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A cure for the core: Apple Plan to address Common Core curriculum issues

By ALLISON NORLIAN

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Those who oppose the new Common Core curriculum have a new action plan, aimed at finding common ground with its creators. On Friday night,  Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R 115th District) gave details about the Apple Plan, what they call a, "cure for the core."

The Apple Plan was created from a compilation of details after multiple state Assembly-member's attended 11 different Common Core forums, listening to the public's complaints. The plan was sent to Education Commissioner John King with the hopes to backtrack and reform the core.

The Apple Plan consists of eight bullet points:

1.) Evaluate State Assessments and Curriculum- Prevent the State Education Department from requiring schools to use Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments until a comprehensive review of the Common Core  Standards and PARCC is considered. Upon review of the state assessments and curriculum, the new standards would be phased in on grade-by-grade level, starting in first grade.

2.) Funding Equity- Eliminate the GEA over three years. Provide state reimbursement for implementing teacher evaluations. Common Core, and PARCC. Provide reimbursement for school districts that expended resources to locally develop curriculum aligned to the Common Core Standards.

3.) Teacher Preparedness- Place a higher priority on providing professional development for instruction on the Common Core curriculum and the administration of the PARCC assessment.

4.) Teacher Involvement- Create an independent teacher panel to develop, review and approve age/developmentally-appropriate curriculum and assessments based on Common Core guidelines. Give teachers access to test results to provide feedback to students.

5.) Restrict the Use of Student Data- Limit the disclosure of student information by a school district or private school to those directly under the control of the district. Require written parental consent or written consent of an eligible student (those who are 18) prior to any information being disclosed to a contractor, consultant, or the third party.

6.) Equity for Special Education Students- Require testing to be conducted at the level decided on by the IEP team. Convene a work group to analyze the Common Core Standards, develop methods or different instruction for special-needs students, and identify best practices.

7.) 21st Century Pathways- Create alternate pathways to a high school diploma including a career and Technical Education pathway. Increase state funding for BOCES, thereby making BOCES a resource for school districts rather than a financial burden. Encourage the incorporation of instruction in career and technical skills in the classrooms.

8.( Revamp State Education Department- Allow the Governor to appoint the Commissioner of Education. Require any changes by the Board of Regents that impose an unfunded mandate on schools to be approved by the State Legislature and Government.

Assembly woman Tenney said she hopes this makes Commissioner King re-asses the Common Core, "What we're trying to do is take findings from the initial roll-out of the Common Core and what we see as issues and present data to the Governor, The State Education Department and Commissioner King and see if we can come up with adjustments through the State Education Department or directly through legislation to get the Governor and Legislature on board with that."

Local parents who oppose the Common Core are happy with the Apple Plan but feel parents and educators  who want change are still in for a long roller coaster ride.

"It's a refreshing change was my reaction when I first read it," Jessica McNair of New Hartford said, "Because as you know Assemblywoman Tenney hosted a forum in November for parents, teachers and students to be able to come to forum to express concerns. It's refreshing to see we've had those concerns documented."

McNair also said, " The Apple Plan is a start, but in my opinion we need to go above and beyond and way past that."

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