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State delays Common Core graduation requirements; teachers say ‘Not enough’

High school students take several practice exams in preparation for the Regents tests required for graduation.
High school students take several practice exams in preparation for the Regents tests required for graduation.G. Burdett

The graduating class of 2022, students currently in the fourth grade, will be the first group of New York students required to pass Common Core-based Regents exams to graduate from high school. A Board of Regents workgroup recommends this eight-year delay along with adjustments to state policies regarding the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations.

The report also calls for eliminating standardized testing for kindergarten through second grade students. K-2 standardized tests are locally, not state, administered.

The Regents P-12 Education and Higher Education committee adopted the workgroup’s recommendations at a Feb. 10 meeting. The full Board of Regents is expected to act on the committee’s report at its Feb. 11 meeting.

"The implementation of the higher standards has been uneven, and these changes will help strengthen the important work happening in schools throughout the state.” – John King, New York Commissioner of Education

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), which represents educators across the state, said the action by the Regents “… only skimmed the surface of the significant course corrections parents and educators have been seeking.” In a Feb. 10 media release, NYSUT claimed that the minor adjustments adopted by the Regents committee included policies already in place such as allowing teachers to appeal poor evaluations.

NYSUT has been calling for a three-year moratorium on the use of standardized test scores as a component of a teacher’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR).

"After months of outrage from parents and teachers and clear guidance from the Legislature, the Regents today acknowledged significant problems but stubbornly rejected detaching, for at least two years, high-stakes consequences for students and teachers until they can make the course corrections they now agree are necessary.” –NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo weighed in on the issue with a Feb. 10 press statement. Cuomo calls the Regents’ action “… another in a series of missteps…” and calls into question the competence of the Board. Cuomo believes these actions only serve to stop progress with the teacher evaluation system and does not provide remedies for, what Cuomo calls, the flawed and mismanaged implementation of the Common Core standards.

Last week, Cuomo announced the formation of a Common Core implementation panel. The 11-member panel, comprised of lawmakers, business leaders and educators, is charged with performing a comprehensive review of the Common Core standards implementation and providing recommendations to improve implementation going forward.