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Gov. Cuomo takes stand on Common Core

Rochester, N.Y, - When New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his budget proposal on Tuesday, he caught the ear of educators and parents.

Cuomo is calling for a review of the controversial common core standards.

I support the common core agenda. But the way the common core has been adopted by the New York State Board of Regents is flawed, Governor Cuomo said.

That's something parents and educators had echoed for months since the New York State Department of Education rolled out the new standards.

It seems as though their message was heard loud and clear.

I'm excited that he's starting to listen because parents and educators are the number one people who are involved with education, said parent Melissa Barber.

Barber is also a teacher in the Rochester City School District.

She said she sees firsthand the struggles in her classroom with the common core.

Its a change she says can't come soon enough.

We're forgetting the basics and we're jumping right into these higher level tasks which kids need to learn. However, they need to be taught how to do them, not just to do them, Barber said.

He's reacting to a vocal public, said Rochester City School Board member Willa Powell.

Powell said that while Cuomo has signaled he's aware of the issue, she says he hasn't tapped into the core of problem.

Calling for legislative review is interesting, but what we really ought to be talking about is panels of educational experts not lawmakers talking about what's the best approach for the common core, " Powell said.

Its a measure many expect Cuomo to deliver.

I only hope that he holds true to his words that he involves educators in the process, Barber said.

Governor Cuomo also talked about eliminating testing for students in kindergarten through second grade.

Right now, there are no such tests.

The Governor said he hopes to pass a corrective measure by the end of the session.

Below is a statement from Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and State Education Commissioner John King:


The Governors commitment to increasing the states investment in quality universal pre-k will brighten the future for thousands of New York students.  UPK has long been a priority for the Board of Regents.  Now its close to becoming a reality.  New York will be a better place.


We strongly agree with the Governors proposal to ban standardized testing for our youngest students.  The state has never tested K-2 students, and the Board of Regents has a long standing policy against it. 


The Governors continuing strong support for the Common Core standards is exactly right.  Virtually every educational stakeholder, from teacher unions to PTAs to administrators and school board members, along with the Governors Education Reform Commission and 45 other states, agrees that the Common Core standards are the best path to success for our students.  It makes sense; every year, far too many of our students leave high school without the skills and knowledge they need for college or the workplace.  The Common Core will help them develop the tools they need to succeed in college and careers.


Of course, implementation has not been perfect.  We are raising standards and changing instruction across a state with nearly 700 school districts and millions of students.  Any change as significant as the shift to the Common Core requires adjustments along the way.  We have already made some.  We have shortened testing time.  We have asked for and received a federal waiver to stop double testing some 50,000 eighth grade students in accelerated math.  We are preparing to ask the U.S. Department of Education for another waiver to increase assessment flexibility for English Language Learners and students with disabilities. 


We are open to other thoughtful adjustments.  The panel the Governor announced today, along with the Regents work group, can be useful vehicles to continue to strengthen Common Core implementation.


The goal is and always has been to make sure every student in every classroom in New York has the best possible chance to be successful in and out of school.  We remain fully committed to the Common Core, but we welcome constructive refinement to implementation to help meet that goal.  We look forward to working with the Governor to improve implementation while maintaining the higher standards we have set to ensure that New Yorks students have every opportunity to succeed in life. 



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Washington Times