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January 1st, 2014

Larkin Cosponsors Legislation to Change Common Core

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) has announced that he has cosponsored legislation which addresses the areas of concern raised by students, parents, teachers, school officials and advocacy groups during a series of hearings held by the New York State Senate Education Committee on the Common Core Learning Standards.  These statewide hearings were held as a result of the public outcry raised when the Common Core Learning Standards were implemented at the beginning of the school year.  The Senate Education Committee received over 30 hours of oral testimony by 115 witnesses and received nearly 1,000 pages of written testimony.  As a result, a series of bills have been introduced in the Senate which will address the areas of concern raised by those testifying. These bills include the following:

·Senate bill S.6007 - Protection of Personally Identifiable Information – This legislation seeks to address an appropriate balance between protecting our students, teachers, and principals personally identifiable information with the need for districts to collect certain data.  Specifically, this legislation would create strict civil and criminal penalties for any breach; create a chief privacy officer at SED to oversee the protection of student, teacher and principal data; create a parents bill of rights for privacy and security; and would allow school districts to opt-out of having the information they send to SED from being uploaded to the statewide data portal being facilitated by inBloom, Inc.

·Senate bill S.6008 - Prohibition of Standardized Testing in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2  – This legislation would prohibit the education commissioner from approving any APPR plan that allows for the administering of standardized tests to children in grades kindergarten through grade 2 that are not diagnostic or federally required.  Moreover, this legislation would prohibit any standardized tests that are not diagnostic or federally required from being administered to students in pre-kindergarten.

·Senate bill S.6006 - Elimination of Unnecessary Student Assessments – This legislation would allow districts and their unions to get expeditious review of their APPR plans by SED if they eliminate any unnecessary student assessments, in particular any pre- and post-tests or certain standardized tests in kindergarten through grade 2 that districts and unions previously agreed to in their APPR plans.  The commissioner’s review would be limited solely to the portions of the plan that seek to eliminate any unnecessary student assessments.

·Senate bill S.6009 - Ensuring the Validity of the Common Core – This modified legislation would seek to ensure that the assessments and vendors providing the assessments are appropriate for our students.  It would require SED to conduct an annual report as to the status of the common core and an independent audit be completed and the findings of such audit be submitted to the Legislature.

“It is obvious that the Common Core Learning Standards were implemented too quickly and, more importantly, without input from the participants,” said Senator Bill Larkin.  “These bills address four of the most controversial aspects of Common Core and will protect our students from over-testing and the release of their private information.”

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