The Business Council represents nearly 2,600 employers across New York State, and they are increasingly concerned that our primary and secondary education system is failing to graduate college and career-ready students. We believe timely and effective implementation of Common Core standards will improve student achievement, help students achieve their post-high school goals, and provide employers with well-prepared employees.
The Business Council opposes the adoption of this legislation in its current form. We are also concerned that the legislature act to modify and delay Common Core implementation before a more complete assessment has come to fruition.
This legislation makes numerous amendments to the Education Law n response to concerns raised about implementation of the Common Core standards.
Importantly, this legislation leaves the education standards themselves intact. We believe that these standards are essential to achieving improved student performance and increasing college and work-preparedness for graduating students.
However, two components of this legislation are troubling to employers and others concerned about improving education performance in New York State.
First is the separation of Common Core achievement and teacher and principal evaluations. As New York continues to implement the Common Core, the focus must be on ensuring that schools and educators have the tools and resources they need to help students acclimate to the new standards. However, the bill requires that teacher and principal evaluations through the 2014-15 school year be based on local assessments instead of the state tests aligned to the new, more rigorous Common Core standards. We could agree to a change that would protect educators from unfairly being impacted by the new tests while retaining the integrity of the evaluation system. Still, we remain concerned about making this or any other change to Common Core without completion of a comprehensive implementation review.
Second, we are very concerned with provisions of the bill regarding student data that would make personalized learning nearly impossible, and hinder improvements to the system. Sharing student data with third-party vendors is not unique to Common Core, but the issue has received considerable attention in the broader pushback against Common Core implementation. This bill essentially creates checklists of every instance of third-party data sharing—such as transportation, attendance and food services— and gives parents and/or guardians the ability to opt out of any combination thereof. For example, parents could opt out of sharing students' addresses, basic information that has been collected for decades and is necessary to route buses. This bill would be logistically devastating, requiring schools to keep track of “opt-in" and “opt-out" lists of every student for numerous services. Given existing restrictions on data sharing and use, the need for these restrictions is unclear. Considering the practical impact on school operations and costs, we believe these restrictions should be rejected.
For these reasons The Business Council opposes this legislation in its current form.