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Source: Assemblyman William Colton's office

Source: Assemblyman William Colton’s office

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Assemblymember William Colton (D-47th Assembly District, Brooklyn) is calling on the State Education Department and Commissioner Dr. John B. King, Jr. to delay Common Core test-based assessments for at least two years, while also providing additional resources and support to training educators in the new standards. Furthermore, Assemblyman Colton believes this delay should apply to test-based decisions affecting teachers, students and principals and the sharing of sensitive and private student data with third-party vendors.

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Colton has raised the issue of the implementation of the new Common Core Curriculum in public schools during this school year at the State Legislature’s Joint Budget Hearing on Elementary and Secondary Education on January 28 in Albany. This new Common Core curriculum was created as a result of the monies granted to New York State by the federal government as part of its “Race to the Top” educational campaign. However, the Common Core has become somewhat controversial, especially with its initial roll out, which has caused anger, confusion, and frustation among parents and educators alike.

At this Joint Budget Hearing, Colton questioned State Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King, Jr. with his serious concerns about the implementation of the new Common Core standards, citing the unanimously passed resolutions of Community Education Councils Districts 20 and 21 to argue that parents and educators are questioning if input from parents and the needs of students are being considered with the new curriculum.

Colton asserted, “We all share the same goals of improving our schools and ensuring that our students receive the education they deserve.” He then continued, “That’s why we need to get the new curriculum implementation right. Numerous concerns, including in my own district, regarding the State Education Department’s roll-out of the Common Core have been raised. I repeat what I declared to Commissioner King: the train is leaving the station, but many students and parents are not on board that train. While we work to find solutions to these issues, it’s only sensible that we delay the use of the Common Core-aligned tests for making high-stake evaluations associated with the new standards.”

In addition, Colton thinks that the State Education Department should continue developing curricula aligned with Common Core and provide assistance to local school districts and educators in their efforts to develop effective methods for teaching Common Core subjects to students. The State Education Department has admitted that the new Common Core sample curriculum has not yet been developed, meaning only the sample curriculum for grade schools have been completed.

Furthermore, Colton is calling on the State Education Department to provide extra help to districts in order to ensure the proper and successful implementation of the new Common Core curriculum. Colton is advocating for an increase in support monies for teacher training centers and professional development for educators. Colton insisted, “Our educators need help with implementing the new Common Core standards. In many districts, teachers have not been adequately trained and need additional professional development to make sure they are receiving the resources and support that they need. How are we going to test students on the new curriculum when some teachers haven’t been trained in the new standards? This is unacceptable and absolutely absurd.”

Assemblymember Colton is also calling for a delay in the sharing of sensitive student data. Over the past year, many educators, community members and stakeholders have raised concerns about potential flaws in the Education Department’s plans to share sensitive student data with third-party vendors like inBloom Inc. These concerns relate to the protection of student data from security breaches and the potential for the student data to be inappropriately used for commercial purposes.

“We need to protect the privacy of our students and ensure that any information about them is being used for valid educational purposes. The State Education Department should also delay for at least two years the sharing of student data with any third-party vendor until all of these concerns have been adequately addressed,” affirmed Colton.

Before being elected to the State Assembly in 1996, Assemblyman William Colton worked as a New York City public school teacher and as a United Federation of Teachers Chapter Chairperson for six of those years. Previously working in the education field, Colton has first-hand experience of teaching in a classroom, and knows the importance of providing quality educations to our public school students and sufficient resources for our educators. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Brooklyn College.

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