Press-Republican

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February 21, 2014

2 commissions address Common Core issues

SARANAC LAKE — The State Education Department’s plan to fix Common Core has resulted in nothing but confusion, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey says.

“It is a complete mess,” she said. “The parents here are saying, ‘Enough for my children.’ Parents have continued to keep the pressure on all of us.” 

A 30-page report proposing 19 changes to the program was released last week, formulated by State Education Department Commissioner Dr. John King after 21 public-comment hearings around the state last fall.

The changes comes some three and a half years into the seven-year program roll-out.

‘WRONG PATH’

New York was one of 46 states to accept Race to the Top education money more than three years ago. The federal education initiative, born of No Child Left Behind, infused $700 million into State Ed coffers.

But implementation of Common Core reforms drew intense criticism from parents, students and teachers, who say they were not given proper tools to use last year in reaching for what state education leaders presented as higher college and career readiness.

Origins of confusion in the new educational policy stem from the program itself, said Duprey (R-Peru).

“We’re going down the wrong path here, and there is not enough realization from the Board of Regents to see how they’ve messed this up.”

MORE MONEY

Called the Regents Common Core Task Force report, the State Ed document rethinks Common Core policy with provisions adapting new tests for special-education students, allowing sustained transition time for Common Core Regents exams and delaying the use of student-data portals in schools, among other aspects.

The report also seeks a $1.3 billion State Education funding increase with a focus on Common Core program equity; a $125 million investment in pre-kindergarten programs that would increase to $200 million in two years; and $8.4 million in new State Education funding to eliminate field testing on assessment tests and give teachers more copies of sample exams. 

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