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Governor disputes notion he backed off education reform

Education reformers considered Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s support of a report deeming state tests unreliable and calling for a delay to teacher evaluations as a step backward for improving New York’s school system.

Cuomo, however, deflected the idea that decisions made in response to the Common Core task force report indicated a departure from his reform agenda.

Rather, he said Thursday, the state responded to the concerns of parents, who last year opted their children out of standardized tests in record numbers.

During a meeting with The Buffalo News editorial board, he also downplayed the notion that his acceptance of the report had anything to do with the influential New York State United Teachers, noting he has clashed with the group “since I was born.”

“There was no backwards step taken,” Cuomo said of his reform efforts. “Those are parents who are telling their children not to take the test, We’re not talking about the teachers union here. This is about parents losing faith in the education system.”

Still, Cuomo said the state did a poor job educating parents about the Common Core, the changes to the state tests and what the new results mean. That lack of communication ultimately drove negative public opinion about the state’s shift to the new standards.

“It’s worth taking the time to go back and review what we did,” he said.