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Common Core causes tug-of-war between Board of Regents and Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Stephon Johnson | 2/13/2014, 11:41 a.m.

One of these days, they might get it right.

The implementation of Common Core Learning Standards in New York schools has brought about a plethora of dialogue and debate among parents, teachers, school administrators and local community leaders alike. However, the New York Board of Regents has apparently found a solution. According to a recent memo, the board’s plan recommends that teachers and principals be allowed to fight low evaluation scores on the grounds that their respective districts didn’t properly implement the Common Core standards.

“Provide that if a school district seeks to terminate an educator based on an ineffective rating resulting from student performance on Common Core assessments administered in the 2012-13 and/or 2013-14 school years, he or she may raise as a defense an alleged failure by the Board of Education to timely implement the Common Core by providing adequate professional development, guidance on curriculum or other necessary supports to the educator during those school years,” stated the memo.

However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t very fond of the Board of Regents’ recommendations.

“Today’s recommendations are another in a series of missteps by the Board of Regents that suggests the time has come to seriously re-examine its capacity and performance,” said Cuomo in a statement. “These recommendations are simply too little, too late for our parents and students. Common Core is the right goal and direction, as it is vital that we have a real set of standards for our students and a meaningful teacher evaluation system.

“However, Common Core’s implementation in New York has been flawed and mismanaged from the start,” continued Cuomo. “As far as today’s recommendations are concerned, there is a difference between remedying the system for students and parents and using this situation as yet another excuse to stop the teacher evaluation process.”

As the AmNews previously reported, Michel Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, has led the battle in New York City over the rushed adoption of Common Core by public schools in the five boroughs. During testimony in front of the state Senate in November, Mulgrew reiterated that he supported the state’s adoption of Common Core but pleaded for the process to slow down while teachers armed themselves with the proper materials to educate. Mulgrew also said that support for Common Core among teachers had decreased due to its poor implementation.  

This week, Mulgrew once again demanded a delay in the unveiling of Common Core so teachers, educators and administrators can get it right and at the same time.

“Parents, principals and teachers spoke in one voice about how their children have suffered because of this grossly mishandled rollout of the Common Core standards,” said Mulgrew in a statement. “We gave our kids tests, and only after our children failed—and after that failure became part of our students’ permanent records—did anyone even think about getting teachers the curriculum and materials they need to help their students succeed.

“The New York State Department of Education needs a time-out to fix this and to develop a plan that gets it right this time,” said Mulgrew.