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Long IslandEducation

Common Core name dropped by NY, replaced by Next Generation

A fifth-grade student at Ulysses Byas Elementary School

A fifth-grade student at Ulysses Byas Elementary School in Roosevelt with the Common Core mathematics test booklet on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

ALBANY — Common Core has been wiped from the state’s educational blackboard.

“Next Generation Learning Standards” is the new name of New York’s academic guidelines.

The state Board of Regents reached informal agreement on the change over the past week, and by Tuesday afternoon the Education Department’s website at nysed.gov/aimhighny showed the new branding.

In scrubbing “Common Core” from Albany’s official lexicon, New York joined a growing number of states that have done so. The label first was applied to a unified set of academic standards by the National Governors Association in 2010. At one time, the standards had been adopted by more than 40 states.

Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa noted in an interview Tuesday that much of the standards package will remain the same as in the past, despite hundreds of revisionist tweaks in recent months. That review is continuing.

The name change helps underscore that teachers and parents throughout the state joined in the revamping, she said.

“It’s an opportunity to take all the best of the components and turn it back to the teachers and the people who do the work,” said Rosa, a former Bronx school administrator.

The standards had consistently drawn praise from educators for their widely acknowledged strengths. But even supporters have conceded that a name change was needed.

The reason usually cited is that “Common Core” has become associated in the public mind with high-anxiety testing and monotonous classroom test-prep drills.

On Long Island, resistance to state testing has spurred a regionwide boycott of exams given to public school students in grades three through eight, with particularly high numbers across Nassau and Suffolk counties in the past three years.

Last week’s math test and the English Language Arts exam in late March saw test refusals from more than 50 percent of eligible students in grades three through eight on the Island, according to Newsday surveys that drew responses from at least 90 percent of the 124 districts.

Whether the name change alone will make a dent in the boycott movement remains in doubt.

Jeanette Deutermann, a North Bellmore mother of two and leader of the grass-roots Long Island Opt Out organization, reiterated her long-held position that parent opposition will remain strong as long as the state’s testing system remains linked by law to teacher job evaluations based on student scores.

Boycott organizers contend that system puts undue pressure on students and teachers alike.

“Children don’t care what the standards are called,” Deutermann said Tuesday in a phone interview.

Meanwhile, some supporters of the standards were having a bit of fun with the name change.

High Achievement New York, a Manhattan-based advocacy group backed by business leaders and others, recently surveyed its members and asked which name they would prefer out of 10 possibilities. Most of those surveyed opted for Empire State Learning Standards.

Stephen Sigmund, the group’s executive director, joked Tuesday that members had been “robbed” of their choice.

“But in fact, we’ve long said the name doesn’t matter to us,” Sigmund added. “High learning standards do.”

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