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No budget deal yet, but education issues remain the focus

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Albany/HV: No budget deal yet, but education issues remain the focus
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STATEWIDE -- As another round of testing approaches for New York students in April, state lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo are discussing a potential moratorium for Common Core provisions.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "We're talking about it. We're talking about doing something so that the testing that takes place in April will be less dramatic, less traumatic to the students."

Lawmakers did not reach an agreement on the state budget on Wednesday, but expect a deal at some point later this week. However, major issues are closer to being resolved, including what to do about the much-maligned Common Core standards.

Rank-and-file lawmakers who have criticized the roll out are hopeful some changes can be made.

Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, "I think as much as we can do to settle down the classrooms, settle down the students, the families, the teachers, would be really important and helpful."

The state's teacher evaluation law is not expected to be impacted because Cuomo wants to leave it as it is. However, the expectation is that a budget agreement could alter how student data is collected by strengthening privacy protections, as well as enhance teacher training.

There is a robust discussion going on on these issues and that's good," said John Flanagan, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

By a wide margin, the Assembly approved a measure that would delay some aspects of Common Core when it comes to teacher evaluations and student assessment. But, the billl was not taken up by the Senate.

"If the final budget does what the Assembly did, that would be good. If it does something less, that looks like it may be just for show," said Bill Easton, the executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education.

A report from Cuomo's office recommended a reduced emphasis on standardized tests, as well as better training for teachers.

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