North Country Republican assemblymen promise 'Common Core' improvement plan
Friday, January 24, 2014 - 9:04 am

Assemblymen Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) and Marc W. Butler (R,C,I-Newport) and their Assembly Republican colleagues are unveiling a promised plan to improve the Common Core programs in schools in New York.

The Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan, which is aimed at reforming the implementation of Common Core in New York State, was developed after 11 public hearings around the state and comments from educators, school administrators, parents and students.

“The APPLE Plan is the result of listening and working with our parents, students and educators to fix the problems created by Common Core and to ensure our children receive the best education possible to prepare them to be successful in life,” said Butler.

Butler said that the abrupt implementation of the standards and testing left many schools minimally prepared, resulting in the districts having to adopt the plans suggested by the State Education Department, which educators found not only inaccurate but also age and developmentally inappropriate.

“I am proud to unveil the APPLE Plan as a comprehensive solution to the problems presented by Common Core,” said Blankenbush.

“This plan offers measures to help with funding and helping educators prepare for the new standards in a way that won’t negatively impact our students,” said the assemblyman from District 117, which includes parts of southwestern St. Lawrence County.

Assembly Republicans developed eight recommendations, many of which target other areas of concern in New York’s educational system, which became the APPLE Plan.

Blankenbush said funding issues are felt acutely in upstate, rural communities. He said the plan provides funding equity, ensuring that the state restores the school district funding cut in the 2011-12 budget to close the deficit.

The state has yet to repay the schools, which are strapped for cash after shouldering the cost of materials to implement the Common Core Standards, the statement from his ofice said.

The APPLE plan includes:

· Evaluating state assessments and curriculum

· Providing funding equity

· Preparing teachers with Career Development and Training for Common Core

· Allowing teacher involvement in approving age- and developmentally-appropriate material

· Restricting the use of student data

· Placing priority on a student’s individual needs, especially in the case of special needs students, requiring that their Individualized Education Plan supersede any Common Core Standards

· Creating a vocational and technical high school diploma, and

· Revamping the state Education Department with checks and balances from the legislature and the governor.

A copy of the recommendations is available online at: tinyurl.com/nyappleplan. The full report is at bit.ly/educationalcrossroads.