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December 10, 2016
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Bonacic joins call for Common Core delay

New York State Sen. John Bonacic
Contributed photo

ALBANY, NY — Sen. John Bonacic has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for a delay in the implementation of Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), which have been adopted by New York and 44 other states. The goal of CCLS is to bring standards up among students and teachers, and to ensure that all students are as prepared as possible for college or the workforce. But parents and educators across the state are complaining that the implementation has been rushed, teachers have been inadequately prepared, and the CCLS has lead to an unsustainable amount of testing.

In a statement released on February 4, Bonacic said, “Parents, teachers, administrators and educational professionals in my district, and throughout New York State, have raised grave concerns over the flawed roll-out of the Common Core Learning Standards.

“Unless the Board of Regents acts to alleviate these concerns, they must delay the use of Common Core tests for high-stakes decisions about teachers, principals and students for a minimum of two years. During this time, the state education department should continue to develop curricula aligned with higher standards and assist local school districts in developing their own curricula, so teachers can successfully implement higher learning standards and help students reach their maximum potential.”

There is mounting evidence that the CCLS has become one of the greatest concerns regarding education in the Empire State. In a survey published by the New York State Parent Teacher Association (PTA), members were asked what is the greatest challenge to the quality of their children’s education, and 46% of them answered that challenge was testing and preparing for those tests, while 20% answered CCLS itself was the greatest challenge.

Further, 44% opposed CCLS because of the amount of student testing involved, while another 22% opposed it for other reasons. Thirty-four percent supported CCLS. While the PTA said it has some concerns about the implementation of CCLS, it still supports the program.

The state’s largest teaching union, New York State Union of Teachers (NYSUT), has withdrawn support for the program. On February 6, the board of NYSUT voted to endorse a three-year moratorium on the part of the program that tests and rates student and teacher performance.

The board also unanimously passed a “resolution declaring ‘no confidence’ in the policies of State Education Commissioner John King Jr. and calling for his removal by the Board of Regents,” which was directly related to the “failed implementation of CCLS” and the failure to address the problems.

Bonacic is calling for various changes in current CCLS practice, such as the elimination of testing for students in Kindergarten through second grade, and addressing other problems such as teachers not getting teaching materials in time to use them properly, and also not receiving test results for up to a year after the test has been taken.

The Board of Regents on February 10 proposed some changes in the CCLS. According to a press release from the board, one change is that “the requirement to pass CCLS-based Regents exams at the college and career-ready level will be extended. The class of 2022 will be the first to face the new higher graduation requirements, 12 years after the adoption of the standards in 2010.” Current legislation proposes that standards kick in with the class of 2017.