State Legislators Call to Delay Decisions Based on Common Core Tests

February 5, 2014 Updated: October 8, 2018

NEW YORK—Leaders of the state’s Senate and Assembly called on the board of regents Tuesday to delay decisions based on Common Core tests by at least two years.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Senate co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeffrey Klein said that though the implementation of the Common Core standards “may have been well intended, it has been poorly executed.”

“Unless the Board of Regents acts to alleviate the concerns of parents, teachers and other educators,” the legislators wrote “we call on the Regents to delay the use of Common Core tests for high-stakes decisions about teachers, principals and students for a minimum of two years.”

A similar statement was issued by state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Cathy Nolan, the chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

New York state adopted the Common Core Standards in 2009 to meet requirements for funding from a federal program, Race to the Top. As a result, the state received $700 million in federal funds over the past four years.

Common Core tests were first issued in 2012. However, some schools still report shortages of textbooks and other teaching materials aligned to the standards. Meanwhile, some districts report having trouble coming up with resources to develop new curricula.

Since 2013, the test results constituted up to 40 percent of teacher and principal evaluations. After failing to meet a state-defined standard two years in a row, teachers and principals can lose their jobs.

The practice of evaluating teachers has drawn criticism, most notably from the city’s teachers’ union. The United Federation of Teachers wants the state to delay the use of Common Core test scores in evaluations by three years to give teachers time to adjust.

The Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and the state’s Education Commissioner John King Jr. responded by saying that a regents work group has been reviewing the implementation of the Common Core. The group’s recommendations are due next week.

Elementary and middle school students can be promoted to the next grade without passing the Common Core tests. Starting this year, high school students won’t graduate without passing the new Common Core-aligned regents exam. But until 2017 students still have an option to take both the old regents exam and the new Common Core exam and choose the better score.

Even though King and Tisch support test-based evaluations, they have no authority over them and legislators can still issue a moratorium. But the moratorium would have to be approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is proponent of the practice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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