State Unlinks Scores From Teacher Evals

By Andrew Wroblewski

  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

The state Board of Regents has placed a moratorium on the use of scores on state-mandated examinations in teacher and principal evaluations. The move was cited as a direct response to a report issued last week by the New York Common Core Task Force, assembled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which recommends a massive overhaul of the state’s Common Core Standards.

During a meeting in Albany on Monday, the state Board of Regents’ P-12 education committee voted to approve preliminary action that would place a moratorium on the use of test scores in teacher evaluations from the 2015-2016 through 2018-2019 school years. The committee is made up of all the members of the board, except board Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

The board then passed the amendment during its Tuesday meeting.

The New York State United Teachers union, in a statement posted to its website, said the board’s action is an “initial step” towards implementation of the New York Common Core Task Force’s recommendations.

The task force was assembled by Cuomo in September to review the status and use of the Common Core standards in New York.

The task force made 21 recommendations for developing and implementing a new education system, including reducing the number days and the duration of standardized tests; implementing a process to gather student feedback on new tests; and creating “ongoing” professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.

Cuomo met the recommendation positively in a statement issued by his office.

“The Common Core was supposed to ensure all of our children had the education they needed to be college and career-ready – but it actually caused confusion and anxiety,” he said. “That ends now. Today, we will begin to transform our system into one that empowers parents, teachers and local districts and ensures high standards for all students.”

Locally, superintendents around town expressed approval of the recent developments.

Commack Superintendent of Schools Donald James, a vocal critic of Common Core Standards, said in an emailed statement that “the outcry from parents, teachers, and administrators and the undue stress placed on students seems to have been heard and acted upon at the national level.

“Now we must continue our efforts at the state level so that the Board of Regents, our elected officials, and the governor modify state requirements that are no longer federally mandated,” he added.

Elsewhere, Cold Spring Harbor Superintendent Judith Wilansky; Huntington Superintendent James Polansky; and Northport Superintendent Robert Banzer all voiced similar approval of the task force’s recommendation.