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Regents to vote on Common Core changes

Rochester, N.Y. -- New York's education commissioner said it's time to slow down when it comes to Common Core testing. The new federal standards were first rolled out by districts last year and are being used to raise education standards for students and also to evaluate the effectiveness of their teachers.

They have been the focus of protests in Rochester and elsewhere.

"We are absolutely committed to the Common Core," said Commissioner John King. "(Yet) we have to balance the concerns that we have heard with the need to educate our students."

A regents committee has been studying the roll out of the Common Core for months and has concluded that has not been handled well in all districts. The committee says it's important to get it right before it becomes the standard.

"It really is important for us to have listened at the forums and to give a response in a timely way," said Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

The Board of Regents is expected to vote to approve 19 changes and recommendations to the roll out.

The first year students would be required to meet Common Core standards in order to graduate is 2022. They will have to meet those standards beginning with freshman year. Before then students will continue to take the new tests but will be able to graduate with lower scores.

"The goal with 2022 is to create sufficient time to get students to that higher standard," said King. But he added that he is worried about the delay. "We all worry about students that dont have the skills they need when they leave high school."

In another recommendation, teachers who risk being fired because they receive "ineffective" ratings due to student test scores will be allowed to argue that they were poorly prepared for Common Core by their districts.

Governor Cuomo blasted the recommendations as yet another "excuse" to delay teacher evaluations.   He released the following statement:

"Today's recommendations are another in a series of missteps by the Board of Regents that suggests the time has come to seriously reexamine its capacity and performance. 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.

"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.

"The Regents' response is to recommend delaying the teacher evaluation system and is yet another in a long series of roadblocks to a much needed evaluation system which the Regents had stalled putting in place for years.

"I have created a commission to thoroughly examine how we can address these issues. The commission has started its work and we should await their recommendations so that we can find a legislative solution this session to solve these problems."

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Washington Times