March 12, 2014

NY's Common Core corrections under scrutiny locally

SARANAC LAKE — North Country Alliance for Public Education member Mark Beatham calls the latest recommendations to fix Common Core like “something out of Orwell,” the science-fiction author.

“This doesn’t address money, implementation timetables or the power shift toward the state and federal (standard) level,” he said via email on Tuesday. 

The Common Core Implementation Panel report, released Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, proposes adjusting how and to whom assessment tests are given, how results are reported, how parents interact with student data-reporting websites and how much time teachers have to retool coursework to fit new Common Core standards.

The recommendations, the panel says, would give schools time to stabilize an orderly transition.


Other North Country reactions to the proposals varied.

At Tupper Lake Central School, Superintendent Seth McGowan was pleased to see a focus retained on education reform.

“I’m glad to hear they’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.

“What they should have done is take the existing standards and embed Common Core questions strategically in testing, so that slowly, over time, the tests would have been transforming with the process. 

“I agree with using the new measures (Common Core). However, these are not just numbers; these are kids.”

Plattsburgh City School Board member Fred Wachtmeister, a former junior/senior high-school teacher at Peru Central School District, suggests New York state is more than capable of handling its own reform process — without federal intrusion.

“Common Core, developed from No Child Left Behind, is an intrusion, as far as I’m concerned.”


The recommendations also look to “halt the state’s relationship with inBloom,” the data-cloud company retained to collect student-specific information that would feed data-mining pools. 

New York spent $50 million of federal education money to contract with the nonprofit company last fall.

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