New York education leaders changed and renamed the Common Core learning standards in response to criticism over the way they were written and implemented.
A Board of Regents committee on Monday approved the reworked Next Generation Learning Standards for English and math, with plans to fully implement them with the start of the 2020-21 school year. Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says that will give teachers and students time to adjust before the standards become the basis for statewide testing.
The new standard places an emphasis on play and curiosity among young students, age-appropriate education, and flexibility when it comes to measuring students of different abilities and languages.
The state was criticized for the rapid way it adopted Common Core-based assessments in an effort to become eligible for federal funding. Parents also felt that the standards were not age-appropriate and were too rigid. It led to widespread boycotts of the annual tests given to third- through eighth-graders.
“When you are in a class with very young children and every one of them is unique — maybe they speak different languages or come with different abilities or have different situations at home — all of those things put pressure on teachers when they look at what they need to do in the classroom to make it really responsive to the whole child,” said state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “And I would venture to guess that nobody thought ‘whole child’ when they looked at the Common Core.”
The standards, first adopted in 2011, outline the skills students should have at each grade level.