Cuomo Announces Task Force Recommends Overhaul of Common Core

New York Governor Andrew CuomoPhoto credit: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Photo credit: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor

Yesterday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the recommendations of a Common Core Task Force.  They call for the overhauling of the Common Core State Standards and adopting “new, high quality, locally-driven New York State-specific designed standards.”  The task force also recommended reducing over-testing in order to reduce anxiety.

“After listening to thousands of parents, educators and students, the Task Force has made important recommendations that include overhauling the Common Core, adopting new locally-designed high quality New York standards, and greatly reducing testing and testing anxiety for our students. The Common Core was supposed to ensure all of our children had the education they needed to be college and career-ready – but it actually caused confusion and anxiety. That ends now. Today, we will begin to transform our system into one that empowers parents, teachers and local districts and ensures high standards for all students. I thank the Task Force members for their thorough work. Together we will ensure that New York’s schools provide the world-class education that our children deserve,” Cuomo said.

Here are some of the major issues they found with the Common Core’s adoption and implementation:

  • The State’s original process to adopt the more than 1,500 Common Core Standards failed to include meaningful input by educators and was not done in a suciently open and transparent manner.
  • The Common Core Standards may not be age-appropriate in early grades including K-2.
  • The Common Core Standards do not adequately address unique student populations, such as English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities.
  • The Standards are too rigid and need to be adaptable with more local school district and educator input.
  • There was not enough time for teachers to develop curriculum aligned to the Common Core because much of the sample curriculum resources were not available until after the Common Core Standards were already adopted in schools.
  • The State-provided curriculum created by the State Education Department (SED) is complicated and di cult to use.
  • There is widespread belief that the curriculum does not allow for local district input, lacks breadth, and is too one-size- ts-all.
  • There was a lack of State Education Department (SED) transparency and of parent, educator, and other stakeholder engagement in the development of the Common Core-aligned tests by the corporation hired by SED.
  • There are concerns that students are spending too much time preparing for and taking tests and that teachers were only “teaching to the test.”
  • The Common Core tests do not properly account for Students with Disabilities and create unnecessary duplicative testing for English Language Learners.

Below are  21 recommendations made by the task force:

  1. Adopt high quality New York education standards with input from local districts, educators, and parents through an open and transparent process.
  2. Modify early grade standards so they are age-appropriate.
  3. Ensure that standards accommodate flexibility that allows educators to meet the needs of unique student populations, including Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners.
  4. Ensure standards do not lead to the narrowing of curriculum or diminish the love of reading and joy of learning.
  5. Establish a transparent and open process by which New York standards are periodically reviewed by educators and content area experts.
  6. Ensure educators and local school districts have the flexibility to develop and tailor curriculum to the new standards.
  7. Release updated and improved sample curriculum resources.
  8. Launch a digital platform that enables teachers, including pre-service teachers, and teacher educators, to share resources with other teachers across the state.
  9. Create ongoing professional development opportunities for teachers, teacher educators, and administrators on the revised State standards.
  10. Involve educators, parents, and other education stakeholders in the creation and periodic review of all State standards-aligned exams and other State assessments.
  11. Gather student feedback on the quality of the new tests.
  12. Provide ongoing transparency to parents, educators, and local districts on the quality and content of all tests, including, but not limited to publishing the test questions.
  13. Reduce the number of days and shorten the duration for standards-aligned State standardized tests.
  14. Provide teachers with the flexibility and support to use authentic formative assessments to measure student learning.
  15. Undertake a formal review to determine whether to transition to untimed tests for existing and new State standardized tests aligned to the standards.
  16. Provide flexibility for assessments of Students with Disabilities.
  17. Protect and enforce testing accommodations for Students with Disabilities.
  18. Explore alternative options to assess the most severely disabled students.
  19. Prevent students from being mandated into Academic Intervention Services based on a single test.
  20. Eliminate double testing for English Language Learners.
  21. Until the new system is fully phased in, the results from assessments aligned to the current Common Core Standards, as well as the updated standards, shall only be advisory and not be used to evaluate the performance of individual teachers or students.

Obviously I’m skeptical we’ll see how well these recommendations are followed and whether or not they will lead to significant, positive change or just a rebrand.

You can read the task force report below: