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Common Core Changes on the Way?

By Jason Weinstein.
More changes could be on the way to how New York is implementing the controversial Common Core curriculum. Governor Cuomo says he will announce changes recommended by a new Commission at the State of the State Address in January.

"Honestly I'm not looking forward to any changes at this point. We're just starting to get an understanding and a comfort with the direction the Common Core is heading," said Maine-Endwell School District Superintendent Jason Van Fossen.

The problem, says Van Fossen and others, isn't the curriculum

"Ask teachers who have implemented Common Core with fidelity and you're going to see students who have definitely made significant gains in learning," said Van Fossen.

"What I see in classrooms is students performing at incredibly high levels. They're able to do things that we've never asked them to do before and they're doing it incredibly well," said Windsor Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jason A. Andrews.

They say the problem lies in how Common Core test results are linked to teacher and school evaluations, and state aid.

"If you stop putting people's livelihoods in front of a new curriculum and new assessment system I believe it would take a lot of the politicalness out of it," said Van Fossen.

"When that happens I think a lot of the pressure that teachers, parents, and students are feeling as a result of the high-stakes nature of those assessments would change," said Andrews.

Van Fossen says with 200,000 opt-outs from the latest round of state Common Core tests, there is pressure on Albany to do something. But the prospect of changes in the future is causing uncertainty today.

"School is not going to wait for the Governor or his commission to make a decision. So that's already causing some practical concerns in the classroom. I would encourage schools to continue to march forward," said Broome-Tioga BOCES District Superintendent Allen Buyck.

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