The Examiner

Local State Lawmakers Call for Moratorium on Common Core Implementation

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Assemblyman David Buchwald is one of a growing number of state legislators calling for a delay on implementing the Common Core.
Assemblyman David Buchwald is one of a growing number of state legislators calling for a delay on implementing the Common Core.

By Janine Bowen

Local legislators appear to finally be listening to concerned parents and teachers when it comes to problems plaguing the Common Core standards.

On Tuesday, legislators across the state in both parties requested a two-year delay in using Common Core testing to evaluate students and teachers. Several Westchester legislators are among those who support the delay.

“I join my colleagues in the State Assembly in taking a strong stance to improve the implementation of Common Core,” Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains) said in a Feb. 4 statement. “Parents, teachers, administrators and educational professionals have spoken – we need more time to implement the Common Core in a thoughtful and successful manner for our kids in Westchester and throughout the state who have been subject to onerous testing and unnecessary burdens.”

“The minimum two-year delay of Common Core implementation will allow everyone to be heard. As always, my focus is, and will continue to be, our children’s education so that they learn at their highest potential,” Buchwald added.

State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) is currently pushing a bill that calls for a three-year moratorium on the implementation of the standards. Ball, who will host a Common Core workshop with the Lakeland PTA on Tuesday night, has referred to the mandate as an “uncommon disaster.”

“My office has been inundated with phone calls, emails, letters and faxes from parents, teachers, students and community members that are very concerned with this new program,” said Ball. “We must be committed to providing our students with the best possible education available. However, education is not about teaching to the test and it should never become a one-size-fits-all endeavor, sinking to the lowest common denominator.”

In a recent interview with The White Plains Examiner, state Sen. George Latimer (D-Rye) also called for a moratorium, stating that districts and parents should have been consulted during the early stages of implementation.

Officials from two local school districts were thrilled that legislators are finally taking notice.

“We are delighted to hear this,” said Pleasantville Superintendent of Schools Mary Fox-Alter. “My expectation is that during the moratorium [they] go back and align education with an appropriate and competent implementation model for parents and kids.”

Chappaqua Board of Education Trustee Victoria Tipp, who last month encouraged that district to take part in a letter writing campaign against the Common Core, shared similar hopes.

”Communities across the state have been galvanized by the rushed implementation of the Common Core without meaningful feedback from local school districts or adequate study and field testing commonly undertaken before a reform effort,” Tipp said. “The delay in the Common Core is an opportunity for all segments of the educational community to work together toward the common goal of improving all schools and providing equal access to high quality educational programs to all students.”

Both Fox-Alter and Tipp would like to see educators brought in to help reform the program. They also hope that the state puts an end to the sharing of student data with third parties without gaining consent from students or parents.

Tipp said she was hopeful that the current testing and teacher assessment models will be suspended until the validity of the tests are examined. Fox-Alter said she hopes the state releases the tests in advance in “the spirit of complete transparency.”

Tipp also noted that the state needs to recognize that there are several causes of school underperformance, including poverty and limited financial resources available to comply with mandates, which cannot be remedied through programs like the Common Core.

In response to the recent opposition, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office released a statement acknowledging that it is aware of the issues surrounding the Common Core.

“The Governor believes that the way that Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed, leading to too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety among students and their parents. The strength of public education in New York is dependent on a rational system that is well administered,” Cuomo’s Communications Director Melissa DeRosa said in a statement.

However, Cuomo has maintained that it is premature to consider a moratorium. He recently announced that a panel of education experts and legislators will be assembled to correct flaws in the rollout of the Common Core. No decision will be made regarding a moratorium until the panel has completed its work.



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