Assembly Passes Reforms to Common Core

Reduction in testing and protection of student data privacy are top priorities           

Providing our children with a top-notch education is the most important step we can take guaranteeing them a successful future. Unfortunately, the flawed implementation of Common Core has hindered efforts to effectively educate our youth. I have heard from many parents and educators alike who have been burdened by frustration and unneeded stress and anxiety. Responding directly to their concerns, I helped pass legislation that makes reform to the common core implementation and gets it back on track.

As a former educator, I believe that young children and parents should not be unnecessarily burdened with excessive testing. During their formative early education years, students are already faced with the task of adjusting to a structured school environment and developing essential learning skills. They shouldn’t have to take numerous high-stakes tests that cause intense pressure and anxiety. The Assembly’s legislation requires the state education commissioner to reduce the number of field tests administered to students in third to eighth grade. It also calls for an accelerated review of teacher evaluation system plans so unnecessary testing can be eliminated. Further, the reform would prohibit certain standardized testing for pre-kindergarten through second grade. Our children’s education should be focused on gaining knowledge and progress, not solely on testing. Our educators would also be equipped with the necessary tools and materials to adequately teach the Common Core learning standards.

Standardized tests rarely tell the whole story. That’s because these tests don’t necessarily accurately reflect a student’s skills or understanding. Our reforms to the Common Core prohibit the use of test scores from third to eighth grade as the sole or primary factor in determining student promotion or placement decisions. These exam results would also be barred from being included on a student’s permanent record. Our children need a positive learning environment, not unnecessary pressure due to overtesting.

Every student deserves equal attention during their learning experience. The Assembly’s legislation also requires the state education commissioner to evaluate and report on how Common Core is impacting students with disabilities, English language learners and students with limited English proficiency. The commissioner would also have to investigate whether school districts are following the appropriate testing accommodations for students with disabilities. 

Finally, our reform legislation addresses the concern of data sharing and student privacy. I was pleased to see the Governor’s Common Core Implementation Panel’s recommendation that halts the states relationship with the data collection system InBloom. Sensitive student data must be cautiously safeguarded. The Assembly’s legislation calls for a two-year delay in supplying certain third-party vendors with student data. It also gives parents the opportunity to opt out of disclosing students’ information. And in the case of a security breach, the reforms require vendors to have a breach remediation plan prepared and to immediately notify schools or the state Education Department.

We now await action from the New York Senate on this important issue. Our students deserve the best education and I am doing all I can to ensure that happens. If you have any questions on this or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 845-624-4601 or via email at jaffeee@assembly.state.ny.us.


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