Cuomo Says New York’s Common Core Program ‘Must Be Fixed’

(AP) -

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will pursue legislation to change the Common Core program in New York, saying Thursday that he agrees with the goal of the learning standards but the implementation “has been deeply flawed.”

“As time has gone on, frankly, I feel that more and more strongly,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany. “It hasn’t gotten better, certainly. If anything it’s gotten worse.”

He said he would seek recommendations in time for his State of the State address in January from a group that includes education experts, teachers, parents, the state’s new Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and lawmakers.

“We have three months. Let them discuss it, let them talk to teachers. Let them come up with a reform package,” he said.

The Common Core standards have been adopted by most states as a way to better prepare students for college and jobs but have faced a variety of criticism. In April, more than 200,000 New York students, about 20 percent, sat out of annual Common Core-aligned math and English tests as parents protested the time spent preparing for and taking the tests, their difficulty and use in teacher evaluations.

“I sympathize with the frustration of the parents,” said Cuomo, who called for “a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core standards, curriculum, guidance and tests.”

Among the complaints about the program were that teachers didn’t have the proper materials or training and that the state rushed to align standardized assessments to the Common Core.

Elia said she has stressed the need to review the state’s learning standards since becoming commissioner earlier this summer and would welcome the commission’s input.

New York State United Teachers Vice President Catalina Fortino said the union has been calling for a review and revision of the standards and tests.

“Without question,” she said, “the concerns of parents and teachers must be addressed.”

But Common Core advocates High Achievement New York said the standards have improved learning.

“Whatever implementation improvements are made as a result of Gov. Cuomo’s commission, New York must keep the Common Core standards and assessments to ensure all our children, no matter where they come from, have an equal chance at a bright future,” the group said in a statement.