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Common Core standards receiving attacks on left flank, too

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18 2014 3:40 p.m. MST

State Education Commissioner John King Jr., left, speaks during a Board of Regents meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. The board panel recommended extending the phase-in of Regents exams that are based on the more difficult standards, known as the Common Core, so that the class of 2022, not the class of 2017, would be the first group required to pass more rigorous English and math exams to graduate.

Mike Groll, Associated Press

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Once early champions of Common Core curriculum, New York educators are pulling back from the plan for nationwide education standards. The New York Times quotes acclaimed high school principal Carol Burris saying, “it’s a disaster.”

The Deseret News spotlighted the controversy over Common Core standards earlier this year, characterizing “the fiercest battle over Common Core” as “the tug-of-war between American conservatives.”

“Common Core curriculum now has critics on the left,” said the headline from the Times.

“We have to slow this thing down, there are so many problems,” Catherine Nolan, the chairwoman of the State Assembly Education Committee, said in the New York Times article.

Richard Iannuzzi, president of the New York State Unified Teachers, recently said, “we’ll have to be the first to say it’s failed,” reports Politico. The nonpartisan teachers union withdrew its support for Common Core standards in January. The union boasts 600,000 members.

Other states may follow New York. Iannuzzi is quoted by Politico as saying he’s in conversations with unions in other states, and that “we’re all saying our members don’t see this going down a path that improves teaching and learning.”

These individuals and organizations have not expressly called for abolishing Common Core, but instead a moratorium and study.

The New York teachers union is responding to students’ dismal test scores from the first set of Common Core scores last spring. Politico says that the union doesn’t want graduation rates to fall because of the first rounds of testing, and it is demanding the state release all questions and answers to the tests.

Carol Burris, 2013 New York principal of the year, told the Washington Post that parents must speak up as “the fate of a generation of New York students hangs in the balance.”

The union is also concerned about teachers. Because of New York law, union officials believe that teachers may be fired, even though Common Core is still being implemented and is to be rolled out over the coming decade.

In response to the rising tide of concerns, the New York State Board of Regents adopted measures “that will delay the impact of Common Core-related state assessments on educators and students.”

Common Core is a keystone project of the Obama administration. Proponents include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee and the National Education Association.

Dozens of powerful well-funded, conservative organizations opposing Common Core are leading movements in states across the country, and report soaring membership rates, according to Politico. They have already won battles in Alaska, Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia, which have generally backed away from the standards more strongly than in New York.

Republican governors in South Carolina, Indiana and Wisconsin have made bold, public statements against Common Core, citing their discontent with out-of-state education standards, according to Politico.

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