Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Cathy Nolan today called for a two-year delay – “at minimum” – in using Common Core test results for “high-stakes” decisions for teachers, principals and students.
Silver and Nolan said in a statement that “New Yorkers share the same goal – to improve our schools and help prepare our students to be successful and college and career ready upon graduation.”
But given the concerns raised over the controversial new curriculum, particularly in connection with the use of test data in teacher evaluations, the Democratic lawmakers said it would be both “prudent” and “wise” to put the brakes on.
At the same time, they said, the state Education Department should “continue to develop Common Core aligned curricula and assist local school districts in developing their own curricula” so teachers will successfully be able to instruct and assist students in reaching their maximum potential.
This is a victory of sorts for NYSUT, which has been pushing for a three-year moratorium, and also for the union’s embattled president, Dick Iannuzzi, who is facing a challenge to his leadership by a UFT-backed slate that includes his own No. 2, Andy Pallotta.
Up to this point, Silver has held off on making any definitive pronouncements on how to proceed on the hot-button topic of Common Core, even as many of his members and his political allies (ie: NYSUT) have been clamoring for a moratorium.
Prominent members of the Senate are doing the same:
A few hours after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Education Chairwoman Cathy Nolan backed a minimum two-year postponement of Common Core, the leaders of the Senate majority coalition on Tuesday are also calling for a delay.
In a statement released by Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan, the lawmakers say they “continue to have grave concerns” over the roll out of the national education standards.
“Unless the Board of Regents acts to alleviate the concerns of parents, teachers and other educators, we call on the Regents to delay the use of Common Core tests for high-stakes decisions about teachers, principals and students for a minimum of two years,” the statement reads. “During this time, SED should continue to develop curricula aligned with higher standards and assist local school districts in developing their own curricula so teachers can successfully implement higher learning standards and help students reach their maximum potential.”At the same time, the Senate backs a one-yuear moratorium on the proposal to share student data through the controversial third-party vendor inBloom.
In addition, students, parents, teachers, privacy experts and school administrators have raised serious concerns about the ability of unauthorized third-parties to access personally identifiable information (PII) of students, teachers and principals that will be collected on the state-wide Education Data Portal (EDP). Therefore, we reiterate our call for the Regents to delay operation of the Education Data Portal for at least one year.The lawmakers add they continue to support the education standards, but the decision to push for the delay came out of meeting with parents, teachers, students and administrators at public hearings around the state.
Governor Cuomo's response?
Hey, these moratorium calls are superfluous because my Common Core panel is going to handle all this:
Statement From Communications Director Melissa DeRosa on the Legislature's Call for a Moratorium on Common Core
Albany, NY (February 4, 2014)
Governor Cuomo believes that the best long term economic development strategy is ensuring New York State has the strongest possible education system. Common Core is an issue about which there has been a lot of dialogue. The Governor believes that we need to set real standards for our students and have a meaningful teacher evaluation system, and continues to support the Common Core agenda.
However, the Governor believes that the way that Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed, leading to too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety among students and their parents. The strength of public education in New York is dependent on a rational system that is well administered.
Two weeks ago, the Governor announced that he will assemble a panel that includes education experts and members of the legislature to identify flaws in Common Core’s rollout and take corrective action by the end of this session. The Governor believes there are two issues – common core and teacher evaluations – and they must be analyzed separately. It would be premature to consider any moratorium before the panel is allowed to do its work.
This "panel" Cuomo says will look into CCSS problems doesn't actually exist yet - no members have been named, no panel has been convened.
Calling for this panel was Cuomo's way of making it look like he was addressing parents' and teachers' concerns over CCSS and the attendant testing without actually addressing those problems.
It seems he, along with Merryl Tisch and John King, is one of the few people left in the state who still supports CCSS as is, but he doesn't want to take the political hit for doing so.
So he calls for the panel, then slow-walks naming people to it, in the end hoping people kind forget about some of this and move on to other things.
He's done the same thing with the fracking issue, though anti-frackers and pro-frackers haven't been fooled by his delaying tactics there and both sides continue to call for him to finally make a decision on that issue.
The same is going to happen here with CCSS - Cuomo is trying to delay any modifying of the state ed reform agenda and he's using these diversionary tactics to extend that delay as long as he can.
I don't know what his CCSS end game is any more than I know what his fracking end game is.
But I suspect in both cases, it's to give the campaign donors who pay him a lot of money the policies they want without taking the political hit for doing just that.