Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I-Gowanda) Thursday expressed his concerns about the New York State Education Department's implementation of Common Core Learning Standards in New York state, calling it a neglect of state education responsibilities. Giglio said that there are many aspects of the implementation program, including the content of the standards and the sharing of student data about which he has reservations.
"I have heard from many constituents, most of whom are parents of school-aged children, who are rightly concerned that Common Core is having a negative effect on the education of their children," Giglio said. "People are passionate and concerned about the impact that the rushed implementation of this policy will have on their children's education. I believe measures can be taken to ease the concerns that people have about Common Core. It is important that the State of New York gets this right, which certainly means that a modification of the implementation process of the common core standards is in order."
The Common Core State Standards were established in 2009, and have been adopted by a consortium of 46 states and Washington, D.C. The final standards for mathematics, English, and literacy in history, science and technical subjects were formally adopted in New York in 2010. Full implementation began during the 2012-2013 school year.
"I believe it is important that school districts are given the flexibility necessary to provide the best possible education for each student," said Giglio. "Even though it is important that we have standards for curriculum in our education system, a blanket standard does not make sense as student needs and learning abilities vary widely. We must make a better effort to meet the needs of all students."
Giglio noted the concerns many of his constituents have include: the implementation without proper training and professional development of teachers; the potential negative impact on student performance; the reduction of creativity and encouragement of "teaching to the test;" stressful school environment; distaste for a "one size fits all" approach to education; and the considerable costs to school districts and taxpayers.
Giglio said that he and his colleagues in the State Assembly have offered suggestions to delay the implementation of, completely fund the costs of, or eliminate the standards.
"I am a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill A.7994, which would discontinue New York's participation in the Common Core standards," Giglio said. "At the very least, the State Education Department should delay implementation for one year in order to fully evaluate the standards and their impact."
Other recommendations and legislation that have been offered are: to increase both state and federal funding to fully cover the additional expense to school districts; improve curriculum; revoke the power and/or hold the Board of Regents more accountable in imposing unfunded mandates on school districts; and adoption of legislation (Assembly Bill A6594) that would direct the education department to undertake a study of the impacts of the state's assessment program, including the cost of test development and administration, the time students and faculty spend on testing, and the effect test preparation has on the quality of instruction. This legislation would also prohibit the use of certain assessments for anything other than diagnostic purposes.
Giglio said that he will continue to advocate for modifications to the Common Core standards that are currently in place, and he is hopeful that the Governor will call for reform in his upcoming State of the State address.