HV Assemblymembers Want Common Core-Linked Tests Redeveloped

Oct 23, 2013

Three New York state assemblymembers from the lower Hudson Valley are calling for the new Common Core-linked tests to be scrapped. They say the tests are unfair assessments and costly to school districts. The State Education Department disagrees.

Democratic Assemblymembers Tom Abinanti, David Buchwald, and Amy Paulin, all from Westchester County, penned a letter dated October 21 to the New York State Board of Regents chancellor. Here’s Paulin, from Scarsdale.

She says they began work on the letter before state Education Commissioner John King’s controversial cancellation of Common Core forums after one in Poughkeepsie erupted in anger and frustration. Now, 12 forums are scheduled in school districts across the state, including in Westchester.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative sets standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English Language Arts, or ELA, and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt.

Ken Wagner is deputy commissioner for Curriculum, Assessment and Educational Technology at the New York State Education Department. He says state education officials have been receptive to feedback on the amount of testing at the local level, though the general structure of the assessment tests will remain the same.

The assemblymembers’ letter says the current ELA and math assessments are not valid indicators of college or career readiness, are not improving learning or instruction, and are not a reliable measure of a teacher’s ability. In addition, they say the cost of testing is creating financial hardship on school districts with fewer resources.

Amy Prisco-Ring has two children in the Washingtonville School District in Orange County, a fourth grader and a sixth grader. She sits on the school district’s advocacy committee, which was formed in the spring with the goal of addressing Common Core issues. She applauds the effort by the assemblymembers.

Again, Assemblymember Paulin.

The state education department’s Wagner says the ultimate goal is to prepare kids for college and successful careers.

Prisco-King has a plea to state education officials.

A state education department spokesman says officials will reply to the assemblymembers’ letter.