Last week, the state teachers union and Assembly Republicans dealt a one-two punch to the besieged Common Core curriculum, criticizing its implementation and state officials for lack of response to concerns of parents and educators.
NYSUT’s Jan. 25 statement reversing the union’s support for the curriculum called the rollout a “failure” and issued a no-confidence vote in state Education Commissioner John King, Jr. With its 600,000 members, the union’s resolution made national headlines, adding to the sense that opposition to the new curriculum is moving beyond a minority of concerned parents and activists.
Saugerties Superintendent Seth Turner was not surprised by the growing opposition to Common Core.
“You can’t use top-down management strategies and expect things will be effective,” he said.
He said educators weren’t given sufficient time to implement the new curriculum before students were tested on it. “You have to give people the opportunity to learn what is expected,” he said.
Assemblyman Pete Lopez said opposition to the curriculum is widespread, with no particular interest group leading the revolt.
“The rollout of the Common Core has been very damaging to our schools across New York State,” he said.
He sums up the curriculum’s problem as: “Too much, too soon, too much top-down.”
Proposals by the groups cite the rushed rollout and ask for more time. Among the recommendations offered:
- A three-year moratorium on the consequences of high-stakes testing for students and teacher assessments (NYSUT)
- State must complete all lesson plans and give educators time to review them (NYSUT)
- Better engagement with parents (NYSUT)
- Provide additional tools and resources for teaching special education and ESL students (NYSUT)
- Restore state aid to 2009-10 levels (NYSUT and Republicans)
- Stop “rushed implementation of Common Core standards,” including reducing the “over-reliance on student testing” (Republicans)
- Requiring parental consent to any disclosure of student information to a third party (e.g. test companies) (Republicans)
- Reasserting that an IEP is the supreme document for the education of a child with special needs (Republicans)
NYSUT is asking the state to take immediate action.
“The clock is ticking and time is running out,” said Vice President Maria Neira. “Students sit for a new battery of state assessments in just a few months. It’s time to hit the ‘pause button’ on high stakes while, at the same time, increasing support for students, parents and educators. A moratorium on high-stakes consequences would give SED and school districts time to make the necessary adjustments.”
Saugerties Teachers Association President Robert Slate could not be reached for this article.