So, the Governor’s Common Core Task Force recommended a moratorium on the use of high stakes tests (ELA and Math) since the inception of the State’s adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards until 2019. The Task Force recommended that children and teachers should not have the results of these tests used to evaluate their performance – at least that seemed to be what they were recommending. By extension, these test results also have been used to determine individual school performance. The Board of Regents quickly accepted the Task Force recommendation. Nonetheless, the results of these tests have been used and continue to be used to define school accountability, e.g. persistently struggling, struggling schools and schools in good standing. With no analysis or conversation about how the recommendation and accompanying Regents decision impacts Receivership, the Commissioner is moving forward to enforce (actually double down) on receivership. For a second time the Commissioner has given Buffalo’s Superintendent Receiver the authority to breach the teachers’ contract, aka, exercise his receivership “POWERS”. (December 22, 2015)
This decision effectively contradicts the Task Force Recommendation, as applied to urban school children. The question I’m asking the Regents and the Commissioner: How does the moratorium and the promise to hold students harmless as a result of the “poor implementation” of the Common Core high stakes tests help these children or impact their Districts? Or, as others have suggested, was the Task Force experience just a political sleight of hand and an exercise in the use of smoke and mirrors?