NEW YORK STATE — Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday opened the door to legislative changes to the implementation of the Common Core standards, which has come under fire for the emphasis on standardized testing in schools.
"It has really raised concerns all across the board. Those are concerns that we are looking at and I think we will be discussing this legislative session," said Gov. Cuomo, D-New York.
Lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly have already indicated they want changes to how the state Education Department and Board of Regents has handled Common Core implementation. Education Commissioner John King is set to appear before a Senate Education Committee hearing next week.
"I don't think I'd say a do or die moment, but let me put it this way. I believe we'll have a full compliment of our members at the committee meeting. It's going to be a real one-on-one opportunity for the members to interact and express their concerns either in conjunction with the ones I've spoken about or raise new ones," said state Sen. John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County.
Still, lawmakers including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have stressed that education policy should be set ultimately by the education department.
"I think it's something that belongs in the purview in the Regents. If there's anything they recommend or think they'll need in order to implement modifications, we'll look at them and be prepared to act," said Assemblyman Silver, D-Assembly Speaker.
Common Core is a set of national education standards designed to boost student results in the classroom. Concerns have been raised, in part, by teachers unions for linking test results to teacher evaluations.
Earlier this month, NYSUT president Dick Iannuzzi said on Capital Tonight that he planned a vote of no confidence among his members for Commissioner King over his handling of the standards.
King says NYSUT is picking the wrong fight.
"It strikes me that the real dispute that he has is with the governor and the Legislature. I know he expressed his disappointment with the State of the State for not backing down on the evaluation law to which we all agreed," King said.
Lawmakers do not disagree that Common Core should be fully implemented, it's just a matter of how quickly to do it. There are growing calls from Republicans and Democrats to re-assess, but also find ways to boost classroom standards.
"I think there is a way to do it that I think the resources are there and is an ability to test and assess a complete product," said state Sen. Andrew Stewart-Cousins, D-Minority Leader.