State delays Common Core plan details
TRI-COUNTY AREA—The New York State Board of Regents announced changes to the implementation of the Common Core standards Monday, Feb. 10. The changes delay full implementation until the year 2022, and include the delay of Common Core-related state assessments on educators and students, reducing the level of local school district testing associated with the new teacher evaluation law and higher standards for teaching and learning.
“Honestly, right now, things seem to be very up in the air at the state level,” Dundee Interim Superintendent Laurie Hopkins-Halbert said. “We are going to continue to proceed in the way we have been proceeding in getting things implemented and going at a pace that makes sense. We will certainly do what we are asked to do by the state. We are already in the process of implementing what needs to be implemented here and making that sort of switch to the Common Core. It’s really not going to change too much on our end other than the assessment piece. Things are really changing at the state level now and we will just kind of wait and see what we are supposed to do here. We will stay the course with what we are doing.”
Halbert said the district does not foresee the delay interrupting their plans and will continue their current plans to implement the students in the way they see best for their students and teachers.
“We haven’t had a lot of time to really look at this yet,” Halbert said. “I don’t see the delay as being necessarily a problem. They have decided to slow things down a bit. They are getting a lot of pressure from outside places, and I understand that. We are always going to do what is best for kids here. If the slow-down is what will help ease the minds of parents, teachers and students here, then that is what we will do. But right now, the Common Core is what we are implementing here. It’s really not going to change that. It’s more about when they are actually going to be assessed on the Common Core. I don’t see it as a huge concern. We would just like it to be at the state level for their minds to be made up so that we have the clear direction.”
Penn Yan Superintendent David Hamilton said he is in favor of the delay due to the additional flexibility it gives a district in implementing the standards.
“The Board of Regents actions to allow more time for students to get up to speed on the common core standards is a welcome adjustment,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t address all of the issues with the regents reform agenda and I hope this is just a first step on their part of respond to the concerns of students, families and educators around the state. This will allow us some additional flexibility, particularly at the high school level, but won’t have any major impact on our curriculum writing and implementation process. We have a strong tradition of developing our own curriculum aligned with the state standards and are intention is to continue our current process.”
Hamilton said he hopes the changes will be positive, but added there are still budget concerns that need to be addressed.
“I’d like to say this will have a major positive impact on the district but I just can’t because, frankly, it doesn’t address the overarching budget issue,” Hamilton said. “The inclusion of recommendations to provide funds for common core implementation strikes me as yet another narrowly targeted suggestion. What we need is the widespread reinstatement of the public school funds. If our budgets are fully restored each district would have the capacity to use those funds for whatever we decide at the local level we need to support our staff and students.”
Hammondsport school Superintendent Kyle Bower said the changes in regards to graduation requirements will "do very little to change what takes place in our school on a day-to-day basis. (...) Although the Regents is ‘delaying’ the group they will hold accountable, students still have to take Common Core aligned assessments in grades three to eight in English language arts and math. To not prepare them as best as possible for those assessments would be unfair to our students."
Bower said Hammondsport needs information on what, if any, flexibility the district has on current high school students' Regents testing. He added, all teacher evaluations are already negotiated on a local level.
"For the state to claim they are ‘increasing flexibility’ is a major overreach on their part," said Bower. "We use ‘local testing’ in situations where we believe it best meets both criteria in our district. This, in conjunction with their one percent cap on testing time, is an example of change in order to say they have made changes. They will do very little to impact what happens in schools on a day to day basis."