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NY Assembly Speaker calls for 2-year delay in Common Core tests

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State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Education Chair Cathy Nolan have called on the Department of Education to delay implementation of Common Core assessments for a minimum of two years. In a Feb. 4 news release, Silver and Nolan cite the numerous concerns raised over the implementation of the new tests as the reason they believe use of exam scores to make high-stakes decisions should be put on hold.

Students’ test scores are used in evaluating educators’ performance and can have significant effect on an educator’s career.

Students in grades 3-8 sat for the new exams this past spring. Test scores were considerably lower than in prior years. New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), which represents more than 600,000 educators in the state, claimed teachers did not have the time, training or materials needed to prepare students for the new exams.

An additional concern expressed by Silver and Nolan is the security of private student information, which is shared with a third-party vender, InBloom. The state has contracted with InBloom for data storage and platform services needed for the EngageNY Portal. The portal will allow teachers, students and parents to access educational data on a student for the purpose of evaluating progress and individualizing instruction.

Silver and Nolan are concerned with possible security breaches with the portal, as well as the potential for use of student data for commercial purposes.

NYSUT leaders praise this action by New York lawmakers. “Virtually all the education stakeholders agree it will take several more years for new standards, curriculum, instruction and professional development to be properly aligned,” NYSUT Vice President Andrew Pallotta said in a Feb. 4 statement. “We commend the Assembly and Senate which recognizes this, and which is working to both provide the necessary funding and protect students and educators from unfair consequences stemming from SED's flawed implementation."

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