Silver: ‘The case has been made for a Common Core delay’

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Sheldon Silver. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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ALBANY—Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Tuesday he expects the state Board of Regents to form a plan for improving and possibly delaying implementation of the rigorous Common Core curriculum standards.

Silver said he would wait to see what “remedial actions” the Regents come up with before attempting to intervene with legislation.

“I think the case has been made, if nothing else, for a delay and a reevaluation of the implementation of Common Core,” Silver said. “The problem with it is … No. 1, it was suddenly put upon teachers and students and administrators and schools. The support for it was not forthcoming as quickly as the rigors of Common Core, and the training wasn't there for a lot of the teachers that are charged with using it as the basis for their education.”

Silver said Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch has formed a subcommittee to explore ways to improve implementation, and the smaller group is scheduled to report back to the Regents “on a small timeline.”

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The Regents adopted the controversial Common Core standards in 2010, which are being used all over the country. Students in third through eighth grades began testing on the harder material last April, and their scores plummeted. School and union leaders complained that the state began testing before teachers had the necessary resources, like textbooks aligned to the material.

Unrest over the Common Core intensified this fall, when education commissioner John King canceled and subsequently rescheduled a series of public forums on the state's education reforms.

Lawmakers have proposed bills to address teachers' and parents' concerns over implementation, testing and the use of student data.

Silver said “the first opportunity should be [for] the Regents.”

If the Regents don't present a plan shortly, “we'll go from there,” he said.

Tisch said in a statement that the working group will review testimony from various consituencies about the Common Core implementation and report back to her by the board's February meeting.

"The Board of Regents adopted its Reform Agenda in 2009 and the Common Core State Standards in 2010 in order to better prepare New York State students for college and career success," Tisch said in a statement. "As with any major policy change ... we anticipated that adjustments and refinements would be necessary. The implementation of the Common Core State Standards is no exception."