Regents pushing back Common Core-based diplomas until 2022

Education commissioner John King and state Board of Regents Meryl Tisch at a Common Core forum in November. (Carrie Miller file photo)
NYS education commissioner John King and state Board of Regents Meryl Tisch at a Common Core forum in November. (Carrie Miller file photo)

The appointed body that crafts public education polices for schools in New York State announced Monday it will be delaying tougher, Common Core-aligned high school graduation requirements by five years.

That would make the Class of 2022, not 2017 as-planned, the first in the state to have graduated having under the Common Core State Standards, designed to measure whether public education students are, to borrow a state education department phrase, “college and career ready.”

Education commissioner John King and Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch told reporters in a conference call from Albany that a working group recommended the graduation requirements delay, among other tweaks, in reaction to concerns pouring in across the state from parents, teachers, students and lawmakers over how implementation of the Common Core is being executed statewide.

According to Mr. King, current high school students will still be able to graduate having passed all Regents exams by a score of 65 or better. Come 2022, however, students will need to pass the English language arts exams with a 75 and at least an 80 in math, he said.

Mr. King has been heavily criticized by school officials for pushing the new mandates before they believed districts were ready for them.

While many educators embraced Common Core when it was first introduced, they’ve since demanded that the state hold off on implementing the new student assessments based on the newly mandated standards and teacher evaluation plan until the rigorous curriculum is properly implemented inside the classroom.

Many parents and educators have also protested an agreement the state has made with inBloom, Inc. to store student data because they fear personal records could be compromised.

The Common Core tweaks would also include some changes to testing and arguments teachers deemed “unaffective” could make, should a district move to fire them. That last change involves allowing teachers to claim their district did not adequately prepare them for Common Core, thus, their low evaluation marks.

Meanwhile, several state elected leaders, including Senators John Flanagan and Ken LaValle, have continued to call on not just a delay, but a moratorium on implementing Common Core until larger issues can get figured out.

At the Longwood Regional Legislative Breakfast panel on Saturday, Assemblyman Al Graf (R-Holbrook) said he disagreed with the state’s new direction with education.

“If I wanted to destroy education, this is how I would do it,” he said about the Common Core rollout.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement shortly after the Regents’ report was released and described its recommendations as “too little, too late” and “another in a series of missteps … that suggests the time has come to seriously re-examine [the Regents’] capacity and performance.”

“As far as today’s recommendations are concerned, there is a difference between remedying the system for students and parents and using this situation as yet another excuse to stop the teacher evaluation process,” he said Monday. “The Regents’ response is to recommend delaying the teacher evaluation system and is yet another in a long series of roadblocks to a much needed evaluation system which the Regents had stalled putting in place for years. “

The governor on Friday announced the formation of a separate panel to review the rollout of the standards within the state.

The Common Core Implementation Panel, which he first proposed during his State of the State address last month, includes both national experts as well as state legislators, parents, educators, and business and community leaders.

The governor has said he expects the to come up with a list of recommendations to correct the Common Core rollout by the end of this legislative session in June.

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