The NYS Board of Regents and Education Department recently rolled out the Next Generation English Language Arts & Mathematics Learning Standards. There has been a great deal of fanfare involved in this rebranding.
The newly named standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics is a culmination of 2 years of work that was developed as result of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Common Core Task Force.” The Task Force recommended an evaluation that included public outreach and consultation from over 130 teachers and parents that were selected to participate in developing the standards. In September 2016 the NYS Education Department released a draft of the new standards for public comment. That request resulted in more than 4,100 comments from the public on the draft standards.
The English Language Arts and Mathematics Learning Standards Advisory Committees met through a series meetings between December 2016 and April 2017. They reviewed each learning standard and made some modifications based on professional expertise as well as input gathered from public comment, parent input, and child development experts.
Although the state education department touts hundreds of changes to the standards, the Common Core “Foundation Standards” remain relatively unchanged. Most of the changes entailed clarifying wording and slightly moving some standards between grade levels. An underlining theme that reiterates the Common Core is that the standards will prepare students for “College and Career Readiness,” while “achieving a vision of 21st century literacy.”
This name change appears to be an effort by Governor Cuomo and the New York State Education Department to appease many parents and educators who have raised questions about the correlation between Common Core and the over-emphasis on standardized testing, which is at the forefront of the opt-out movement.
The state has made attempts to soften the impact of opt-out, removing the timed limits on the grades 3 – 8 ELA and Math tests. In addition, they have planned to reduce the number of days of testing from 3 days to 2, beginning with the 2018 state exams. Although these change may be a good thing, there isn’t much leeway since the federal Every Student Succeeds Act maintains the requirement for yearly testing that is the primary method of evaluating school performance. In addition, teacher evaluations will be reinstated in 2019, basing 50% of a teacher’s performance rating on these test results. NYS’s Next Generation Standards have been submitted to the U.S. Education Department for approval, which is a requirement of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Many believe this requirement will maintain the concept of the Common Core State Standards.
Are these changes merely a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing? That remains to be seen.
The projected timeline for standards and assessments over the coming years is:
September 2017: Adoption of Next Generation Learning Standards
Awareness Building 2017-2018 School Year: Two-day assessments measuring the current standards; professional development on Next Generation Learning Standards
Capacity Building 2018-2019 School Year: Two-day assessments measuring the current standards; professional development continuing on Next Generation Learning Standards
Capacity Building 2019-2020 School Year: Two-day assessments measuring the current standards; professional development continuing on Next Generation Learning Standards
Full Implementation September 2020: Full implementation of the Next Generation Learning Standards;
Spring 2021: New grade 3 – 8 tests measuring Next Generation Learning Standards.
Visit the NYS Education Department website for additional information on the standards: http://www.nysed.gov/next-generation-learning-standards