ALBANY — The state Education Department will take suggestions on what portions of the Common Core standards should be changed, but the state “cannot go backwards,” commissioner MaryEllen Elia told POLITICO New York on Thursday.
Her remarks came in response to a Siena Research Institute poll released Thursday that found that 64 percent of New York voters said Common Core's implementation has either had no meaningful effect on public education or else has worsened it.
“Most New Yorkers would agree that we should set the academic bar high for our students, and then provide the resources they need to clear that bar,” Elia said in emailed comments. “The United States used to lead the world educationally, but we’ve fallen to the middle of the pack. Our students are lagging behind, and the global economy is growing more competitive every day.”
“We’ll make necessary adjustments, but we cannot go backwards,” she said. “Our students need the skills and knowledge the higher standards demand to be successful after they graduate from high school. Change is always difficult, and change takes time, but this change is necessary.”
Shorter version: Elia to NY - I don't care what you think, the Common Core/Endless Testing regime continues whether you like it or not.
That's the message here.
The opposition to the state's education reform agenda - the Common Core implementation and Endless Testing regime that has ratcheted up even more with CCSS and Cuomo's teacher evaluation agenda - is quite clearly unpopular among voters and even more unpopular among parents of school-age children.
Polling quite clearly shows this, with the yesterday's Siena poll just the latest example.
Earlier this week, a Quinnipiac poll showed the following:
69% opposed to merit pay based upon test scores, 67% opposed to tenure based upon test scores, 65% say standardized tests are not the best measurement of student learning.
Elia's reponse to the polling - "We cannot go backward" - is a straw man argument that presents the idea moving away from Common Core and the Endless Testing regime is backward movement.
Clearly from multiple polls, voters in New York do not feel this way.
She's trying to hold the line on an eroding education reform edifice with her imperious talk but the reality is, given the politics of these issues (and with the governor already undercutting her authority and prestige), she is not long for the education reform wars here in New York.
Not with this kind of reaction, at any rate.
The public has turned on many tenets of reform - testing, merit pay, tenure/evaluations tied to test scores, Common Core - but Elia's holding the line like it's 2009 and Race to the Top is a new and exciting thing.
Good luck with that, Commissioner.