PTA's Common Core moratorium is right way to go

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The algebra Regents is among the first state exams that are recorded on students’ high school transcripts. That is, they are the first tests to affect their college applications. The state should not be tinkering with the exam –– or worse, the curriculum –– while students are preparing for it.

The exam should have been field-tested and, if necessary, modified after students had had a year of study under the Common Core. Then, and only then, students should have been given a real exam the following year. That would have required more time, and money. But implementation of the Common Core would have been done right –– and would have been fair to students and teachers.

The New York State Parent Teacher Association is calling for a one-year moratorium on Common Core exams, which would give the state a chance to catch up on its curriculum writing before it moves ahead with testing. We agree with that idea.

We don’t know why New York is in such a rush to implement the Common Core. Last school year, it was one of only two states in the nation — along with Kentucky — to test students on the new standards. Other states are more slowly implementing the program before beginning to test students.

New York gave Common Core exams to students in grades three to eight in 2012-13. On average, 70 percent of students failed the tests, because, teachers and school administrators said, they didn’t have enough time to adequately prepare students for the more rigorous exams. In fact, the Common Core curricula for those grades were not released until May, a month after the tests were given.

King recently began giving talks on the Common Core across the state, and has been shouted down and heckled by furious educators and parents. They are angry not because the state is working to implement higher standards, as King says in interviews and forums, but rather because the state has been fundamentally unfair in its approach to integrating those standards into the curriculum.

We call on our local legislators, in particular State Senate Co-Majority Leader Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre, to take charge and ensure that students are treated with the dignity they deserve.

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