New York’s seven leading statewide education groups have come together to endorse a five-point plan to help all students and their schools meet the expectations of the new Common Core learning standards.
The Educational Conference Board (ECB), comprised of organizations that represent school boards, parents, superintendents, teachers, principals, business officials and other educators, has released a position paper entitled Common Ground on Common Core that outlines a plan to give students the support and resources they need to succeed under the state’s new Common Core learning standards.
Recent attention on student test scores, compliance with the new teacher and principal evaluation requirements, and recurring financial struggles has diverted resources and focus from student learning, the report states.
ECB Chair John Yagielski explained, “The Common Core learning standards are the right direction for our schools. These standards were designed to ensure that all students, regardless of where they live or what school they attend, are learning what they need to graduate from high school with the ability, not just to recite knowledge, but apply knowledge to real world challenges.”
Yagielski, a retired superintendent who previously led four upstate school districts, added, “The Common Core learning standards represent the most significant increase in student expectations that New York schools have ever faced. Therefore, to be effective, these standards must be properly implemented. Working together, the member organizations of ECB have identified actions that need to be taken to make these standards a reality in every classroom.”
The ECB’s five-point plan to put the focus on student learning and get the Common Core back on track calls for state policymakers to take the following actions:
- Institute a statewide campaign to build understanding and support for the importance and value of the Common Core Learning Standards.
- Invest in ongoing professional development to implement the Common Core.
- Ensure adequate state and federal funding to give all classroom teachers the tools, instructional materials, and technology they need to help all students meet the standards, including extra help for students most at risk of falling short of the standards.
- Reassess the state’s approach to student testing and address the most pressing concerns that parents and educators have expressed about testing.
- Establish an ongoing process for engaging key stakeholders in reviewing and refining implementation of the Common Core.
“Members of the New York State Educational Conference Board recognize that in order for education reform to effect positive and sustainable change, it is imperative that we examine both its merits and flaws. This joint statement reflects that belief and identifies common ground from which all stakeholders can advocate with a unified voice,” said Lana Ajemian, president of the New York State PTA.
“Superintendents across our state overwhelmingly believe the Common Core Standards hold promise for improving the quality of education our students receive. The actions in the five-point plan endorsed by all the state’s leading education organizations are essential to fulfilling the promise of the new standards,” said Robert J. Reidy, Jr., executive director, New York State Council of School Superintendents.
“The Big 5 school districts are moving forward with implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards as a part of their commitment to improve student achievement and ensure that every child is afforded a chance to succeed. The investment of adequate State and federal resources is critical to these efforts,” said Georgia M. Asciutto, executive director, Conference of Big 5 School Districts.
“We must focus on providing students and teachers with the time, resources and professional support they need to properly implement a deeper and richer curriculum,” said Andy Pallotta, executive vice president, New York State United Teachers.
“The Common Core’s tougher standards help insure that taxpayer dollars are producing the results needed for our students to remain competitive in a global economy,” said Michael J. Borges, executive director, New York State Association of School Business Officials.
“If we truly aspire to improve student learning, we need to focus more on the development of common core curricula, quality instruction and professional development, and less on a testing regime used for the purpose of assigning labels to teachers and principals,” said Kevin S. Casey, executive director of the School Administrators Association of New York State.
“The ECB organizations came together because they want the Common Core done right,” said Timothy G. Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association.
New York adopted the Common Core Learning Standards to make sure students leave high school college- and career-ready.