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Cuomo’s Common Core panel suggests severing ties with inBloom

New York State needs to break up with its embattled student data partner and look for other suitors, a team of outside education advisors to Gov. Andrew Cuomo have concluded in a new report.

The report was released Monday night by an 11-member panel of experts convened by Cuomo last month with the purpose of recommending ways to fix the state’s implementation of Common Core learning standards. The panel released its recommendations as state lawmakers prepare their one-house budget bills and, separately, vote in a closely-watched Board of Regents election for four vacant seats.

Cuomo’s panel says in its report that state’s relationship with inBloom, Inc., a national nonprofit data-storing organization funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has become a “distraction” and recommended that it be “halted.” Of nine states originally signed on to use inBloom’s services, New York is one of two that hasn’t severed ties amid controversy.

Other recommendations would limit “test prep” for standardized testing so that it takes up no more than 2 percent of instructional time. Standardized tests, including state tests and other lengthy exams, would have to be less than one percent of instructional time.

And the panel spared students from being subject to high-stakes consequences tied to the rollout of Common Core. Test scores should not show up on a student’s transcripts or used as a primary factor in determining grade promotion “until implementation is successful,” the panel found.

The panel was less generous to teachers. It did not advise any changes to the state’s teacher evaluation law, which requires that student test scores factor into educators’ annual ratings. Cuomo has said changing the evaluation law is off limits in discussions around improving the Common Core’s implementation.

One of the panel’s members, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, praised the report but raised concerns that not enough was done to address evaluations. The Assembly has passed a bill to delay aligning Common Core tests to teacher and principal evaluations for two years.

“I continue to be concerned about unresolved issues associated with high stakes testing and its impact on teachers and principals, and look forward to working with the Panel to address these concerns,” Nolan said in a statement.

Some of the recommendations have already been addressed by the Board of Regents and proposed in legislation by Sen. John Flanagan, including a ban on standardized testing for young students and allowances for districts to reduce the number of tests that are required under their negotiated evaluation plans.

See the panel’s full report.

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<a href=”http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1068200/common-core-implementation-panel-3-10-14.pdf”>Common Core Implementation Panel 3 10 14 (PDF)</a></p>
<p><a href=”http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1068200/common-core-implementation-panel-3-10-14.txt”>Common Core Implementation Panel 3 10 14 (Text)</a><br />

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