A task force has been assembled to provide suggestions for overhauling the state’s Common Core education programs and testing system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
Comprised of and chaired by members of the governor’s New NY Education Reform Commission, the task force will seek to maintain high learning standards and smooth the impact of the Common Core’s rollout that Cuomo said has caused disruption and anxiety throughout the state.
“This country is in the midst of an education revolution, as is this state,” Cuomo said. “I have spoken to parents, teachers, superintendents and school boards all across the state and I know that the situation is critical. I have heard the message clearly: we must take action and we must take action now to fix our schools, and we will.”
The task force will also review various facets of state testing, including the impact of the moratorium on recording Common Core scores on student records and whether the exams match their corresponding curricula.
Its final review will be due by the end of the year, Cuomo announced.
“We remain confident that our public education system and our students will be best served by a collaborative effort of policy makers, parents and educators to determine the reforms that will maximize the historic investments we have made in educating our children,” said state Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie (D-the Bronx), in a statement.
State Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan (R-East Northport) said in a statement that the task force is a “positive step forward” in continuing discussions on eliminating of the gap elimination adjustment, through which school district aid is reduced to align with the state funding shortfall.
The New York State Union of Teachers in a statement Monday welcomed the task force’s creation, saying it “is fundamental to moving forward.”
“Without question, Common Core implementation was botched,” the union’s statement said. “Without question, tests and evaluations must not be a punitive system of ‘gotcha.’ Clearly, an overhaul is needed.”
In his announcement, Cuomo said the website ny.gov/CommonCoreTaskForce had been created for the submission of comments and suggestions to the task force, and that input from regional advisory councils made up of parents and teachers from across the state would be encouraged.
“Education is about the kids and if we remember that and if we are guided by that, the solutions are easy,” Cuomo said. “The goal should be simple: the best education for our children, that’s it, and I will do everything I can to make that a reality.”
State Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square), a ranking member of the state Education Committee, said in a statement that “while it is necessary to evaluate the undeniably flawed Common Core system…The governor’s call for action is several years too late.”
Ra said “it is critical that the panel hears from both sides, regardless of whether they maintain strong approval or opposition to the current curriculum.”
“For years parents, students and educators of New York state have called for change, and since the very beginning our Assembly Republican Conference has been fighting alongside them,” he added. “We cannot accept any more quick fixes. It is time to start over and create a stronger set of standards that allows adequate flexibility for special student populations all across New York State.”