Emanuel Felton of The Hechinger Report asks if Governor Cuomo’s recent pull back from Common Core is a sign that New York, once Common Core’s greatest stronghold, will ultimately end up backing out of the standards. Will the Governor’s commitment to other education policies, most notably teacher evaluations, take precedence over Common Core and essentially lead to a total reversal on their adoption and implementation?
When Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York, announced that the Common Core wasn’t working and that he would commission a committee to overhaul the state’s “Common Core system,” the governor became the first Democrat to venture down a path well-worn by Republican governors in red states like Oklahoma, Indiana and Louisiana.
Whether this is a sign of a coming bipartisan dismantling of the Common Core or just a sign that Cuomo is willing to sacrifice the Common Core to keep his other educational priorities – particularly test-based teacher evaluations – afloat is up for debate. Less debatable is the uniqueness of how New York went about implementing the Common Core, a set of math and reading standards in place in 44 states and the District of Columbia.
No state has so strongly embraced the Common Core. In 2011, a year after the standards were released, the state education department started the long (and expensive) process of procuring thousands of Common Core-aligned curriculum materials, which were used to build the EngageNY website for teachers. New York schools were told to start implementing the new standards during the 2011-12 school year, and students started taking Common Core tests in the spring of 2013 – a full two years before students in most states. Under those new tests, the percentage of students passing the state’s reading and math tests dropped by over 20 points.