Common Core changes in NYS

Earlier this month, the New York State Education Department announced they would be reviewing and changing the state tests following a statement of need from teachers’ unions in the state.

The New York State United Teachers told the state the test was too long, too stressful and many students, with their parents permissions, were opting out of taking the tests all together. In fact, the NYSED said in 2014 almost 20 percent of third through eighth grade students in the state opted out of the test-taking.

What is the Common Core?

The Common Core tests were developed in 2009 by 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia, and were made with the goal of creating a set standard of education across the nation. The standards were published and adopted by 42 of the participating states in the summer of 2010, and have since risen to mixed reviews across the board.

The Mixed Reviews

The group Parents for Public Schools released a pro/con chart on the Common Core that pinpointed the biggest issues many have with the standards. In their chart, the group counts a pro  as professional development for teachers becoming the same across the board because they will be teaching for the same standards, but list the expensive implementation of the program as the biggest con for most school districts.

Pauline Hawkins, a former English teacher, and blogger for The Huffington Post, published an article in 2014 that discussed her reasons for exiting the teaching profession. Her resignation letter, which gained her national attention said,

“I am supposed to help them think for themselves, help them find solutions to problems,

help them become productive members of society. Instead, the emphasis on Common

Core Standards and high-stakes testing is creating a teach-to-the-test mentality for our

teachers and stress and anxiety to our students…”

This sentiment has been the biggest criticism of education standards in the country. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development describes the phrase “teaching to the test” as preparing solely for the standardized test instead of including the items of test into the curriculum.

In an editorial from the L.A. Times, a reporter suggests in order for the “teaching to the test” education to end, the Common Core needs to put less of an emphasis on test scores as a measure of success.


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