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Saranac Lake middle school students take the state standardized English language arts test. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy  Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Saranac Lake middle school students take the state standardized English language arts test. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Poll finds New Yorkers divided on Common Core

Even as New York's public schools are in the process of adopting the new Common Core learning standards, a new poll finds New Yorkers remain confused about their value.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

The Siena College poll finds voters are divided over the worth of the Common Core program, with around the same amount saying they are not confident that Common Core will result in better preparing students to be college or career ready as those who say that the new learning standards are on the right track.

Siena's Steve Greenberg says the numbers indicate state education officials, who have faced angry parents in several public meetings, have not done enough to sell Common Core.

"It's clear from looking at the Siena College poll data that state ed did not do a particularly great job of rolling out the Common Core," Greenberg said.

Despite the troubled implementation of Common Core, when voters were asked whether the state education department and state Board of Regents should continue to set education policy in general , or if the Governor should take it over,  the vast majority, 62 to 21 percent, said to leave the job to the education professionals, says Greenberg.

"They know that the governor, this governor or any governor, is a politician," Greenberg said. "I think they trust people who have a background in, who are charged with running education to set education policy, rather than a politician."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in an interview, dismissed the poll question on who should run education in New York as "silly."

The governor has appointed his own panel to study how to fix the Common Core implementation. Speaking in Niagara Falls this week, the governor said while there is consensus on the goals of Common Core, there's disagreement over how to get there.

"The implementation has been flawed, and it's been too hasty," said Cuomo. "It's created a lot of anxiety and we have to slow down the implementation."

Cuomo initially backed the fast tracking of Common Core.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has a representative on the governor's panel, says state education officials have also made some "thoughtful" recommendations on how to fix Common Core. The State Board of Regents recently voted to delay the effects of the new Common Core tests on high school seniors until 2017.

Assembly Democrats have more influence on who is chosen as a Board of Regents member, because the entire legislature elects the Regents, and Assembly Democrats have the largest numerical faction in the legislature. Speaker Silver says no one is to blame, though, for the botched rollout.

"We all share the same goal," Silver said. "And that's to improve our schools and help prepare our students to be successful."

The Speaker says if the governor's panel recommends further legislation to fix the adoption of Common Core, then the Assembly will consider it.

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