Flanagan education proposals tackle tests, privacy, Common Core
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A key state senator will unveil proposals Thursday to eliminate standardized tests for some elementary school students, clamp down on student-data privacy and evaluate the effectiveness of the Common Core academic standards.
State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) said he's set to release a report to tackle some of the hottest topics consuming the education community this fall. Flanagan, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has conducted hearings around the state this fall with the intention of advancing legislation in 2014.
"The report and recommendations will address, in a significant way, the concerns that have been raised by parents and educators over the last few months," Flanagan said. He's slated a news conference for 11 a.m. at Suffolk Community College's Brentwood campus.
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Among other things, Flanagan's report is expected to recommend:
Eliminating standardized tests for students in prekindergarten through second grade.
Evaluating the timing, testing and value of Common Core standards and assessments.
Creating a parents' "bill of rights" in regard to the privacy of students' data, corresponding penalties for privacy violations and a new "chief privacy officer" within the state Education Department.
His proposals come after a fall that saw parents and educators around the state demanding changes to protect privacy of students' school records and ease test pressures.
Some have expressed serious concerns about a state plan to turn over records of 2.3 million New York students to inBloom Inc., a nonprofit corporation based in Atlanta that maintains a computerized "cloud"-based data depository.
Supporters of the project say it would help make data more easily available to parents. They vow that no data will be released without permission from local school districts.
But others have voiced fears that sensitive information such as health records or disciplinary actions could wind up in the hands of prospective employers or college admissions officers. Some parents want the state not to turn over any data to inBloom.
Flanagan's proposals would have to win support in the Democrat-led Assembly, but it has backed student-data privacy measures in the past.
Hearings on the Common Core have been even more volatile. On Long Island and statewide, educators back the concept of the national academic standards but have decried the state Education Department's rush to introduce new curricula and tie tougher tests to them.