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New York Daily News Editorial: Stop Delaying Common Core Goals

New York state's implementation of the Common Core was slowed last week when State Education Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch made 19 adjustments to the Common Core program.

According to an editorial in the New York Daily News, two of these adjustments were "significant" mistakes. The first mistake was the decision to delay new graduation standards by five years to 2022. The second mistake was to allow teachers an additional way to defend themselves from firing after receiving "ineffective" ratings for two straight years.

The Daily News said the adjustments were made after parent outrage from the messy rollout, but the editorial argues that higher standards for New York students from the Common Core curriculum cannot wait any longer:

Seizing on a sharp drop in reading and math scores after students took their first Common Core tests, the teachers fed fears that kids would somehow suffer because their grades had fallen, when the opposite was true.

Many parents revolted. The Legislature took note, with some legislators threatening to derail Common Core entirely.

After putting New York at the forefront of the national movement, where it belongs, Tisch and King bent too far.

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Despite Charter School Success, NYC Mayor Wants to Slow Down Growth

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), New York City is one of the biggest school districts in the country that enrolls a large number of students into charter schools. Despite continued success, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to slow down the growth of charter schools.

According to the Economist, de Blasio plans to divert $210 million allocated for charter schools to help fund a universal prekindergarten program. Also, de Blasio is charging charter schools rent for the space they share with public schools:

Mr de Blasio wants to charge charters rent if they are sharing space with the 1.1m pupils in district schools. Because charters receive no state funding for facility costs and rents in the Big Apple are so high, Michael Bloomberg, Mr de Blasio’s predecessor, allowed them free use of under-utilised space in traditional public schools. Of the 183 charters in New York City, 115 are “co-located”, sharing canteens, libraries and gyms. If they were suddenly charged rent, many would struggle. The 68 charters not sharing space with a district school have to fork out an average of $515,137 for facilities each year. The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, calculates that charging rent could force 71% of co-located charters into deficit.

The article goes on to discuss why slowing charter school growth will harm New York City education:

These new policies are likely to be unpopular. New York City’s charter schools generally outperform their neighbouring district schools. In some cases charters have not merely closed the racial achievement gap, but actually reversed it. Most New Yorkers want more of them.

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WSJ Editorial: de Blasio's Attack on Charter Schools

Studies have shown that charter schools improve student performance. However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seems to be adamant on slowing the progress of charter schools in the city.

According to a Wall Street Journal editorial (subscription required), Mayor de Blasio is implementing several plans that will slow charter school growth including charging them rent for sharing space with district schools:

Mr. de Blasio also intends to punish well-endowed co-located charters like Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy schools by charging rent, which the city's Independent Budget Office says could raise $92 million. Manhattan Institute senior fellow Stephen Eide in a new study finds that a flat rent of $2,400 per student, as recommended by the Independent Budget Office, would have resulted in 71% of charters running deficits and potentially 577 teacher layoffs in 2011.

Even more destructive is the mayor's proposal to base rents on ability to pay. A progressive rent would be a de facto tax on success. High-performing charters raising the most private donations would have to pay the most, which would discourage philanthropy and mean less money for teaching. This is from the same crowd that claims we spend too little on education.

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WSJ Editorial: de Blasio's Attack on Charter Schools

Studies have shown that charter schools improve student performance. However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seems to be adamant on slowing the progress of charter schools in the city.

According to a Wall Street Journal editorial (subscription required), Mayor de Blasio is implementing several plans that will slow charter school growth including charging them rent for sharing space with district schools:

Mr. de Blasio also intends to punish well-endowed co-located charters like Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy schools by charging rent, which the city's Independent Budget Office says could raise $92 million. Manhattan Institute senior fellow Stephen Eide in a new study finds that a flat rent of $2,400 per student, as recommended by the Independent Budget Office, would have resulted in 71% of charters running deficits and potentially 577 teacher layoffs in 2011.

Even more destructive is the mayor's proposal to base rents on ability to pay. A progressive rent would be a de facto tax on success. High-performing charters raising the most private donations would have to pay the most, which would discourage philanthropy and mean less money for teaching. This is from the same crowd that claims we spend too little on education.

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Bill Gates Supports the Common Core

Bill Gates discusses why the Common Core standards are necessary for American education and clears up misconceptions.

In his opinion piece for USA Today, Gates addresses common misconceptions about the Common Core standards including the notion that it causes more student testing:

Common Core won't necessarily add to the number of annual state tests students take. States will introduce new math and language arts tests based on the standards to replace tests they give now. Most states are taking a cautious approach to implementing the new tests, giving teachers and students time to adapt before scores lead to serious consequences. What's more, unlike some of today's tests, the new tests will help teachers and students improve by providing an ongoing diagnosis of whether students are mastering what they need to know for success after graduation.

Gates continues to explain how the Common Core standards will prepare students for college and the job market:

Americans want students to get the best education possible. We want schools to prepare children to become good citizens and members of a prosperous American economy. The Common Core standards were carefully conceived with these two goals in mind. It would be a shame if myths and misunderstandings got in the way.

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NY Post Opinion: Forcing Teachers into Classrooms is Not the Answer

There are more than 1,000 teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR), costing New York City $144 million a year. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña must close this pool of teachers.

Dan Wesiberg, executive vice president of TNTP, writes an opinion piece for the New York Post discussing various solutions to this problem. 

According to the opinion piece, Mayor de Blasio is considering forcing the teachers back into schools. Wesiberg argues that this would be harmful to principals, teachers, and students:

Everyone loses if ATR teachers are forced into schools. Teachers won’t have a say in where they work. Principals will be denied the ability to hire their own staff. Most importantly, students — particularly in lower-income neighborhoods where teaching positions are hardest to fill — will be hit by an influx of ineffective teachers.

Wesiberg continues to offer a more effective alternative:

There’s a better way to solve the ATR problem. The city and the teachers union should agree to reasonable time limits for teachers to remain in the ATR at full pay — six or 12 months, perhaps — after which teachers who can’t land one of the 5,000 positions that open up across the city every year would be released. (These teachers would be allowed to return to their previous salary and seniority level if they secure a position later.)

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NY Governor Cuomo Criticizes Board of Regents

The New York State Board of Regents has indicated that teachers and principals will receive less consequences for ineffective performance.

According to the New York Post, the Board of Regents will pass a proposal on Tuesday allowing educators to blame the rollout of the Common Core standards as a reason for poor student performance:

A Regents panel voted to allow teachers and principals who could be fired based on poor student performance on Common Core exams this year or last year to defend themselves by citing the botched rollout of the tough new curriculum.

Governor Andrew Cuomo disagreed with the decision, advocating for the new teacher evaluations:

“There is a difference between remedying the system for students and parents and using this situation as yet another excuse to stop the teacher- evaluation process,” Cuomo fumed in a harsh statement.

Education-reform advocated backed the governor including StudentsFirstNY executive director Jenny Sedlis:

“We must not allow criticism manufactured by special interests to turn back the clock on teacher evaluations and higher standards,” StudentsFirstNY executive director Jenny Sedlis said.

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NY Post Editorial: Governor Cuomo - The Students' Lobbyist

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo criticized the New York Board of Regents for supporting a plan that would allow teachers to blame ineffective teaching on the Common Core roll-out. The backlash resulted in the board delaying action on the plan until April.

According to a New York Post editorial, Governor Cuomo stated that the plan would slow down the teacher evaluation process:

To his credit, the governor came down on the idea like a ton of bricks. He called it — rightly — yet “another excuse to stop the teacher-evaluation process,” which the Regents had stalled for years. The move, he said, “suggests the time has come to seriously reexamine” the board’s performance.

The editorial goes on to support Governor Cuomo for placing the needs of the students above teachers:

As he [Cuomo] said, the educrats have long fought any effort to hold them accountable. That’s not going to change. Which makes the governor one of the few leaders standing between New York’s students and the education blob that cares more about shielding teachers than teaching children.

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NY Board of Regents Lessens Standards for Teachers and Students

In a report released on Monday, the New York State Board of Regents decided to ease up on consequences for teachers and students. The decision was based on parents and teachers complaining about the tough Common Core standards and new teacher evaluations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Governor Andrew Cuomo disagreed with the decision, stating that it would delay the implementation of new teacher evaluations:

"Today's recommendations are another in a series of missteps by the Board of Regents that suggests the time has come to seriously re-examine its capacity and performance," he said, adding it was "yet another in a long series of roadblocks to a much- needed evaluation system which the Regents had stalled putting in place for years."

StudentsFirstNY executive director Jenny Sedlis also commented on the decision, advocating for tougher teacher standards:

"They've given ineffective teachers an out clause," she said, adding it sends a message to school districts: "Don't even try and terminate any ineffective teachers."

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State Board of Regents Weakens Teacher Evaluation Policy

Earlier this week, the New York State Board of Regents approved a new regulation that makes it easier for teachers who receive "ineffective" evaluation ratings for two straight years to defend themselves from being fired.

The decision comes as New York state works to improve the implementation of the Common Core curriculum. According to Chalkbeat New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a supporter of the Common Core and of stronger teacher evaluations, immediately criticized the new regulation.

StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis sided with Governor Cuomo:

"By threatening to oust incumbent Regents and rile up stakeholders, the teachers union and their allies are forcing the Regents to tamper with the state's new evaluation system, which was enacted with the full consent of the union," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.

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