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Gov. Cuomo's Common-Core Fix-It Panel: Improve Public Trust in N.Y.

A panel tasked with getting the Common Core State Standards back on track in New York state has issued a report with nine recommendations, which include improving access to curriculum materials aligned to the common standards, ensuring that elementary and middle school students aren't significantly affected by common-core aligned tests, and improving public trust in the common core.

The summary of the report highlights the national backdrop as common core is put in place around the nation, and goes on to say, "Yet despite the tireless work and good intention of many educators, the management and implementation of the Common Core by the State Education Department—which is the entity responsible for its roll-out—has resulted in stress and frustration for parents and students and insufficient support from and for the public, teachers and principals."

The panel was convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and includes both Democratic and Republican state legislators, teachers, and Stanford University Professor of Education Linda Darling-Hammond. 

The list of recommendations includes a proposal to ban high-stakes testing on "young children" (students in prekindergarten through the 2nd grade); ensuring that scores on tests in grades 3-8 won't be used against students; and ensuring that tests aren't used inappropriately for special populations of students, such as English-language learners.

On the subject of teachers, in addition to pushing for new curricular resources for educators as soon as possible, it also calls for more time to allow teachers to collaborate and the replication of successful professional-development policies in the state. And as for parents, it calls on the state to create new online resources to help explain to parents what the standards are, and also to host community events explaining the standards.

What's interesting is that there's some overlap between these recommendations and legislation passed by the New York Assembly earlier this month, such as the ban on high-stakes testing for the youngest students and ensuring that common-core test scores don't have an impact on students' promotion or permanent records.

But the recommendations from the governor's panel doesn't advocate any sort of delay in using those test scores to evaluate teachers, something the Assembly legislation does quite prominently. (The sponsor of that bill, Democratic Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, is also on Cuomo's panel.) That issue might emerge as the major point where neither side compromises easily, or at all. 

You can read the full recommendations from the panel below:

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