Mar 4th - 10:56 am
The Democratic led Assembly is considering a bill that would delay the implementation of the Common Core standards for both teacher evaluations and student assessment until 2016. The bill comes after parents and teachers alike have maligned the state’s roll out of the standards.
“I think the speaker and the members of the Assembly feel the need to address the concerns of the people we’ve heard from throughout our districts and this bill is a working document to do that,” said Assembly Education Chairwoman Cathy Nolan
The measure also tackles issues with student privacy, and pushes back the planned sharing of student data with a third party vendor from September 2014 to July 2015.
“The bill incorporates the bill that we passed last year that would postpone any collection of this data for a long time, and I think sets up a number of parameters and guidelines for the state Education Department and will protect privacy for students and families,” Nolan said.
Assembly lawmakers met privately to discuss the measure after Monday’s legislative session. We caught up with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver before he huddled with lawmakers.
“We’re going to take it up in conference and put it out. But we’re just thinking what we’ve always said: The implementation was flawed, people just weren’t ready for it. Students weren’t ready for it, teachers weren’t ready for it,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.
The measure’s final passage in the Assembly is likely, it has not been introduced yet in Senate. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan was non-committal about the bill’s chances in his chamber.
“Not so sure there’s a lot of people saying slow down the implementation, they’re just saying it should be done better, far better than it’s been done right now,” Flanagan said. .
Also on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled an issued ad paid for by his campaign urging voters to support his own Common Core proposal.
While the state’s new Common Core curriculum is heading in the right direction, testing on it is premature. It creates anxiety and it’s just unfair. And their scores should not be counted against them.
But Cuomo’s vision for Common Core changes is different. He wants an education panel to make recommendations and is staunchly opposed to any changes to the teacher evaluation law.-
Mar 3rd - 4:42 pm
Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan was non-committal on whether his chamber would take up the Assembly bill to delay for two years the implementation of the Common Core standards.
Flanagan indicated the concerns of the Senate are necessarily the speed of implementation, but that it should simply have been done better.
“The real challenge comes as how do you define what a delay is? Do you really want to delay the implementation? I think what people are talking about is the timely and proper implementation of Common Core. Do we have the modules? Do teachers have the tools? Are students being ex[posed to all the appropriate information before they’re examined?”
The Assembly bill would delay Common Core’s implementation for teacher evaluations and student assessment, while addressing concerns lawmakers, parents and teachers have raised about the sharing of student data.
“Not so sure there’s a lot of people saying slow down the implementation, they’re just saying it should be done better — far better than it’s being done now,” Flanagan said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s panel to recommend changes to the Common Core roll out will meet on Tuesday, Flanagan said.
Cuomo wants to slow the implementation, but opposes any effort to infringe on a teacher evaluation law he championed and was approved last year.
It remains to be seen whether the bill ultimately is sponsored by someone in the majority coalition that controls the Senate.
“We’re obviously taking a look at it right now. There’s a lot of discussion, conversation,” Flanagan said.
Mar 3rd - 12:22 pm
A bill that would delay the implementation of the Common Core standards for teacher evaluations and student assessment is not expected to be voted on later today, an Assembly official said.
The Democratic conference is expected to meet and discuss the bill late this afternoon, around 5 p.m.
The legislation would delay the broad strokes of Common Core implementation, including testing students in grades three through eight, and prohibit the standards from being used to evaluate student and teacher performance until 2016.
The measure also calls for moratorium until July 2015 of the implementation of the online-data portal that is aimed at collecting student information, which was set to begin in September of this year.
The bill is yet to have a Senate sponsor.
But the legislation comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has created his own education panel to make legislative recommendations for changes to Common Core implementation, which he wants voted on by the end of the legislative session, due to conclude in June.
Parents and teachers unions have complained the state’s roll out of Common Core, handled by the state Education Department, was poorly planned and implemented too swiftly with an over-emphasis on testing.
The Board of Regents this month approved some changes to the Common Core roll out that would slow the implementation.
Mar 3rd - 12:21 pm
ICYMI, here’s the lead item today’s Morning Memo:
The New York City-based war over charter schools will reach a head in Albany tomorrow, as hundreds from either side descend on the state Capitol for dueling rallies.
On one side: Former NYC Councilwoman and charter school operator Eva Moskowitz, who is furious with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for reversing co-location decisions by his predecessor, former Mayor Bloomberg, that would have allowed for the expansion of three schools operated by her Success Academy network.
Moskowitz has cancelled school tomorrow at all 22 of her charters, and plans to bus angry parents, students and teachers to Albany to protest de Blasio’s decision.
On the other side: De Blasio and his allies, who had already planned to be in Albany Tuesday to rally for his ever-more-out-of-reach plan to let the city tax wealthy residents to expand pre-K and after school programs in the five boroughs. De Blasio last week fanned the flames still further by calling Moskowitz’s rally a “sideshow,” insisting he would not be deterred by her plans.
There is a belief among de Blasio backers that that Moskowitz has launched her competing rally with the tacit approval – if not outright encouragement – of the pro-charter Cuomo administration, which is at odds with the mayor over pre-K funding.
Just last week, Cuomo was praising the charter school movement and its departed “champion” (Bloomberg), while refusing to weigh in directly on the co-location argument.
A Cuomo spokesman did not return an email seeking comment Sunday night.
Meanwhile, Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos told the NY Post he’s prepared to fight on behalf of charter schools during the ongoing budget negotiations with Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and IDC Leader Jeff Klein.
Skelos called de Blasio’s co-location decision “unconscionable.” He also expressed concern about the administration’s effort to redirect a $210 million construction fund used to build space for charter schools toward pre-K, and its plans to charge better-financed charter schools rent.
Not everyone in the charter community is at war with de Blasio. Twenty-three charter organizations have signed onto a Feb. 27 statement calling Moskowitz’s competing rally “not the right approach at this time,” and refusing to participate.
“Tuesday is not a day to be divided,” the letter reads. “Those rallying in Albany next week should stand together with the city and advocate – side by side – for our children, particularly the most underserved, and all of whom are public school students.”
Feb 25th - 5:41 am
Most New York voters back a two-year delay in the implementation of the controversial Common Core education standards, but they remain divided on the quality of the curriculum itself, a new Siena College poll found.
The poll found a bare majority – 50 percent to 38 percent – of New Yorkers backs a two-year delay of the roll out of the standards, which has come under criticism from parents and teachers alike for a reliance on standardized tests and lack of preparation.
But voters are divided on the learning standards themselves, the poll found.
Thirty-six percent say the standards are too demanding, while 24 percent believe they aren’t demanding enough. Just 23 percent believe the standards strike the right balance.
The poll comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo created a commission to recommend a series of legislative changes to the roll out of the Common Core.
Cuomo criticized proposed changes recommended by the Board of Regents – in particular one that would have impacted teacher evaluations, which the board at the last minute did not adopt.
The governor has suggested in recent days his education panel, which has already started meeting, will delay aspects of Common Core, but he says he supports the standards themselves.
But a broad majority of voters believe it’s up to the state Education Department, not Cuomo, to set education policy, 61 percent to 21 percent.
“As the controversy around the Common Core and its implementation continues to swirl among politicians, education advocates, parents, and teachers, New York voters remain divided on whether or not the new standards are too demanding, and whether or not those standards will better prepare students for college or the workplace after graduation,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
“Even as the debate over the Common Corerages on, New Yorkers’ attitudes about the Common Core have changed very little over the last three months.”
Cuomo’s favorability rating, meanwhile, fell six percentage points, from 66 percent to 28 percent to 60 percent to 35 percent in today’s poll.
His job performance rating is also below water: 48 percent approve of his handling, while 51 percent do not.
Regardless of the drop, Cuomo continues to lead Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in a hypothetical race for governor.
Cuomo leads Astorino by 42 percentage points, compared to 48 percentage points last month. He leads businessman and TV show host Donald Trump by 44 percentage points, the poll found.
When it comes to the economy, most New Yorkers recognize that the upstate region is struggling, but views vary from region to region.
The poll found that a broad majority of upstate residents – 79 percent to 13 percent – believe upstate struggles most. Forty-nine percent of suburban residents, meanwhile, believe upstate is having a tougher time, while 39 percent believe it is downstate.
In New York City, 45 percent of residents believe the downstate region is suffering a tougher economic situation as opposed to 38 percent who point to upstate.
When it comes to allowing localities to raise their own minimum wage, 73 percent of New Yorkers back the idea, while 24 percent oppose it.
The Siena College poll of 802 registered New York voters was conducted from Feb. 16 through Feb. 20. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
Feb 11th - 5:08 pm
New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights, an education advocacy group, is suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Board of Regents and state Education Commissioner John King, claiming the state has systematically shortgaged the public school system by failing failing to comply with an agreement that followed the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity Ruling of 2006.
The suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, maintains the state is $4 billion behind in making good on the deal then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer struck in 2007 to settle CFE.
After the first two years of the phase-in of this agreement, however, the state first froze and then dramatically slashed aid for education, the suit notes, and in so doing, failed to fulfill its constitutional requirement to provide every student with a sound, basic education. The suit also alleges that the property tax cap successfully pushed through the Legislature by Cuomo has exacerbated the shortfalls in state education aid and denied districts the resources necessary to meet instructional needs.
The suit mentions the Common Core curriculum, noting additional federal funds districts have received through Race to the Top have constituted less than one-third of the amount needed for proper implementation, and the state has so far not provided additional funds to cover that cost, or the additional costs of the new teacher performance evaluation requirements.
A number of organizations have joined together to file this suit, including the state PTA, the state School Boards Association, the state Council of School Superintendents, the Rural Schools Association, the Statewide School Finance Consortium, and others.
During an interview with The Capitol Pressroom’s Susan Arbetter earlier today, Cuomo said the latest lawsuit challenging the way New York allocates education dollars is flawed because the state spends more money per pupil – on average – than any other state and doesn’t get top results. He also said – in a statement his spokeswoman declined to clarify – that he didn’t think former Gov. George Pataki lost the CFE lawsuit, adding: “I think most people would say he probably was victorious.”
Feb 10th - 1:02 pm
The state Board of Regents on Monday approved a suite of changes to the implementation of the controversial Common Core standards.
The requirement to pass Regents examinations based on the standards will be extended, with the class of 2022 the first to face them as graduation requirements.
Mandatory tutoring for struggling students will be altered and guidance issued to school districts that make it clear the state Education Department doesn’t require or encourage districts to make the promotion or placement of students based on the assessments for grades 3 through 8.
The recommendations adopted today were made by a working group subcommittee within the Regents to alter the roll out.
The statewide teachers union has been especially critical of the Common Core roll out, in part due to the success of student achievement on standardized tests being tied to teacher evaluations.
The changes made today appear to address some of those concerns.
The recommendations also include increasing flexibility for districts to reduce local testing tied to the teacher evaluations.
At the same time, there will be an expedited review process for school districts that want to overhaul their evaluation criteria that reduce a reliance on local tests.
A cap of one percent on instructional time used for local assessments used to develop teacher evaluations.
“We have listened to the concerns of parents and teachers,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in a statement. “We’ve heard the concerns expressed at the hearings and forums, and we regret that the urgency of our work, and the unevenness of implementation, have caused frustration and anxiety for some of our educators, students, and their families. This report is designed to make significant and timely changes to improve our shared goal of implementing the Common Core.”
Feb 6th - 12:59 pm
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher urged state lawmakers on Thursday to not “throw the baby out with the bath” when it came to implementing Common Core standards in schools across the state.
Zimpher appeared before a joint Assembly-Senate budget hearing on higher education spending for about 90 minutes.
The chancellor to reporters after her appearance said she opposed the two-year moratorium on Common Core as proposed by state legislative leaders in the Assembly and Senate this week.
“I don’t agree with stopping progress,” she said.
Zimpher, however, acknowledged the issues with Common Core, but lined up with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to have an education panel sort out any changes to the implementation that could be voted on by the end of the legislative session in June.
“We set a high bar — 45 states agreed to this,” she said. “Understandably it would bog down in implementation. But the point I wanted to make is the standards are critically important. We need to let the implementation work its way forward without stopping the progress.”
Meanwhile, Zimpher praised the new START-UP NY program that would allow businesses that settle on public college campuses ten years of no taxes providing they create jobs and meet other criteria.
Lawmakers who opposed the creation of the program raised concerns with academic freedom at campuses as a result of the program, as well as issues with oversight.
“It’s a wonderful new idea,” Zimpher told reporters. “It has a lot of components to it. I think their interest and curiosity probably extends from when they idea was debated last year and now we’re getting ready to implement it.”
She added, “We’ve been asking for public-private partnerships for decades. Let’s see if this can’t start up the economic growth in New York state.”
In her prepared testimony, Zimpher told lawmakers that proposed reductions in the governor’s budget, including the Educational Opportunity Programs and ATTAIN, needed to be restored.
The 2014/15 Executive Budget holds operating funding for SUNY primarily flat. There were reductions to key access programs such as ATTAIN and SUNY’s highly successful Educational Opportunity Programs, along with slight reductions in support for “Categorical Aid”—most notably in our Child Care program and complete elimination of the Graduation, Advancement, and Placement (GAP) funding. We respectfully ask that these items be restored. Finally, the Executive Budget did not provide the financial support of $82.2 million for the collective bargaining contracts—costs that are outside of SUNY’s direct control for our State-operated institutions.
Feb 4th - 3:13 pm
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.
The latest Common Core developments come after state Education Department Commissioner John King has acknowledged the roll out was flawed, but defended the standards to state lawmakers before multiple committee hearings and meetings
Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the creation of an education panel in his budget address last month that would recommend a series of legislative fixes to Common Core’s implementation that would be voted on by the end of the year.
Lawmakers, however, have indicated that timetable isn’t fast enough.
In a statement from the Board of Regents, King and Chancellor Merryl Tisch said they will work to improve implementation of Common Core.
“Earlier this year, Chancellor Tisch announced a Regents work group to review the implementation of the Common Core in New York. Next week, at the February Board of Regents meeting, the work group will present to the P-12 committee of the Board a series of possible options that reflect the input the Board has received from legislators and the public to make thoughtful adjustments to Common Core implementation,” King and Tisch said.
Feb 4th - 11:34 am
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.
Silver made it clear that he believed the case had been made for a delay of implementing the Common Core standards, but also said he wanted to wait and see what a subcommittee set up by Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch to address this issue came up with.
The subcommittee has not yet reported back, but is expected to do so as early as next Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also waited for months while the Common Core controversy swirled before getting involved himself, finally weighing in during his budget address last month.
Cuomo said he supports the Common Core agenda, but believes the way it has been implemented by SED is “flawed.” He called for creation of a special advisory panel that would recommend “corrective action” to be acted upon by the Legislature before the end of this session.
Some lawmakers, including Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan, criticized Cuomo’s plan, saying action on Common Core cannot wait any longer.
Last week, senators hammered state Education Commissioner John King over Common Core at a hearing during which they pledged to take action themselves if SED doesn’t do so ASAP.
Silver and Nolan also noted the “persistent questions” and security concerns about SED’s plans to share student data with a private, third-arty vendor charged with setting up a database of this information.
“SED should delay the use of inBloom or any third party vendor in developing a ‘data portal’ until all these questions have been answered and the concerns fully satisfied,” they said.
SED officials announced last month that they had delayed the upload of student data to the Atlanta-based inBloom until at least April, due to technical complications.