Some students will not have to take the tests from the controversial Common Core standards, after complaints from parents, faculty and elected officials caused the state to accept the testing delay.
“Some of the complaints have been that the tests came up too fast and that students won’t be able to understand what they’re being tested on,” said Chris Brown, superintendent of West Genesee School District. His district will continue the Common Core tests as part of the district’s plan to evaluate its teachers, he said.
Other concerns about the Common Core testing include:
- Too many tests put in place too soon
- Teachers not prepared to teach to the new tests
- Curriculum not fully developed
Because of these complaints, the state Department of Education will delay requiring all schools to use the Common Core tests until the class of 2022 to give more time to prepare both students and teachers.
Among the parents who’ve protested the Common Core standards and tests is Heather Ryder of Syracuse. Ryder has spoken out at school board meetings, telling the Syracuse City School District not to include her children in the testing. Her complaint is that the Common Core has created problems for both her sons. Her 14-year-old son, Nikolas, will have to take both a Regents math test and a Common Core math test at the end of this school year, she said. And she is so frustrated with the Syracuse City School system teaching to the tests, she said, that she pulled her 7-year-old son Devin out of school to home-school him instead.
“My son was bored in class,” said Ryder, in an email interview. “He told me this every day, but nothing could be done as teachers have a ‘module’ to keep.”
Ryder and other parents plan a forum about the Common Core and its testing for March. The parents hope to have Carol Mikoda, a candidate for the New York Board of Regents, as a guest speaker. Mikoda is one of 22 candidates for four spots on the Board of Regents and is running on an anti-Common Core platform.
Among supporters of the Common Core’s standards is Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But he said in his 2014-2015 budget proposal that the roll-out of the Common Core was flawed. Cuomo has said he plans on putting together a panel of both educators and legislators to find solutions to the complaints.
Another supporter is Chris Brown, superintendent of West Genesee schools. Students in that district will have the choice of taking the traditional regents and the Common Core tests, he said.
Students won’t be taking any additional tests, Brown said, but the tests will be more rigorous. These tests are being used to evaluate teachers’ performance in the classroom, though Brown said he wishes those evaluations could be delayed for another year or two. So far, the teachers at West Genesee have been preforming well based on how their students are doing on the Regents’ Exams, Brown said.
(Caroline Strange is a junior with dual majors in broadcast and digital journalism and anthropology with a minor in political science.)