No Common Core mention in Cuomo’s State of the State
ALBANY—Governor Andrew Cuomo featured education initiatives prominently at his State of the State address Wednesday, but never mentioned the controversial Common Core curriculum standards and the growing unrest among teachers and parents over how the state rolled them out.
“The biggest education issue that concerns parents and teachers and students is the Common Core, and the failed implementation of Common Core,” said Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, after the speech. “The absence of a comment about that is almost deafening for me.”
NYSUT, a powerful statewide teachers' union, has led the charge for delaying the implementation of the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by nearly every state. Principally, the union wants a three-year moratorium on using student scores on Common Core-aligned exams for “high stakes” decisions, such as evaluating teachers.
Many educators agree that the tougher math and English standards promote critical thinking and problem solving. But school leaders have complained that the state began testing students on the new material before teachers had access to curricula, textbooks and other materials.
Iannuzzi said he was hopeful after hearing comments Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver made on Tuesday about the Common Core. Silver said “a case has been made for a delay,” and he is waiting for the state Board of Regents to form a plan to improve implementation before considering possible legislative interference.
“I thought it was extremely important and positive,” Iannuzzi said, referring to Silver's comments. “I had hoped I would hear it from the governor today, and let's hope I will still hear it from the govenror somewhere down the line. I think the people are really crying for leadership on this.”
A spokesman for Cuomo declined to comment.
Several lawmakers also pointed to the governor's silence on the Common Core in statements they released after the speech Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the Governor failed to propose a fix for the botched Common Core implementation or to protect students’ data privacy,” Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, a Westchester County Democrat, said in a statement.
Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, a Democrat from Rockland County, said he shares Cuomo's hope to boost technology in schools, but “we also need to address concerns surrounding the Common Core implementation. I will work with my Assembly colleagues to ensure this is a priority.”
Opposition to the Common Core is bipartisan. Assemblymen Brian Curran and Chad Luppinacci, Long Island Republicans, also blasted the governor for failing to introduce a plan to improve Common Core implementation.
“We must also take steps to address and refocus the Common Core curriculum,” Lupinacci said, “so that our children continue to receive an education which sets them on a course to be leaders in our nation and the world.”