ALBANY, N.Y. – The nationalized learning standards experiment known as Common Core was supposed to improve America’s schools and make them “uncommonly good,” but the opposite is happening in New York.
Early Friday morning, lawmakers approved a last-minute deal that will keep New York’s least effective teachers in the classroom for at least two more years. The bill – which Gov. Andrew Cuomo fully supports – will “provide a two-year safety net to teachers who potentially could have lost their jobs because of their students’ performance on tests based on the controversial Common Core curriculum standards,” the Associated Press reports.
The change is meant to pacify teachers who “have complained that implementation of the new standards was rushed,” the AP adds.
Republican Assemblyman Pete Lopez was more direct. He said the deal is meant to help Cuomo and legislative leaders “cover their butts so they can avoid getting beat up by the teachers’ union this fall” when they seek re-election in November, TheDailyStar.com reports.
Currently, up to 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation score is based on his or her students’ performance on standardized tests. The new plan will “shield teachers from having their evaluations jeopardized by the poor performance of their students on tests” until the 2015-16 school year, reports TheDailyStar.com.
This law-in-waiting likely means that New York teachers who are “on the bubble” will stay in the classroom a few more years until school administrators can use Common Core-aligned test data to build a case for the teachers’ dismissal.
In other words, the accountability measures that education reform advocates worked so hard to win are being undercut by Common Core.
Common Core supporters will argue that’s an acceptable price to pay because the new learning standards are so superior to the old ones, and student learning is going to grow by leaps and bounds.
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But is that true?
The Common Core math and English standards were never piloted on real students in real schools before they were adopted and implemented. That means children in New York and 43 other states are serving as guinea pigs in this grand K-12 experiment that’s been foisted upon them by a group of governors (who are simply politicians who managed to get themselves elected) and a billionaire philanthropist who’s now a self-anointed education expert.
The fact is nobody knows for sure what kinds of results Common Core is going to produce (though some respected education experts are predicting calamity).
Some parents are understandably are angry about the legislative deal that was struck around 3 a.m. Friday.
A group anti-Common Core parents – known as New York State Allies for Public Education – “slammed” the deal, “saying it protects teachers but does nothing for students facing the stress of ‘abusive testing practices,’” TheDailyStar.com reports.
The group released a statement that said, in part:
“The deal reached today by Gov. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature regarding minimizing the impact of Common Core test scores on teacher evaluations is a slap in the face to parents across the state who have implored them to reduce the amount of testing that children are subjected to and to improve the quality of these exams and the learning standards.”