Part one of an ongoing series on higher standards in New York State
Each passing week seems to bring another negative story about “Common Core”: viral social media posts show nonsensical math homework assignments that stump parents; presidential candidates and state legislators across the nation grab headlines by vowing to repeal the standards; and Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force has recommended modifying the standards and associated policies. Does all this mean that the Common Core is going away? And does it even matter?
Over the past five years, at the same time that the media have been reporting controversies and protests, the Common Core standards were taking root firmly in classrooms across the nation. The New York Common Core Task Force’s recent review of the standards has yielded a set of recommendations for change, and some of those changes are considered quite significant by teachers and parents. Most notably, the Board of Regents has adopted the Task Force’s recommendation to remove any consequences for teachers’ and principals’ evaluations related to New York’s grades 3-8 ELA and math tests until the 2019-2020 school year. As for the standards themselves, the Task Force explicitly affirmed that New York must maintain high educational standards and “build upon the foundation established by the Common Core standards,” while acknowledging that some changes should be considered to ensure that the standards in the early grades are developmentally appropriate. The New York State Education Department has pledged to use feedback received from parents and teachers familiar with the standards to “identify where and what changes are needed to make New York’s Common Core ELA and Math Learning Standards stronger.”
In the coming weeks, this blog mini-series will argue that higher standards are important to the economic future of our state and our citizens, and will take you on a guided tour through the many reasons why I believe the Common Core is here to stay.