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New York Set to Revise Common-Core Reading and Math Standards

New York state is considering adopting a new set of K-12 reading and math standards that differ somewhat from the Common Core State Standards, which have had a rocky reception in the state since they went into place in 2010.

Some of the proposed revisions to the standards are more substantive than others: In reading, several standards were merged to reduce repetition and to emphasize that students should read a balance of fiction and nonfiction. (Some teachers have complained the common core focused too much on nonfiction.) In math, standards were moved and clarified, and a few were added, including standards around learning time and money in the early grades.

The state's education department, with input from parents, teachers, and the public, has been working on revising the common core for two years now, according to a press release.

The department will present the draft new standards, released yesterday, to the Board of Regents next week, and is accepting public comments until June 2. 

In a statement, Andy Pallotta, the president of the New York State United Teachers, praised the education department for having teachers help craft the new standards, calling that "an important change."

"In relying on educators in an open, transparent process, the state education department is showing a commitment to getting it right," he said. 

Several states that initially adopted the common standards eventually revised and altered them. However, in some cases, the changes weren't more than slight tweaks. (See a full map of where states currently stand on the common core.)

In a Wall Street Journal article about the New York draft standards, Kathleen Scholand, a math teacher on Long Island and a member of the state committee reviewing math standards, "said that in general, teachers will see the new expectations as similar to the current ones, 'but they definitely get to know that every single standard was picked apart and discussed, sometimes for hours.'"

Much of the pushback around the common core in New York state has been related to testing, which critics say is punitive and overly burdensome for students and teachers. The "opt out" movement, which encourages test refusal as a form of protest, has been especially active in New York. Last year, as many as 20 percent of 3rd through 8th graders in the state opted out. In some Long Island counties this year, school officials are predicting up to 50 percent of students won't take standardized tests.


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