Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NY: Cuomo's New Common Core Faux Commission

My absolute favorite part of Gov. Amdrew Cuomo's announcement about the Common Core Task Force is this stock art student on the front page

This is a face that says, "Yeah, like that shit's gonna happen."

The task force has been charged "with comprehensively reviewing and making recommendations to overhaul the current Common Core system and the way we test our students." It features several return appearances by members of the governor's "successful" NY Education Reform Commission-- you remember their big hit, the edu-improving report of January 2014.

So who do you get to head up a group that is going to re-examine and possibly rewrite the baseline education standards for an entire state? A top educator? A leading expert in educational standards? An experienced educational scholar?

Ha! Of course not, you dope. You get a financial master of the universe like Richard Parsons, former chairman of the board at Citigroup and a top advisor at Providence Equity Partners, Inc. Parsons is happy to have this opportunity  "to fix New York's education standards and improve the lives and learning outcomes of students across the state." Does that not seem like a big enough helping of edubaloney. Try this:

By performing an in-depth review of everything from curriculum to testing, we can lay out exactly what needs to be done to fix the Common Core.

So they are going to examine everything and fix everything. Wow. They must have a whole bunch of education heavy hitters on this task force. Ha, again. Here's what we've got in addition to Parson's.

Heather Buskirk, ten year science teacher, instructional coach, Master Teacher, and member of TeachNY advisory council.

Geoffrey Canada, past president of the Harlem Children's Zone, "thought leader and passionate advocate for education reform," president of Promise Academy board, and a co-chair of Bloomberg's commission for reducing poverty (remember when NYC reduced all the poverty?).

Carol Conklin-Spillane, principal of Sleepy Hollow High, school district consultant.

MaryEllen Elia, ed commissioner and fired from leadership of Hillsborough Schools in Florida.

Constance Evelyn, superintendent of Valley Stream School District for the last three months. She comes to administration by way of special ed.

Catalina Fortino, VP of NYSUT. I prefer not to touch the thorny internal politics of NY teacher unions with a ten foot pole.

Kishayan Hazlewood, 10th year third grade teacher at a Community Learning school in Brooklyn.

Tim Kremer, executive director of NY State School Boards Association since 1998.

Senator Carl Marcellino, chair of Senate Education Committee. He represents part of Long Island.

Assemblywoman Catherin Nolan, chair of Assembly Education Committee. From Queens.

Samuel Radford III, president of District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo, former marine.

Carrie Remis, founder of the Parent Power Project from the Rochester area, administrator at Eastman School of Music.

Randi Weingarten, head of AFT.

Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor at SUNY.

In addition to these august representatives of the education world, the Task Force has also set up a website for soliciting and collecting input from the general public.

So, to get this diverse group of very busy people together to review all the standards, all the testing programs, all the alignments between them, all the state's "curriculum guidance," make sure teachers will receive all the support and training they need to implement, and "complete a top to bottom review"-- to do all that while weighing input from each team member plus the information from the public. How long do you figure that would take? To set up standards and testing for the entire state of New York, to give thorough oversight and thought from these people from varied backgrounds and interests, while all these people are still busy at their actual jobs-- what do you figure? Six months? A year?

Ha! The report is due by the end of the year. Roughly twelve weeks. Twelve weeks to get from, "Okay, let's get started" to "Oh, look. The report just came back from the printers!" Oh-- and do it all without a place at the table for any of the people who spearheaded the opt-out movement that forced Cuomo's hand in the first place.

To do all that and end up with a system that has any sort of educational validity, that really addresses the state's concerns and is not just an exercise in empty rebranding-- in twelve weeks.


  1. Even the Onion couldn't spoof this stuff. It's already spoofed!

  2. Hey, don't pick on the stock art - it's hard to find just the right black kid to communicate the message "we care about poor black kids" without getting one that's too black and too poor and too likely to scare the white folks.

    Anywho, as an aside, there is no such thing as a "former" marine (except perhaps those dishonorably discharged). There are, however, retired marines.

  3. Ha ha! Yes, this cute kid's smile does give him an expression that says "Yeah, like that's going to happen."

    This post drips with sarcasm even more than usual, Peter. I love it.