Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New York's Revisions to the Common Core

The latest out of NY State is that they are easing the requirements for passing the new common core exams for high school students until 2022.  They are also pouring tons more money intro curriculum and professional development for public school teachers. (FINALLY)  Realistically, this does nothing to help the thousands of yeshiva and private school students that will take the common core Algebra exam next year and possibly the English exam.  It does make geometry optional for next year, or rather, they will take the better of the two scores.  They did confess that the role out of the new standards was not well planned and did not go smoothly.

How are private and yeshiva schools suppose to adjust for this incredibly new difficult set of standards without even a full sample exam in each to go off of for preparation for students?  This remains to be seen.  Regardless, the Common Core is coming to NY and coming fast.  While students will be allowed to graduate with a 65 on a common core exam, this says nothing of what standards CUNY or any other state school will require from our students once these new exams are in effect.  It also says nothing of what teachers should do to now implement pre-Calculus applications into the 9th grade algebra curriculum.

For us at Magen David, I have coordinate a simple solution.  Since each year that a new common core exam is being rolled out, the first year will be optional and the second mandatory, we are opting to not take the exam the first year, but rather wait until that one is published and can be reviewed by our faculty and administration to better prepare our curriculum and students to understand the requirements.  For example, this year, the Algebra exam is being given.  However, our students are not going to be taking the new common core exam, instead, they will take the old regents exam.

This will enable us throughout the year to harvest as much information about the new standards and their implementation visa via testing as possible and this June rework our curriculum fully for next years freshman algebra classes.  We plan on doing the same with geometry next year and English.  Hence, we will have a year more than public schools to prep for the exam.  This extra year will also guarantee us that any changes possibly made to the common core exams after their initial implementations will not cause us to have to further change curriculum again, we can change it once.  We have begun to look at the freshman English curriculum and I have re-written most of it to correspond to the common core, however, we do not so for sure what the junior year exam will look like.  So, next year when it's rolled out, we can begin to work on the sophomore and junior curriculum in more depth.