
Anybody who thinks the latest iteration of a Cuomo education panel will be any less-rigged than the last iteration is fooling themselves.
The Common Core/Testing/Curriculum review Cuomo is ordering here is nothing more than PR made to make it look like he's addressing parental concerns over CCSS and testing without actually addressing those concerns.
Truth is, Cuomo can't address those concerns because he's been bought and paid for by the hedge fundies and Wall Street donors who seek the total destruction of public education and the privatization of the system.
But even Cuomo can read polls and opt out rates and when he sees a Gallup poll showing growing opposition to testing and Common Core and opt out rates of 220,000 across New York, he knows his continued support of his education reform agenda is a political problem for him.
So, time for another sham commission to make it look like he's doing something about the problem without really doing something about the problem.
Classic Cuomo all the way.
Do not be fooled, though - nothing substantive is happening here with this commission or it's so-called review.