King, Tisch raise concerns about Assembly’s Common Core bill

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The state’s top education officials are raising concerns about an Assembly bill that would make changes to New York’s Common Core implementation, arguing that provisions of the bill would violate state and federal law.

JohnKing1Assembly Democrats huddled in private Monday to discuss the bill, which would impose a two-year delay on using Common Core-based exam scores for teacher evaluations, while school districts would be prohibited from solely using those scores to decide whether to promote a student to the next grade level and from placing them on a student’s permanent record.

But Education Commissioner John King and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch raised concerns about a part of the bill that would prevent school districts from providing student data to third parties for the creation of a statewide database. While the bill’s sponsor, Assembly Education Chairwoman Catherine Nolan, said the provision would only apply to “data dashboards” — such as the one being created by inBloom, a non-profit — Tisch and King said the language creates problems.

The way the privacy provision is worded, the education officials said, could prevent schools from providing student data to school bus drivers.

While “we share the Assembly’s commitment to student data privacy protection, there are ways to address this issue without jeopardizing the day-to-day operation of school districts,” King and Tisch said. “This proposal does not strike that balance.”

Nolan said the Assembly’s bill is meant to give parents more say about information shared with companies that create dashboards and wouldn’t impact transportation contracts.

“Obviously, there will be some discussion with all of the attorneys who will be sitting down to parse it perfectly,” Nolan said. “We don’t believe that anything we would be doing would inhibit the state Education Department’s sort of routine data collection about lunches.”

Meanwhile, Senate leaders said Monday they are reviewing the Assembly bill.

“There’s a lot of moving pieces right now,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County. “Are we looking at it? Absolutely.”

Flanagan said he supports many of the provisions — including restrictions on testing in kindergarten through second grade. But he questioned whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo would sign the bill, given that the governor has opposed delaying the use of Common Core-based test scores for teacher evaluations.

“We’re taking a look at the bill now,” Flanagan said. “I think there are some very good things in there, things that we advanced in terms of legislation already. I think there are some concerns about the privacy provisions in terms of loss of federal funding, possibly.”

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