Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 10, 2014

State panel recommends pushing back Common Core requirements

BUFFALO — New York education officials on Monday recommended giving students additional time to meet more rigorous graduation requirements and offered a temporary defense for teachers whose jobs may be at risk because of low student test scores.

The class of 2022, not the class of 2017, would be the first group required to pass Common Core-aligned English and math exams at what are considered "college- and career-ready levels" to graduate, under a proposal expected to be approved by the Board of Regents Tuesday.

Current freshmen would still take Common Core Regents exams as they are phased in over the next few years but would be able to pass with a lower score.

The change is one of several proposed in a report delivered Monday by a Regents work group that was tasked with finding ways to improve the way that New York is implementing the new standards.

The K-12 educational benchmarks have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia to improve student readiness for college and careers. But a series of statewide public forums last year underscored high anxiety levels among parents, students and teachers who said the rollout has been rushed and patchy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders have since joined in the criticism and Cuomo last week appointed his own panel to recommend changes.

"Any major shift — especially one involving 700 school districts, more than 4,500 schools and millions of students — is going to require adjustments and course corrections along the way," Education Commissioner John King Jr. said Monday. "The implementation of the higher standards has been uneven, and these changes will help strengthen the important work happening in schools across the state."

Teachers in many districts have said they were not given sufficient materials and guidance to teach to the new standards, and that last spring's Common Core-aligned grade 3-through-8 state assessments forced them to test students on material they had not yet learned, resulting in a dismal passing rate.

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