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For months, educators, policymakers, and parents in New York have been embroiled in debate about the future of the Common Core State Standards. Some have surfaced legitimate challenges in the work of getting the standards right. Others have worked hard to undermine assessment, accountability, and public information, all under the guise of implementation concerns.

In this highly charged space, the proposed New York State budget is an important and much-needed step in the right direction. It reflects a steadfast commitment to the standards while at the same time prompting thoughtful adjustments to their roll out.

Drawing heavily on recommendations from a panel of educators, policymakers, parents, business and higher education representatives, and civil rights leaders, the budget calls for:

  • Increased instructional supports for educators;
  • More and better outreach to parents;
  • Responsible student promotion and placement decisions based on more than a single test score; and
  • Resources to help districts clear out redundant or unnecessary tests.

This proposal doesn’t resolve everything. It doesn’t go far enough, for example, in establishing safeguards to ensure that students with disabilities aren’t pushed out of the assessment system. And it may unnecessarily limit the state’s ability to generate useful public reporting of data in the future. But the proposal does resolve most of the major issues currently in contention.

It would be naïve, of course, to assume that these adjustments will ensure a smooth path for the standards going forward. Change as big as what’s demanded by the Common Core will require educators, systems, and students to work in ways they never have before. Further bumps in the road are inevitable.

But let’s hope that this proposal signals the end of the draining, counterproductive debate about whether we should even have these standards and the beginning of a concerted effort to get educators and students the support they need to live up to the promise of the Common Core.

In other words, it’s time for New Yorkers to stop talking and get back to the very good work that they were doing before everything got sidetracked.

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