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NYSSBA Report: New Education Standards Mirror Common Core Standards They’re Replacing


New learning standards being crafted for New York are likely to be similar to the Common Core standards they will replace, according to a new research report from the New York State School Boards Association.

Common Core has been heavily criticized by many parents and educators, who say it puts undue stress on children — and teachers —    by emphasizing competitive test scores over the well-being and individual learning needs of students. 

Three states have come up with their own standards in English and math to use in place of Common Core standards.

"Replacing the Common Core: New name, same standards?" examines what happened as a result.

David Albert is director of communications for the New York State School Boards Association.   "What we found by and large is that particularly in Indiana and South Carolina, the standards that replaced Common Core were very similar to Common Core. They were a bit different in Oklahoma, but not completely different. It's not a case of revolution, but more evolution. And so we found that a bit surprising, but I think at the end of the day it proves that the process is every bit as the final learning standards. And many of these states they're similar to New York, they may have not had enough opportunity for public input so they went through a more extensive review process, particularly in Oklahoma, and modified the standards to some degree, and it gave people more confidence and more of a comfort level with the standards having gone through a more extensive review."
So if a new set of learning standards is so similar to the unpopular Common Core, what's the point? "We want students to be college and career ready. And so, if you look at what colleges expect and what employers respect, it's probably not too dissimilar with what's expected in Common Core. So there probably wasn't a lot of wiggle room so to speak there.  And what defines college and career ready in one state is probably very similar to what would define college and career readiness in another state. The other component of this is that the SAT and ACT exams, which are college obviously entrance exams, are aligned to Common Core standards. And so if students really do want to score well on those exams and get into the college of their choice, then chances are they're going to have to know or be familiar with the kinds of material that Common Core expects them to be familiar with."

Jonathan Burman, spokesman for the NYS Education Department, responded to a request for comment via email: 

“This past fall, the Department conducted a survey of NY’s current learning standards. We received nearly a quarter of a million pieces of feedback from over 10,000 respondents. More than 70 percent of the feedback was in support of the standards. But our survey’s findings also indicate that adjustments are necessary – particularly in the early grades – to ensure the standards make sense for our students and teachers. So we’ve established two review committees – one for English language arts and one for math –  to suggest modifications to the current standards. The review committees are made up of teachers, administrators, parents, business leaders, and other key stakeholders – and they will help us develop New York’s new and improved learning standards. Our goal is to have the updated standards ready for public comment by the end of the summer, and eventually to have new standards in place a year later. It’s simply too early to anticipate what changes will be made to the standards, but we expect they will continue to challenge our students to do more.”

In November, the New York Board of Regents is expected to act on a revised set of learning standards that would allow curriculum modifications to begin in January 2017 and enable initial use of the new standards in the fall of 2017.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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