March 5, 2014

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan Announce Passage of Legislation to Delay the Effects of High Stakes Testing and Protect Student Privacy

Amid ongoing confusion concerning the rollout of the new Common Core standards for educating New York's children, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Education Chair Catherine Nolan today announced the passage of comprehensive legislation to delay the use of high stakes testing in making decisions on student placements and teacher and principal effectiveness, and to prohibit the State Education Department (SED) from sharing student data with certain outside vendors until July 1, 2015. The measure passed the Assembly 121-10 in an unofficial vote.

"Many of my colleagues as well as advocates, parents, and stakeholders have raised numerous concerns regarding the state's rollout of the Common Core," said Speaker Silver. "The future of our children is too important, which is why it is time to hit the pause button and allow educators to properly develop the Common Core so that everyone - teachers, parents, administrators, and most importantly students - fully understands and benefits from these new standards."

"I have spent many months listening to parents, educators and advocates from across the state," said Nolan. "As a result, we have developed this common sense legislation that protects student privacy and provides an essential delay in the implementation of the Common Core standards. This measure will provide critical time to develop the tools and resources necessary for students and teachers to adjust to the new curriculum, ultimately strengthening our education standards and providing New York's children the first rate education that they deserve."

Pressing the Pause Button on the Use of Common Core Assessments for Teacher Evaluations and Student Promotions

The legislation would, for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, prohibit state administered English and Math Common Core aligned assessments from being a factor in a teacher's or principal's APPR composite effectiveness score.

The bill also prohibits school districts from making promotion or placement decisions for students based solely or primarily on their grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Math exam scores. In addition, school districts would be required to notify parents of the district's grade promotion and placement policy as well as an explanation of how such policy was developed.

The measure prohibits scores from grades-3-8 ELA and Math exams from being part of a student's permanent record or official transcript and prohibits certain standardized tests in prekindergarten through second grade.

Teacher and Principal Training

Providing schools and teachers with the resources they need to be successful is vitally important. The legislation requires the commissioner of education to develop tools, resources and materials, in consultation with teachers and principals, for school districts to use for teacher and principal training related to Common Core implementation. These resources would be developed for every mandatory subject and grade level for which the Common Core has been adopted.

School districts would have the option to implement a Common Core training program for teachers and principals using these resources.

Protecting Student Data

The measure prohibits, until July 1, 2015, the SED from providing student data to any third party vendor that collects, stores, and organizes student data for use by certain third party vendors. Additionally, parents or students over the age 18 may opt-out of disclosing the student's personally identifiable information and/or biometric record to any third party vendor.

Students with Disabilities and ELL Study

The legislation also requires the State Education Commissioner to evaluate and provide a report on the effectiveness of the implementation of Common Core on the education of students with disabilities, English language learners, and students with limited English proficiency.