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Cuomo task force reverses governor's stance on Common Core

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo

A task force by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reversing a number of policies in the Common Core standards, including parts of a measure on teacher evaluations pushed by Cuomo less than a year ago.

The governor’s task force report, released with little fanfare late on Thursday, also calls for scrapping the Common Core standards, which the governor initially fast tracked, in favor a of a new state generated standard.

The report criticizes Common Core’s implementation, saying teachers did not have enough time to develop a new curriculum. And it reverses Cuomo’s plan to link teacher evaluations more closely to standardized testing,  instead putting off any connections between performance reviews and test results until at least 2020.

New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee, whose union fought bitterly with the governor over the initial proposals, calls it a “momentous development.”

“New York teachers will be fully engaged in developing New York’s standards,” Magee said.

The task force also recommends fewer tests and less time spent on test prep. The increased reliance on the standardized exams in New York  led to a boycott of the tests by one fifth of students last spring.

The New York State School Boards Association says the task force makes several sensible recommendations and “represents a much-needed scaling back of federal and state involvement in local school board decision-making.”

The New York State Business Council, which backed the Common Core standards, said in a statement from the group’s president, Heather Briccetti, that whether you agree with the new standards or not  “it is clear that our students are not receiving the education they need and higher standards must not be rolled back.” But Briccetti says she hopes the task force report will change the conversation.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.