The Empire State’s Affirmation of Common Core

On Tuesday December 15, 2015, Karen Nussle, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success issued the following statement on New York’s Task Force recommendations to revise the state’s Common Core State Standards:

New York this past week became the latest in a long line of states to embark on a process to revise and ultimately rename the Common Core State Standards. Just as scores of other states have done, New York will maintain the high quality and rigor that have distinguished the new standards from previous K-12 standards. In reporting on this development, many journalists – particularly those who regularly cover educational policy – have correctly framed this overhaul as a move consistent with the original intent of the reform.

But not every media outlet has done this. Some have erroneously categorized New York’s announcement as a “retreat,” a “backtrack,” and a “slow sink away from Common Core.” While those descriptions may make for a convenient reporting line, they do not accurately reflect the final recommendations made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s task force, a 15-member panel tasked this past September with reviewing the learning standards.

After conducting two public panels and nine public hearings, and after taking in more than 2000 comments from students, parents and educators, the task force made the following recommendations pertaining to Common Core State Standards:

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“First and foremost, the Task Force unanimously affirms the importance of adopting and maintaining high educational standards and rigorous performance measures to increase the competitive standing of, and therefore the opportunities for, all our students.”

“The Common Core Standards must be revisited to reflect the particular needs and priorities of State and local school districts and, building upon the foundation established by the Common Core Standards, high quality New York State Standards must be developed where necessary to meet the needs of our kids.” [emphasis added]

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“These standards should be educator-driven and incorporate New York’s commitment to rigorous expectations for all students yet maintain the key instructional shifts set forth in the Common Core Standards. [emphasis added]

Common Core State Standards have endured more than three intense years of political and legislative assault by activists, and in that time, they have proven their resiliency. They have been reviewed, litigated and re-litigated in nearly every state in the Union. They aren’t perfect, so just as was originally intended by the Governors and state superintendents, states are taking the “model” standards and making them their own, by making changes and improvements.

In Arizona, a review of Common Core resulted in a name change and little else. In early 2014, Florida adopted nearly 100 changes to Common Core, without fundamentally retreating from Common Core.

Similar reviews, tweaks and name changes of Common Core have long occurred in state after state, and will likely continue in 2016, but as we’ve seen in state after state, this does not spell the end of high, consistent college- and career-ready standards. States remain committed to preparing their students for the future – and that is ultimately what is happening today in New York.

Despite the challenging politics that come with transitioning to more rigorous K-12 academic standards, Common Core is persevering because parents fundamentally want their kids to be prepared for all the choices and opportunities available to them after graduation.

Click to tweet: What is actually in store for New York’s #CommonCore State Standards? @KarenNussle explains: http://bit.ly/1Mfd0pR