Continuing To Ease Pressures Created By Common Core

Legislative Column from Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I,Ref-Newport)
May 7, 2018

Parents and guardians know how challenging the rushed implementation of Common Core standards has been for our schools. I helped host a number of task force meetings several years back on educational standards where my colleagues and I heard testimony from educators and parents on how Common Core standards were a complete disruption to the education of our children. Action had to be taken. My colleagues and I developed the Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan, a set of reforms created to address the problems faced by our schools, educators, students and their parents.

There have been a number of improvements, such as how the Legislature was able to ban testing for our youngest children in pre-kindergarten and second grade. Additionally, a number of items from the APPLE Plan were passed into law or adopted as policy by the Board of Regents, such as the final closure of the education funding gap caused by a budget gimmick years ago, allowing teachers to access test results to provide feedback to their students, allowing teachers to form a panel to ensure curricula was age and developmentally appropriate, and requiring a full-review of Common Core standards.

Even now, I continue my commitment to Common Core reforms. I recently voted to decouple Common Core test results from teacher evaluations, which would be subject to labor negotiations between schools and their teachers unions. The legislation also prohibits the inclusion of these test results on the permanent records of New York’s students. These test results have weighed too heavily on classroom, putting undue pressure on teachers by using test results, which in my opinion, are unreflective of true academic achievement. How can anyone properly evaluate educators if the rubric that is employed is essentially using the testing results of nervous children? Children who have at times reacted to exam pressure by getting physically sick or used self-harm to cope with such needless stress.

These exams have done much to test the resolve of our students and teachers. Our classrooms should be filled with a love and excitement for learning and a passion for educating. I am pleased to stand with our teachers and students. I highly encourage the future Legislature and the next governor to take seriously the responsibility they have to continue reviewing and fine-tuning state education standards to ensure our children are able to grow, learn and develop in such a way that they are able to realize their full potential. I hope this for my grandkids and every student in New York.

I welcome input on this or any other legislative topic. Please contact me by calling my office at 518-866-1632 or by emailing me at butlerm@nyassembly.gov.