New York state is moving ahead with a plan to substantially overhaul and possibly replace Common Core, despite an announcement that a recent survey of over 10,000 people found they mostly view the standards positively.
New York adopted Common Core along with most states several years ago, but the rollout has been fraught with difficulties that caused many parents, teachers and lawmakers to turn against it. Last spring, 20 percent of students boycotted Common Core-aligned standardized tests, egged on by teachers who were angry about plans to use the tests in teacher evaluations.
Two months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, once a defender of Common Core, declared the standards in need of a “total reboot” and announced the formation of a committee that would review them and recommend changes. (RELATED: New York Plans ‘Total Reboot’ Of Common Core)
Now, three months later, the committee’s work is bearing fruit. Last Friday, it released its report, recommending the state shorten its standardized tests and substantially criticizing the Common Core standards for kindergarten through second grade. Now, on Monday, the New York Board of Regents announced that standardized test scores won’t count in teacher evaluations until 2020, the first of what will likely be several steps to substantially modify Common Core and other aspects of education in the United States.
But while Cuomo is planning big changes to education in New York, it’s not necessarily clear the public is behind him. As part of the review process, the state created a website to survey New Yorkers on Common Core and gauge their reaction to particular standards. But out of the approximately 10,500 people who took the survey, about 70 percent commented positively on Common Core, while 29 percent of comments were critical of Common Core. At least among those committed enough to the issue to comment, then, there appears to be more support for Common Core than hostility.
Common Core critics have a ready-made counter, though. Carol Burris, a retired principal and Common Core foe, published a piece in The Washington Post complaining the state’s survey site was too detailed and time-consuming to complete. A competing survey site, Burris says, attracted over 12,000 comments which were mostly hostile to Common Core. Burris complained that Cuomo is promising a big overhaul of Common Core, but may ultimately make only cosmetic changes.
Whatever course New York chooses, the stakes are high. While there has been a major Common Core backlash in several Republican-controlled states, it has been sturdier in blue states. Should New York pull out, it would be the first Democratic state to do so, and could pave the way for others to follow suit.
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