After the past year’s troubled rollout of Common Core standards and tests, parents and legislative leaders spoke out against the New York State Education Department’s rush to impose and test standards that neither students nor teachers were prepared for. On the botched tests, passing rates fell to only 30% across the state. Only 3% of English learners passed the test, along with 5% of students with disabilities and less than 20% of African American and Hispanic students. In response to the fiasco, parents turned out by the thousands at public hearings, and legislators called for a moratorium of at least two years on the testing.

To date, the state Board of Regents has shown no willingness to review the developmental appropriateness of the standards, and Commissioner King has been insistent that no meaningful changes are likely.

Governor Cuomo entered the fray by appointing a panel to review the controversy, but parent advocates say the panel is stacked with known proponents of Common Core, who are unable to conduct an independent review.

Here is their press release, just issued:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 9, 2014

More information contact:

Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com

Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com

NYS Allies for Public Education http://www.nysape.org

New Yorkers Outraged by Governor’s Flawed Common Core Panel

The leaders of the NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of more than 45 parent and educator groups from throughout the state, expressed their outrage at Governor Cuomo’s choice of appointees to his Common Core Panel.

As Lisa Rudley, Ossining public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE said, “As a parent I am offended that the Governor’s Panel is stacked with known supporters of the Common Core, eliminating the chance for an objective evaluation. The chair, Stanley Litow, Vice President of IBM, has already written an Op-ed saying full speed ahead with its implementation. Dr. Charles Russo is one of the very few Superintendents in the state to publicly support the standards, including the flawed NYSED modules known to be rife with errors and questionable content.”

As Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters pointed out, “Several members selected by the Governor belong to organizations that are heavily dependent on funding from the Gates Foundation, which has spent more than $170 million on developing and promoting the Common Core. These include Dan Weisberg of The New Teacher Project, which has received $23 million from the Gates Foundation, including $7 million in the last year alone. Nick Lawrence is a prominent member of Educators for Excellence, which received more than $3 million from the Gates Foundation in 2013. This evident conflict of interest undermines their credibility not only concerning the Common Core, but also the highly controversial issue of whether the state should go ahead with sharing personal student data with inBloom Inc., a corporation established by the Gates Foundation with $100 million.”

“Parents are tired of having education policy in this state hijacked by deep-pocketed billionaires who do not send their own children to public school and would never consider having their education stifled by a rigid regime of instructional text, scripted modules, test prep, and their personal data provided to for-profit companies without their consent,” said Eric Mihelbergel, Ken-Ton public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

Bianca Tanis a New Paltz public school parent and special education teacher noted, “Experts in special education, early childhood development and elementary school teachers have all noted that the Common Core standards are developmentally inappropriate, were created without their input and need significant reform. And yet not a single individual from any of these groups was selected for the Panel, ensuring that their recommendations will be profoundly deficient.”

“I am astounded that the governor would fail to include any teachers of younger students and those with special needs, especially since many of the criticisms and concerns surround the issue whether the standards are appropriately designed for these children,” pointed out Lori Griffin, a Copenhagen public school parent and educator.

“The Governor argues that no decision should be made on the Common Core until this Panel has come up with its recommendations. The fact that this Panel is so heavily stacked only reinforces our conviction that there is no reason to wait for the Panel’s conclusions. The Common Core standards must be immediately pulled back and revised, with input from educators and parents, the over-testing must come to a halt, the teacher evaluation system scrapped, and the contract with inBloom cancelled,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Bellmore public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt-Out.

Jessica McNair, New Hartford public school parent concluded, “Our children are suffering and cannot wait. If Commissioner King does not immediately stop the runaway train, call a halt to the standards and the testing, and withdraw his agreement with inBloom, the Legislature must act in his place.”

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