East Aurora teacher on Common Core panel blasts state over process - The Buffalo News
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East Aurora teacher on Common Core panel blasts state over process

An East Aurora teacher who serves on the governor’s Common Core advisory panel Tuesday blasted the panel’s recommendations and the process that was used to arrive at them.

“If we’re going to address substantive issues affecting millions of students across New York State, we need to meet for more than 6½ hours,” said Todd J. Hathaway, a history teacher at East Aurora High School.

The 11-member panel has met only twice since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appointed the group Feb. 7, and each time, a number of the members phoned in, rather than meeting in person in Albany. Most of that meeting time consisted of listening to testimony from various experts, he said, leaving the panel only about an hour and a half to discuss issues and recommendations.

A representative of the Governor’s Office emailed a draft of proposed recommendations to the panel members at 7 p.m. Sunday, asking them to offer feedback by noon the next day.

“You don’t give somebody that limited of an amount of time to digest, review and comment,” Hathaway said Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, New York State United Teachers issued a news release outlining his criticisms.

The panel released a 13-page report of initial recommendations to Cuomo at about 7 p.m. Monday. It is not clear if or when the panel will meet again or will release a final report. Panel members have never been given a timeline, Hathaway said.

The recommendations included banning standardized tests for children in prekindergarten through second grade; limiting the amount of time that can be spent on testing and test preparation; and severing the state’s relationship with inBloom, the group that has been retained to handle student data.

Beyond his complaints about the process, Hathaway said he asked that the panel discuss the state English language arts and math tests given to students in third through eighth grade. But the group did not discuss them at any length, he said.

“The governor acknowledges those tests are flawed,” Hathaway said. “How can he then use flawed test scores for teacher evaluations? Those teacher evaluations are going to be flawed. They’re inaccurate. What are we doing here?”

A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment.

email: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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