NEW YORK STATE — As students across the state take a new round of Common Core tests, the $138 billion budget passed this week slowed the roll out of the new standards and delayed its impact on student assessment.
"I think we're making changes that make sense and help our schools implement the new standards in a more timely, efficient way," said state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg.
In addition to delaying the impact on individual students, lawmakers also approved new protections for student privacy as well as provisions designed to enhance teacher training, but Governor Andrew Cuomo this week said more is needed and is turning his attention to the state's teacher evaluation law.
"If you said Common Core testing was premature for students and you halted the grades on the transcript, then what is your opinion about the impact of Common Core testing on teacher evaluations and what should be done? That is an issue we haven't addressed and need to address before the end of session," said Gov. Cuomo, D-New York.
This is a change from February, when Cuomo warned the Board of Regents at the Department of Education against proposing any changes to a 2013 law laying down new criteria for how teachers are assessed in the classroom.
But for state lawmakers, now that students aren't bound by Common Core, making alterations to the law is only fair.
"If the students aren't being held to the high stakes, now it's a little hard to then penalize a teacher for it," said Assemblyman Pat Fahy, D-Albany.
Meanwhile Cuomo's Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, says the state should scrap the standards as they are now and allow local school districts to control their curriculum. Astorino announced he would allow his own children to opt out of the tests.
"We should be looking at that, and making sure local control and curriculum is on the local level," said County Executive Astorino, R-Westchester County.