A task force created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to review the state’s controversial Common Core standards will include a Buffalo parent advocate who was an early supporter of the learning benchmarks.
Samuel Radford III is one of 15 people who will serve on the new panel, Cuomo announced Monday. The committee includes a wide range of community and school leaders from across the state, including Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, two teachers, state lawmakers, school administrators and top union leaders.
Radford said he sees an opportunity for the state to fix flaws in the way the learning standards were rolled out in schools during the last five years.
“Any time you do dramatic change like that, the process is very important,” said Radford, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo. “The process in this case turned out to be not something that was effective.”
Cuomo claimed in a video yesterday that the task of the review was for a "total reboot" of the system.
But when you rig the task force with pro-Common Core supporters you don't get a "total reboot" - you get the same old same old.
This task force has a parent who was an early supporter of the Common Core on it, a union leader who still supports Common Core, a state VP of a state teachers unions that also supports Common Core, the former head of a charter school network who loves Common Core, an education department commissioner who has said we cannot go "backward" on Common Core, a bankster who thinks the Common Core is great...
What kind of "total reboot" comes from this kind of task force predisposed to say "Common Core is swell - it's the 'implementation' that went off course!"?
The truth is, there will be no serious changes to the Endless Testing regime or the Common Core from this task force because Cuomo doesn't really want any.
Cuomo wants the Endless Testing regime to remain in place and be used to fire teachers, close schools and hand them off to charter operators.
The fight that is going on over Common Core and testing is, in part, a fight over that part of the governor's agenda - and that isn't going to be addressed by the task force:
One critic said the governor's program would do little to slow the "opt out" movement unless the Democrat de-emphasized the use of student test scores to evaluate schools and teachers.
"This task force is supposed to be his answer to a political problem," said Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education, which has criticized the governor's education policies. "As long as tests are linked to closing schools and teachers losing jobs, you're going to see the same backlash from parents."
The task force, however, is not directly charged with reviewing the use of state standardized tests in teacher evaluations – one of the most controversial aspects of a package of education reforms the state has pushed through in recent years. Cuomo and the state Legislature earlier this year approved an overhaul to the teacher evaluation system that did little to satisfy its critics.
Some parents remain skeptical that Cuomo’s new task force will address concerns raised by thousands of parents who directed their children not to take state standardized tests aligned with the Common Core last spring. More than 200,000 elementary and middle school students across the state refused to take the math and English tests.
“For the governor to really fix it, he’s got to detach the teacher evaluations from testing,” said Eric Mihelbergel, a Tonawanda parent who helped found Western New Yorkers for Public Education, which has helped organize the testing boycott. “And I really don’t think he’s willing to do that.”
He clearly is not since he didn't make it part of the task force mandate and has, in the past, said teacher evaluations tied to test scores are the centerpiece of his education reform plan.
In addition, the "parent input" he sought comes from a parent already in agreement with him on the swellness of Common Core.
So what we have here is a third dog and pony show from Cuomo on education, following fairly closely on the last two, with an outcome pretty much rigged already by the choices of the task force members and the mandate they were given for their review - just like previous Cuomo education commissions (see here and here.)
Which means the political problems Andy has over Common Core, testing and his teacher evaluation system isn't going to go away despite his efforts to claim a "total reboot."