Cuomo sees ‘legislative changes’ to Common Core

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ALBANY—Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he would consider “legislative changes” to address parents' concerns about the rigorous Common Core standards, on which New York schools started testing some students last April.

“I've heard quite a bit from the parents who are very concerned about Common Core,” Cuomo told reporters after an event on Staten Island. “It's part of a national curriculum that the national experts say is actually going to be beneficial.

“But there's no doubt that there are significant elements, at least in the transition, that are problematic,” he continued.

Cuomo stressed that he doesn't have authority over the state Education Department. The state Board of Regents directs the department and elects its commissioner, currently John King. But the state does determine funding for schools, and the governor has pushed a series of competitive grants and a new system of teacher evaluations.

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The Common Core curriculum standards have been voluntarily adopted by 45 states and aim to boost students' readiness for college and careers. Parents and teachers, often at public forums, have said the curriculum is developmentally inappropriate for students and that the state has botched the implementation.

“It's actually a decision that the state Education Department is going to make, which ironically, although the state Education Department does not report to the governor … it's something we're watching very closely,” he said. “And it's something that might be the subject of legislative changes next year. But it's not anything that I control, so we are watching."

New York adopted the Common Core in 2010 and has spent a tremendous amount of money developing curriculum resources and exams based on the standards.

Unions and advocacy groups have pushed legislation that would cut down on testing or dilute the state's reform agenda by enacting a three-year moratorium on using scores from Common Core-aligned exams for “high stakes.”

Some parents are also pushing legislation to protect student data. As part of New York's Race To The Top federal grant, the state is working with data integration companies to build a database of student information, including demographics, test scores and behavior records.

Cuomo has stayed out of the controversy over the Common Core in recent months. Lawmakers and advocacy groups have even called for King's resignation, to which Cuomo said the commissioner shouldn't resign, but it's not for him to say.