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Phillips: Curriculum delay is ‘not clear’   ADVERTISEMENT

Phillips: Curriculum delay is ‘not clear’

SCHUYLER COUNTY—The Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school superintendents agree with the state delaying future implementation of the Common Core education standards, but concerns and questions remain. The New York State Education Department announced last Monday, Feb. 10, that part of the Common Core implementation will be delayed. Under the changes, the requirement to pass Common Core-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. The state added other changes include:
• Increasing flexibility for districts to reduce local testing used to inform teacher evaluation.
• Creating an expedited review process for districts that propose to amend their teacher evaluation plans to reduce local testing.
• Eliminating local traditional standardized tests for kindergarten to grade two used to inform teacher evaluations.
The Watkins and Odessa-Montour superintendents have criticized the implementation of the Common Core standards in the past, while at the same time saying changes are needed. Watkins Glen Superintendent Tom Phillips said, “I fully support the reform effort. It’s this start and stop implementation at the state level that creates havoc for local school districts.”
“I think the delay is not a bad thing. It just goes to show the disconnect between Albany and the field,” he said, adding of the overall implementation, “I’ve never seen such a disastrous implementation plan of any reform in my 30 years in education.”
“I think that the delay is a good decision as we need more time to model curriculum to meet the new standards,” said Odessa Superintendent Jim Frame. “At Odessa-Montour we have studied and compared our current curriculum to the state modules. Teachers have done a very thorough and professional comparison to ensure that we are providing our students with the best preparation.”
Phillips said his problem with the implementation delay is the uncertainty it creates. He explained he doesn’t know if Watkins will have to use two curriculums: one for the students who will graduate starting in 2022 (with the higher standards) and another curriculum for the students graduating prior to that year. Both sets of students will be in school at the same time until 2021.
“It’s not clear on that,” said Phillips.
He added he is uncertain how much increased flexibility the district has in teacher evaluations. Phillips explained the announced change is unclear how it fits in with the existing Annual Professional Performance Review law about teacher evaluations: 60 percent from local observations, 20 percent on student growth, and 20 percent on tests.
Frame said Odessa will continue to monitor information from the state education department, but explained they are “steadfast in maintaining local control. Our teachers are effective in their evaluations, I am more focused on our students understanding and succeeding at curriculum and assessment that is fair, thoughtful, and appropriate.”




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