Tag Archives: common core

Higher graduation rates! Who cares?

In an editorial, The Middletown Times Herald-Record asks the question, “Who cares about higher graduation rates?”

“If the rate meant something, it would be worth celebrating. But if all it means is that more 18-year-olds won’t be back the following fall, then there’s not much to talk about.

“The trouble is, as a story in the Times Herald-Record clearly illustrated on Monday, that graduation from high school no longer proves anything. It gives students a credential to put on an application. But any employer who digs a bit deeper will find that the diploma that used to mean something now is not necessarily an indication that the person holding it is ready to take on the challenges of the working world.

“We know that because far too many of those with those diplomas are not ready to take on the challenges of the world of higher education either.

“As the story explained, more than half of the students arriving for the fall semester of local community colleges fall short of the minimum requirements on placement tests.”

The editorial points out the added costs those students and their families incur when they have to pay tuition to revisit subjects “they allegedly mastered to get a high school diploma.”

“This is not a new problem, and many had hoped that a more rigorous, standard curriculum would help. But the solution that was offered, the Common Core, had the kind of problems that any serious effort in reform is bound to have and that was enough to turn it into a tool for many manipulative politicians.”

To read the complete editorial, please click here.


Rochester D&C: Stay the course on Common Core

The Common Core Learning Standards are a “necessary step toward ensuring success for New York students,” The Editorial Board of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle said in an editorial published today.

Excerpts from the editorial:

“While newly released results of state-mandated Common Core math and English exams are nothing to pop champagne corks about, neither are they cause for an educational about-face. On the contrary. Educators at the state and local levels must reaffirm their commitment to helping New York’s students master the new, more-rigid curricula.

“They [the Common Core] have the support of the state Business Council and the national Chamber of Commerce because such groups understand the value of a highly educated workforce.

“There is still a long road to travel. But students took a step in the right direction this past year — and that was amid the substantial headwinds of vocal opposition. Think what they could accomplish with a tailwind,” the editorial concluded.

High Achievement New York to launch campaign

HighAchieveHigh Achievement New York, a statewide educational organization that includes The Business Council of New York State, will launch an advertising campaign in the coming months to educate business leaders about the benefits of the Common Core Learning Standards.

Frank Thomas, High Achievement New York’s  executive director told reporter Jessica Bakeman of Capital New York, “We want every child to have a chance at a great education, and that is why community leaders, educators and businesses have joined together to ensure that the high standards and dedication to excellence that the Common Core promotes make it into every classroom.”

Businesses frequently cite the mismatch in skills between graduates and open positions highlighting the shortage of technical skills and other “workplace skills,” such as time management, problem solving or teamwork. Educational initiatives that prepare students for the workforce and address the “skills gap” are a priority for The Business Council.

Business Council President and CEO Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., also spoke with Bakeman. Highlighting why Common Core Learning Standards are important to The Business Council’s membership, she stressed that businesses are focused on students having the skills they need when they graduate college. She also added that business leaders should not be, “distracted by some of the arguments that are being raised in the pain of transition.”

The campaign announcement comes on the heels of Education Commissioner John King’s speech to the Association for a Better New York on Wednesday. King called on business leaders to support the Common Core Learning Standards saying, “Your leadership is essential to achieving this goal.”

Each year approximately 140,000 students graduate unprepared for college or the workforce. The Business Council believes that business has a a responsibility to help students achieve their best. The importance of fostering career and workforce readiness for students is crucial to New York’s economic competitiveness, which depends on its skilled workforce.

Time Warner Cable News interview with Business Council President on Common Core


Business Council President and CEO Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. appeared on the Time Warner Cable News show Capital Tonight last night to talk about workforce readiness and Common Core in light of the Governor’s Common Core Panel issuing its report, and Legislature’s vote to fill four seats on the Board of Regents.

President Briccetti highlighted that it is important to separate Common Core standards from issues with implementation.  She reiterated The Business Council’s support for higher standards and said that going back to standards that are insufficient is not the answer, as only 35 percent of high school graduates are college or career ready.

She also highlighted that there is a difference between slowing down implementation and the conversation surrounding how tests are used,  and that we should not back away from higher standards because the process is challenging.

“The reason for it is to ensure that when a student graduates, that we can all as parents, and employers, have confidence that that a diploma means something.  If we back away from raising those standards then we are going to go back to situation where we already know we are failing 65 percent of those graduates,” said Briccetti.

Watch the interview with Business Council President and CEO Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. on the Time Warner Cable news website (TWCID required).

President Briccetti also appeared on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom last week discussing the issue of Common Core as well as P-TECH initiatives; listen to the interview on WCNY’s website (starts at 23:18).

Education reform a priority for The Business Council

Although last week the New York State Board of Regents approved measures to adjust Common Core implementation in New York state — the class of 2022, instead of the class of 2017, will be the first to be required to pass the more rigorous requirements — The Business Council continues to support implementation and the higher academic standards, without delay.

The truth is these standards are much needed to help close the skills gap that exists between recent high school graduates and good paying, in-demand jobs. The Business Council is not the only organization that knows this crucial need.

A recently New York Times editorial, The Common Core in New York, highlights that although the rollout has been bumpy, giving  students a better chance at a good education, is needed and that the state “cannot afford to let this project founder.”

The New York Post recently highlighted how Common Core can help New York students who currently “trail their counterparts in several Asian countries and Russia on math tests.” The article notes that their competitiveness on science exams is even worse.

State Education Commissioner John King also received a show of support from Assemblyman Karim Camara, chair of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, chair of the state Senate Puerto Rican and Latino Caucus. City and State quoted a joint statement from the legislators in an article who said, “While this has been an emotional debate with marked differences in public policy, there is no doubt that Commissioner King remains a public servant devoted to improving the education and welfare of New York’s kids. We will continue to work towards closing the achievement gap and other urgent issues with Commissioner King and other stakeholders.”

Governor Cuomo also recently announced a panel that will recommend improvements in the state’s rollout of the Common Core. The panel will be led by Business Council member Stan Litow, IBM’s vice president of corporate citizenship & corporate affairs and president of IBM’s Foundation, who has also led the pioneering Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) concept.

The Business Council of New York State encourages all businesses to sign an open letter of support for Common Core Learning Standards. Heather C. Briccetti Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. recently said, “The Business Council of New York State strongly supports the higher academic standards in the Common Core and believes that the state must continue to implement the curriculum without delay.  We also recognize that several corrective actions must be taken in order to be sure that there is a smooth transition to these new, more rigorous standards.

In other education news, a pro-charter schools group, Families for Excellent Schools, launched a campaign opposing New York City Mayor de Blasio’s recent reduction of $210 million in capital as well as a new charter rent policy. The Business Council is a staunch advocate for school choice. Charter schools offer parents and students an alternative to poorly performing public schools. The new Mayor’s efforts to place a moratorium on co-location places city charter schools — most of which fall in high-needs districts — in a position of fiscal uncertainty.

Business Council member, Time Warner Cable News’ blog, State of Politics, recently quoted Rafael Lois, the father of two Girls Prep Bronx scholars who appears in a Families for Excellent Schools video, “The de Blasio administration has said parent voices matter to them, but they seem to be discounting ours. My daughters are receiving an excellent education, which is their moral and legal right, and I will do everything in my power to make sure they continue to have these opportunities.”


Cheektowaga embraces Common Core

The Buffalo News is reporting that while many Western New York teachers and parents are not supportive of the Common Core learning standards, Cheektowaga Central representatives are — with Cheektowaga teachers using the standards to shape curriculum for students.

Angela Stockman, director of WNY Education Associates, a consultant for the school district, praised the standards at a Board of Education meeting saying the modules provide guidance for teachers and are best used when adapted to lessons teachers tailor to students.  She added the standards were designed in response to teachers’ requests for help in implementing the new standards.

Read the full article on The Buffalo News website.

Sign The Business Council’s letter of support for Common Core standards here.

Common Core forum in Buffalo on December 12

State Education Commissioner John King continues to hold forums around the state on the Regents Reform Agenda and will preside in a public forum in Buffalo this week.  The Forum will take place on Thursday, December 12 starting at 6 p.m. at 140 Lower Terrace, in the WNED Studios.

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett will join Commissioner John King at the event.  The Forum will broadcast live on WNED-TV and on WBFO-FM 88.7 from 6 – 7 p.m.

For more information visit the WNED website.

To understand more about the Common Core and how the standards can help students prepare for jobs once they graduate, visit The Business Council website.  Also, we are encouraging businesses to sign a letter of support, click here to sign the letter.

Schools: an economic development issue

Rochester’s Mayor-elect Lovely Warren addressed a crowd of more than 300 leaders at a Vision-Future stressing the importance that education has on business and economic development.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Warren called the city’s schools an economic development issue, stressing that would be her focus along with safe streets.

Warren highlighted a problem faced by many urban school districts around the state: the lack of quality schools in the city, where “less than half of students graduate on time and just 5 percent are considered ready for college or the workforce when they do.”

State Education Commissioner John King was also in the Rochester area yesterday participating in a live forum at WXXI Studios along with state Board of Regents members Wade S. Norwood and T. Andrew Brown.

King said the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) need “tweaking” but there are positive aspects to the tests.  Some of the changes being considered, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle are, “testing options for special needs students, in Spanish language assessments and the phasing out of dual math exams for accelerated students..”

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has resources available to support the successful implementation of the CCLS in classrooms across New York state over the next several years.  They are located on the Engage NY website.  The Business Council supports these standards that will help prepare students for college and career readiness. The standards are internationally-benchmarked and evidence-based, and serve as a consistent set of expectations for what students need to learn and be able to do to succeed in college and in careers.

U.S. high-school students fall in global rankings

One more reason to support the Common Core standards in New York state was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article today.  The newspaper reports that global rankings for math, science and reading skills show U.S. teenagers ranking lower in all areas since 2009.

The results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) show U.S. students dropped from 25th to 31st in math; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading.

The PISA is administered every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Business Council of New York State President and CEO Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. recently testified that, although some are calling for pulling back on the Common Core standards in New York, now is not the time to pause as employers have trouble finding workers that have the required math, science or reading skills needed to fill jobs.

The Business Council of New York State supports Common Core standards and urges businesses to sign an open letter of support.

Common Core to be discussed in Jamestown

State Education Commissioner John King will be in Jamestown, along with Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritus Bennett, this week continuing to listen to educators, parents and community members.  The forum will discuss the Common Core standards and the New York State Board of Regents’ reform agenda.

The event will take place from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Jamestown High School auditorium on Wednesday, December 4.

Have you signed the open letter? You can do so by clicking here.  The Business Council is urging businesses to sign an open letter supporting Common Core State Standards as an effective means to raise college and career-readiness in K-12 education.