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Cuomo seeks recommendations on fixing Common Core

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants an education subcommittee to make recommendations on how to improve the implementation of the Common Core learning standards, which have been subject to increasing scrutiny and criticism statewide.

Common Core, initially adopted by 44 states, is designed to raise the bar for students learning in English and math from elementary through high school. But states have suffered backlash as these standards have been rolled out, become the basis of standardized testing and affected teacher evaluations.

Cuomo has added his voice to those criticizing New York’s rollout of the standards.

“I have said repeatedly my position is that while I agree with the goal of Common Core standards, I believe the implementation by the state Education Department has been deeply flawed,” Cuomo said in a lengthy statement released Thursday. “The more time goes on, the more I am convinced of this position.”

In response to 20 percent of students across the state choosing not to take state assessments this past school year, Cuomo appears ready to tackle concerns head-on in an attempt to restore parents’ faith in Common Core.

“The fact is that the current Common Core program in New York is not working, and must be fixed,” he said. “To that end, the time has come for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core standards, curriculum, guidance and tests in order to address local concerns. I am taking this action not because I don’t believe in standards, but because I do.

“In the past, I employed an education commission to make substantive, unbiased recommendations on reforms to our education system. It has worked very well. I will ask a representative group from that commission, including education experts, teachers, parents, the commissioner of education and legislative representatives, to review the issues raised above and provide recommendations in time for my State of the State Address in January.”

In response to Cuomo’s statement, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said that she has traveled the state and heard concerns from parents, educators and school superintendents.

“At every one of those meetings, I have stressed the need for high standards for all students,” she said. “I have also stressed the need to review the state’s learning standards – not only because the law requires me to undertake such a review, but also because it’s the right thing to do for our students. I look forward to receiving input from the governor’s education commission as we continue this critical review of our learning standards.”