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Cuomo panel on Common Core proposes key fixes

Students take notes during a lecture on May

Students take notes during a lecture on May 1, 2013. Credit: Heather Walsh

An 11-member panel of educators, legislators, parents and experts is recommending changes to how New York implements Common Core by scuttling standardized testing earlier than the third grade, limiting time for test preparation and protecting student data by severing ties with "cloud" technology firm inBloom.

The recommendations disclosed Monday, made by a panel assembled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, come on the heels of similar proposals released by the Board of Regents, and in response to parents and teachers who said they found the state's rollout of the standards adopted by 44 other states sloppy, rushed and heavy-handed.

"The flawed implementation of the Common Core curriculum has resulted in frustration, anxiety and confusion for children and parents," Cuomo said in a news release announcing the report. "It is in everyone's best interest to have high, real-world standards for learning and to support the Common Core curriculum, but we need to make sure that our students are not unfairly harmed by its implementation."

Some of the key proposals include banning Common Core test results from the permanent records of students in grades 3 through 8, curbing "over-testing," phasing in higher pass scores for the Regents exams, ensuring teachers have course materials before high school students are tested on the new standards and severing the state's relationship with inBloom, a private, high-tech firm that was set to store and manage student records in the "cloud."

The governor's release announcing the recommendations said: "The debate about this one provider has become a distraction to the successful implementation of the Common Core," adding that "the Panel recommends that the State halt its relationship with inBloom and consider alternative paths to accomplish the goals of increased data transparency and analytics."

Some critics of Common Core had proposed delaying teacher evaluations under the new standards, but the panel does not make such a recommendation.

The proposals come a week after the Democrat-controlled state Assembly passed a bill to delay teacher evaluations for two years, which was one of the recommendations included in the Regents' proposal. But the Regents abandoned the idea after Cuomo accused the body of stalling the assessments.

Cuomo's group released its results soon after his potential rival, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, chided the governor for the rocky introduction of Common Core as he vowed to make it an issue in his campaign.

"It is abundantly clear from the many public hearings and forums that have been held that Common Core implementation needs to be fixed," said state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), chairman of the Senate Education Committee whose committee held several hearings across the state. "This panel has put together a number of recommendations that will guide an overhaul of how the standards are implemented and reform the system in a way that benefits students, parents, educators, and the public."With Yancey Roy

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