Common Core Task Force

Common Core Task Force

About the Task Force

About the Task Force

Learning standards should be strong, accurate and fair, because having the highest standards is critical to ensuring that students are educated and prepared for their futures in college or the workforce. However, the Common Core program’s flawed rollout by the State Education Department has caused disruption and anxiety that must be fixed, including testing aligned to the standards.
With that in mind, the Task Force is charged to:
  1. Review and reform the Common Core State Standards;
  2. Review New York State’s curriculum guidance and resources;
  3. Develop a process to ensure tests fit curricula and standards;
  4. Examine the impact of the current moratorium on recording Common Core test scores on student records, and make a recommendation as to whether it should be extended;
  5. Examine how the State and local districts can reduce both the quantity and duration of student tests, and develop a plan whereby districts include parents in reviewing local tests being administered to analyze those tests’ purpose and usefulness; and
  6. Review the quality of the tests to ensure competence and professionalism from the private company creating and supplying the tests.
Task Force is to conduct its process as transparently as possible and to solicit and consider input from regional advisory councils comprised of parents, teachers and educators across the state. The Task Force’s report will be issued publicly by the end of the year so that it can be reviewed by all and changes can be implemented quickly and effectively.

Task Force Members

Task Force Members

The Common Core Task Force includes representation from a broad group of stakeholders, including educators, teachers, parents, State Education Department officials, teachers’ union officials, and bipartisan legislators from the Assembly and Senate.

The Task Force will include members of the Governor’s successful New NY Education Reform Commission, which played an instrumental role in developing a blueprint to improve the quality of education for all students through its final report in January 2014. Richard Parsons, who chaired that Commission, will return to lead the Governor’s Common Core Task Force. Mr. Parsons is Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners Inc. and former Chairman of the Board, Citigroup Inc.

Representatives on the Task Force include:


Richard D. Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners, LLC

Richard Parsons is a Senior Advisor at Providence Equity Partners, Inc., a leading private equity investment firm specializing in media, communications and information companies. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, Inc., and was the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Time Warner, Inc. In its January 2005 edition on America’s Best CEOs, Institutional Investor magazine named Mr. Parsons the top CEO in the entertainment industry. From May through September, 2014, Mr. Parsons served as the Interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Before joining Time Warner, in 1995, Mr. Parsons was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dime Bancorp, Inc., one of the largest thrift institutions in the United States. Previously, he was the managing partner of the New York law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler. Prior to that, he held various positions in state and federal government, as counsel for Nelson Rockefeller and as a senior White House aide under President Gerald Ford. Mr. Parsons received his undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii and his legal training at Union University’s Albany Law School.

In 2008, Mr. Parsons served as a member of then President-Elect Barack Obama’s Economic Transition Team. More recently, he served as a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and also served as the Chairman of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New NY Education Reform Commission. His other civic and non-profit commitments include Chairman Emeritus of the Partnership for New York City; Chairman of the Apollo Theater Foundation; and of the Jazz Foundation of America. He also serves on the boards of Teach for America, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Mr. Parsons is a member of the boards of the Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Lazard Frères and Company, and Madison Square Garden, Inc.

Heather Buskirk, Mohawk Valley Master Teacher; Science Teacher, Johnstown High School

Heather Buskirk has been teaching for 10 years. She teaches physics and math at Johnstown High School, and is an integral part of designing and teaching at the Learning Project, a STEM academy for Johnstown students.

The Learning Project is a fully integrated project based learning program for seniors for which they receive credit for math, physics, participation in government, economics and English through real-world project experiences.

In addition to her school responsibilities, Ms. Buskirk is an instructional coach in the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery P-TECH program where she works with students and provides support for teachers using project based learning to design and deliver curriculum.

Within the NYS Master Teacher Program, Ms. Buskirk is a member of the Project-Based Learning Professional Learning Team and facilitated a workshop for her peers entitled “Project Based Learning 101.”

She is also a member of the NYS Master Teacher Program Delegation to the TeachNY Advisory Council, through which the State University of New York has convened state and national experts to ensure that there are clear policies in place that both enable and help sustain exemplary teacher and leader preparation practice and address persistent challenges throughout the education pipeline for students.

Heather Buskirk earned her BA in astronomy and physics and Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Virginia. She became a Knowles Science Teaching Fellow in 2004, and continues as a Senior Fellow. After earning her National Board Certification in 2010, Ms. Buskirk became a candidate support provider and served on the committee to revise the National Board's Standards for Accomplished Science Teaching.

Geoffrey Canada, President, Harlem Children’s Zone

Having worked with the Harlem Children’s Zone® for more than 30 years, Geoffrey Canada is renowned around the world for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem, and as a thought leader and passionate advocate for education reform.

From 1990 to 2014, Mr. Canada served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Harlem Children’s Zone, which The New York Times called “one of the most ambitious social-policy experiments of our time.” In 2011, Mr. Canada was named to the TIME 100 list of most influential people in the world and, in March 2014, was named one of Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders in the world. As of July 1, 2014, Mr. Canada stepped down as CEO, handing the reins to COO Anne Williams-Isom. He continues to serve as President of the HCZ and Promise Academy Boards.

Under Mr. Canada’s visionary leadership, HCZ has become a national model and the subject of significant media attention. Mr. Canada and HCZ have been featured in the documentary Waiting for “Superman,” as well as on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson Cooper 360°, Black in America 2, The Charlie Rose Show, This American Life, and in articles in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The Associated Press. In 2008, Houghton Mifflin published Whatever It Takes, by Paul Tough, a detailed look at the work of Mr. Canada and HCZ.

Mr. Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he achieved great academic success, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After graduating, Mr. Canada began his life’s work helping children who, like himself, grew up in poor, distressed neighborhoods.

Mr. Canada has written two books: Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America (1995; reissued as a graphic novel in 2010) and Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America (1998). A strong voice in public debates on education, he also has written for a number of publications, including op-eds for The New York Times and Daily News; gave a TED Talk on our failing schools and the need for innovation that was broadcast on PBS; and has spoken to audiences around the world about what it takes to help children succeed, from evaluation to early childhood education and beyond.

Mr. Canada was selected to serve on the Governor’s New NY Education Reform Commission in 2012 and on the Smart Schools Commission in 2014. In 2011, he was appointed to the New York State Governor’s Council of Economic and Fiscal Advisors. In 2006, Mr. Canada was selected by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to serve as co-chair of the Commission on Economic Opportunity, responsible for formulating a plan to significantly reduce poverty. He is also an advisor to and board member of several nonprofit organizations.

Carol L. Conklin-Spillane, Principal, Sleepy Hollow High

Carol L. Conklin-Spillane has been recognized nationally for her achievements in developing school programs and practices that lead to high graduation rates. . She is a Faculty member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and has presented for NASSP on School Based Practices that Support Success for English Language Learners, for The College Board on Making the Case for Open Enrollment in Advanced Placement Classes, and for the US Department of Education on Achieving High Graduation Rates and Preventing Dropouts. Ms. Conklin-Spillane was the keynote speaker “True Confessions of a Turn Around Principal” for the South Carolina Department of Education’s Summer Leadership Institute, was co-presenter of Continuity for Change: A Case Study of a Successful High School Principal for AERA. She has provided policy briefings to Congressional staff and on Personalizing Learning as Essential to the Reform Agenda on behalf of NASSP and the Alliance for Education and was a featured presenter at the NASSP/CSSR National School Showcase.

Ms. Conklin-Spillane has been Principal of Sleepy Hollow High School in New York since 1994. SHHS serves a socio-economically and ethnically diverse community 20 miles north of New York City and in 2015 was identified as a School of Opportunity. She serves as a consultant to NYS school districts through Northern Westchester BOCES, specializing in enhancing leadership at the middle and high school level, supporting English language learners, improving school climate, making the shift to block scheduling and providing opportunity through open enrollment Prior to her tenure in the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, she was an assistant high school principal and junior high school principal, beginning her career as a special education teacher in 1979. Under her leadership, in 2008 Sleepy Hollow High School was identified as A Best Practices High School by The Magellan Foundation; one of three New York State high schools featured as model schools whose practices and outcomes align with research on high school reform and achievement and then in 2009 SHHS was featured on the US. Department of Education’s Doing What Works website. In 2011, Ms. Conklin-Spillane received the Pace University Partnership Award in recognition of all she has done to enhance the professional development of current and future teachers, and in 2012 she was selected as Outstanding Regional Administrator of the Year by ESSAA. Sleepy Hollow High School was been named a Breakthrough High School for 2014 by NASSP/MetLife Foundation for high achievement despite challenges, personalizing learning to meet the needs of all students. In 2014 ASCD released a DVD “Common Core Insider HS Math” which tells the story of how Sleepy Hollow High School is transforming teaching and learning to meet new challenges and support student success for all. In 2014 Principal Leadership Magazine published Mrs. Conklin-Spillane's article, "Modeling the Mission" and featured Sleepy Hollow High School in its Breakthrough 2014 edition.

Ms. Conklin-Spillane holds a BA in Education from Marymount College, an MS in Special Education from Fordham University and a Professional Diploma in Administration and Supervision.

MaryEllen Elia, Commissioner of the New York State Education Department

On May 26, 2015, The New York State Board of Regents voted to appoint MaryEllen Elia as Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). She began in her new position on July 6. USNY comprises more than 7,000 public and independent elementary and secondary schools; 270 public, independent and proprietary colleges and universities; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; 25 public broadcasting facilities; 3,000 historical repositories; 436 proprietary schools; 52 professions encompassing more than 850,000 licensees plus 240,000 certified educators; and services for children and adults with disabilities.

Prior to coming to New York State, Ms. Elia served as superintendent in Hillsborough County, Florida from 2005 to 2015, where she is credited with successfully raising standards and raising student achievement. During her 10-year tenure, Ms. Elia partnered with teachers to develop a comprehensive, multiple measure evaluation system for teachers called Empowering Effective Teachers. Hillsborough County public schools were recognized in Florida and nationally for developing the system, and both U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten have praised the system for the extensive supports it provides for teachers and its pay structure that incentivizes teachers to take on more challenging positions.

Ms. Elia is the 2015 Florida Superintendent of the Year and was one of four finalists for the 2015 National Superintendent of the Year award.

Ms. Elia was born, raised, and attended school in Western New York. After graduating high school from Stella Niagara in Lewiston, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Daemen College in Buffalo, a Master of Education from the University at Buffalo, and a Master of Professional Studies from SUNY Buffalo.

In 1970, Ms. Elia became a social studies teacher in the Sweet Home Central School District. For the next 16 years, she taught a number of history, government, and economics courses to students in grades nine through 12. When her family moved to Florida in 1986, she became a reading teacher in the Hillsborough County school district. Between 1989 and 2005, Ms. Elia held various administrative positions in the district, including General Director of Secondary Education and Chief Facilities Officer.

Constance Evelyn, Superintendent, Valley Stream School District

Constance Evelyn assumed the role of Superintendent of the Valley Stream School District in July 2015. She came to Valley Stream from the Auburn Enlarged City School District, where she served as Superintendent of Schools since August 2012.

Ms. Evelyn was previously Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in the Ithaca City School District. She has also served as Middle School Principal in both Oswego and Rome City Schools; as Assistant Principal at Rome Free Academy; and as a Learning Specialist and Special Education teacher in the Bedford Central School District.

Ms. Evelyn was selected to serve on the Smart Schools Commission in 2014.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from the College of Staten Island, a Master’s of Science degree in Special Education PreK-12, and Supervision and Administrative degree from Long Island University. She is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in Education Leadership at the Sage Colleges in Albany.

Catalina R. Fortino, Vice President, NYSUT

Catalina R. Fortino was the vice president for education and the director of the United Federation of Teachers' Teacher Center before her election as a NYSUT vice president in April 2014.

Ms. Fortino is a nationally recognized expert in professional development, curriculum, assessments and program development in the teaching profession and has distinguished herself among the educators who specialize in school reform for high-needs schools.

Before turning her focus to professional development and the Teacher Center, Ms. Fortino was an early childhood teacher, a teacher of bilingual early childhood special education and a bilingual educational evaluator.

She has been the chair of the NYSUT Bilingual Committee of Practitioners, the co-chair of the New York State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, a member of the New York State Committee of Title I Practitioners and a member of the American Federation of Teachers English Language Learners Task Force.

Ms. Fortino has a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in special education and bilingual education from Queens College. She also studied curriculum development at Teachers College.

Kishayna Hazlewood, 3rd Grade Teacher at P.S. 156 in Brooklyn

Kishayna Hazlewood is a proud public school teacher in her tenth year of teaching. She is also a mother of two sons who are products of the public school system. As a parent she served on her children's School Leadership team. Her oldest son is a recent college graduate and her youngest is in his last year of high school.

Ms. Hazlewood holds New York State teaching certifications in both childhood education and special education and is currently a candidate for National Board Certification.

She holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from Baruch College and a Masters in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College. Currently she is pursuing a second Masters in Educational Leadership.

Born and raised in Brownsville Brooklyn, Ms. Hazlewood is strongly committed to the children and families of the community. Her entire teaching career has been in the community, and for the last nine years she has taught third grade at PS 156, a Community Learning school in Brownsville. She serves on P.S. 156's Community Learning School advisory board and is co-chair of the vertical planning team. As a strong believer in equity of education and opportunity for all children, she is highly committed to the success of all of our students.

Tim Kremer, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA)

Tim Kremer has been the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) since 1998. Before joining the NYSSBA, Mr. Kremer was employed by the Ohio School Boards Association for nearly 20 years.

As NYSSBA’s chief executive officer, Mr. Kremer leads the Association’s staff of 56 professionals in fulfilling its mission of providing advocacy, information, leadership development programs and customized consulting services for the state’s nearly 700 school boards. He is a frequent spokesman for NYSSBA to the membership, media, legislative bodies and other related organizations. He is a sought-after presenter at various professional workshops and seminars.Mr. Kremer’s areas of expertise include association leadership, legislative advocacy, school board governance, executive recruitment and development, organizational change and public relations. Mr. Kremer has co-authored three handbooks: one on the school board presidency, a second on the school board/superintendent relationship and a third regarding school district management team operations. He also is a regular contributor to many professional publications, including NYSSBA’s own award winning newspaper, On Board.

Mr. Kremer has a master’s degree in public administration from Ohio State University, where he specialized in human resource administration and labor relations. He also earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University, majoring in political science.

Mr. Kremer and his wife, Jaye, are the parents of three sons.

Senator Carl Marcellino, Chair of the Senate Education Committee

Senator Carl Louis Marcellino was elected to represent the Fifth Senate District on March 14, 1995. He is Chairman of one of the Senate’s senior committees, the Senate Education Committee and Vice Chairman of the Transportation Committee. Senator Marcellino also serves as a member on the Senate Committees on Rules, Finance, Banks, Consumer Protection, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Environmental Conservation, and Labor. From 1995 to 2008 he served in the capacity of the Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Senator Marcellino is Chairman of the Oyster Bay Western Waterfront Committee, founding member of the State Advisory Board of the National Environmental Policy Institute, former President of the New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators and is currently Chairman of the Council of State Governments.

Senator Marcellino was born on December 23, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York and attended public schools in Queens. He earned both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees from New York University and a Professional Diploma in Administration and Supervision from St. John's University. After a 20 year career as a science teacher and administrator in the New York City School system, Senator Marcellino was elected as the Oyster Bay Town Clerk, a position he held until his Senate election.

Senator Marcellino and his wife, Patricia Marcellino, Ed.D, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University and Professor of Education Leadership, are long time Syosset residents and have two children, Jean and Carl.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan represents the 37th Assembly District in Queens County, which includes the historic New York City neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth, Dutch Kills and Blissville. She was first elected to the Assembly in 1984.

A resident of the district for most of her life, she is a graduate of St. Aloysius R.C. School and Grover Cleveland High School. Assemblywoman Nolan graduated from New York University cum laude with a B.A. degree in Political Science.

Assemblywoman Nolan was appointed Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Education in 2006. She has spearheaded efforts to achieve class size reduction, universal pre-k, middle school initiatives, improve high school graduation rates, student data privacy protections and other measures that will ultimately mean success for the more than three million school children in New York State. As a parent of a public school student, Assemblywoman Nolan brings a parent’s perspective to the ongoing education dialogue.

Assemblywoman Nolan was also selected to serve on the New NY Education Reform Commission in 2012 and on the Common Core Implementation Panel in 2014. In addition, she serves on the Ways and Means Committee, the Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Corporations committees. Previously, Assemblywoman Nolan Chaired the Assembly’s Committee on Banks and the Committee on Labor. For many years in the legislature Assemblywoman Nolan was the Assembly’s representative to the MTA Capital Program Review Board, where she successfully signed the third MTA Capital Plan, driving millions of dollars to mass transit. Assemblywoman Nolan previously chaired the Real Property Taxation Committee, the NYS Assembly Commission on State-Federal Relations, and the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

Assemblywoman Nolan is active in many civic associations in her district where she has been the recipient of numerous awards.She lives with her husband, Gerard Marsicano, and son Nicholas in Ridgewood.

Samuel Radford III, President, District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo

Samuel L. Radford, IIII, currently serves as President of the District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo, an organization responsible for representing parent interests within the Buffalo Public Schools District. As a matter of public policy, Mr. Radford’s interests lay at the intersection of parent engagement, student academic achievement and district-level education policy. A native of Buffalo, Mr. Radford excelled in public schools and graduated from Buffalo’s Hutchinson-Central Technical High School. Upon high school graduation, Mr. Radford served honorably in the United States Marine Corps. As a teacher, he has taught math at Buffalo’s Stepping Stone Academy and has lectured on organizing and empowerment at The United States Air Force Academy, SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, SUNY Albany, Howard University, MoreHouse College, Spellman College, Miami Police Department, Buffalo Public Schools District, NYS Department of Labor and the MLK Center in Atlanta, among other institutions.

Mr. Radford has been involved in public school activism since 1990, when he became Chairperson of the Overall Policy Council for Head Start of Western New York. He later served as Student Government President at Erie County Community College and SUNY Statewide Student Association Vice-President. In Buffalo he acted as community organizer for C.R.U.C.I.A.L. Human Services as well as Group Home Coordinator for Berkshire Farms Center and Services for Youth. Currently he is Co-Chair for the Millions More Movement Buffalo Local Action Committee and recently participated in President Obama’s White House Community Leadership Briefing and served on the White House Community Leadership Council for Education. He is Director of Buffalo’s Masten Resource Center of the Community Action Organization of Erie County. He is the recipient of many community awards including: the 2009 Buffalo’s Umoja Man of the Year Award, the 2009 Association of Black Social Workers Community Service Award, the 2010 Black Achievers Award, the 2011 Phi Beta Sigma Education Community Service Award, the 2013 Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, and Buffalo News 2011 Citizen of the Year Award.

Mr. Radford has studied at Erie Community College and has a B.S. from SUNY Empire State College.

Carrie Remis, Rochester Area Parent

Carrie Remis began her career in education in 1994 as an advocate for New York State's community college system, representing both the college presidents and boards of trustees in Albany. A native of Rochester, she returned home to serve on the administration of the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music and the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education. She later joined the administration of the Nazareth Schools, an independent pre-K- 12 Catholic school system with a long tradition of excellence and diversity.

It was as a parent leader in the Rochester City School District that Ms. Remis became concerned about inequities within the public school system and the limited opportunities for meaningful community participation to address these systemic problems. In 2006 she co-founded the Rochester Fund for Educational Accountability, an all-volunteer organization providing technical assistance and training to communities invoking their rights under federal education law. In 2009 she founded the Parent Power Project, aimed at building the advocacy capacity of parent organizations across the state.

In 2012, Governor Cuomo appointed Ms. Remis as the sole parent representative to his New York Education Reform Commission. Ms. Remis has been a vocal proponent of greater transparency and parental involvement in education policy discussions. In 2013, Ms. Remis co-chaired Mayor Warren's Early Learning Council which recommended city-wide measures to eliminate barriers to high quality early childhood education.

Ms. Remis is a former member of the Democrat and Chronicle's Board of Contributors and frequent contributor of articles on education reform. She serves on the boards of the Opportunity in Education Coalition, the National School Choice Week Coalition, the Center for Educational Justice and the New York Campaign for Achievement Now. In addition, she is an active member of the League of Women Voters and an advisor to Girls4STEM, an organization of Monroe County high school girls working to close the gender gap in STEM education.

Ms. Remis holds a bachelor's degree in History from the State University of New York at Albany. She and her husband Tom, an attorney, are natives of Rochester, NY. Their daughter is enrolled in a Greater Rochester area high school.

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO

Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Ms. Weingarten served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law and education.

Ms. Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law. She worked as a lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986. She is an active member of the Democratic National Committee and numerous professional, civic and philanthropic organizations. Born in 1957 and raised in Rockland County, NY, Ms. Weingarten now resides on Long Island and in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Weingarten’s column “What Matters Most” appears in the New York Times’ Sunday Review the third Sunday of each month. You can follow her on Twitter at @rweingarten or on Facebook.

Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York (SUNY)

In June 2009 Nancy L. Zimpher became the 12th Chancellor of the State University of New York. With nearly 463,000 students and 64 colleges and universities, SUNY is the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education.

Chancellor Zimpher is active in numerous state and national education organizations, and is a recognized leader in the areas of teacher preparation, urban education, and university-community engagement, including as a leader of Higher Ed for Higher Standards, which serves as a vehicle for mobilizing support of the Common Core Standards.

She currently serves as chair of the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Association of System Heads. From 2012-2013 she was chair of CEOs for Cities, and from 2005 to 2011 she led the national Coalition of Urban Serving Universities. As co-founder of StriveTogether, Dr. Zimpher has been instrumental in creating a national network of innovative systemic partnerships that holistically address challenges across the education pipeline.

Prior to coming to SUNY, Dr. Zimpher served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University. She has authored or co-authored numerous books, monographs, and academic journal articles on teacher education, urban education, academic leadership, and school/university partnerships.

Chancellor Zimpher holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education and Speech, a master’s degree in English Literature, and a Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Higher Education Administration, all from The Ohio State University.



Laura L. Anglin, President, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU)

“Ensuring that students have the opportunity to be prepared for college and their future careers is critically important, arguably now more than ever, as New York State students need to remain competitive.
We applaud the Common Core Task Force’s commitment to creating an even stronger foundation for students and are supportive of efforts to improve the quality of learning in schools throughout the state.”

Jared Bloom, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum, South Huntington School District

"The Common Core Taskforce that Governor Cuomo has put together gives us the chance to address the concerns that parents, teachers and students have about the system with accuracy and finality. Certainly we all agree that it is critical that we maintain high learning standards in order to give our children the best education possible. I am encouraged by the Governor's willingness to entertain these discussions as they can help provide the momentum we need to build consensus."

Thomas Bongiovi, Superintendent of Port Jervis Schools

“The Common Core rollout has caused concern among many parents and educators, and it is crucial that we address those concerns and make the system the strong and sensible learning standard it was always supposed to be. I believe the Governor’s Task Force gives us to the opportunity to accomplish exactly that goal, by acknowledging those concerns, addressing their root causes, and improving the Common Core such that it truly benefits every student in every school. I am eager for the Task Force’s ultimate recommendations, and support the Governor in this effort to improve New York’s learning standards.”

Derrell Bradford, Executive Director, NYCAN

“Every child – no matter where they go to school - deserves the opportunity to grow and achieve their goals– and this begins and ends with consistent and high educational standards. Although the latest implementation of the Common Core standards has caused a significant amount of discomfort among parents and teachers, Governor Cuomo is taking the lead with this Task Force to address their anxiety while simultaneously ensuring that our schools are implementing high standards. This task force will play a key role in informing how to best serve our students to prepare each and every one of them for success, and will be a major step in the right direction."

Nicole Brisbane, DFER-NY State Director

"Ensuring high standards for our students is of the utmost importance as they enter into the global workforce. We applaud the Common Core Task Force's preservation of high standards for our students in New York so that they are college and career ready. We must continue to move forward with eyes focused on what matters most to student achievement and honor the work of our teachers who ensure the highest quality education possible. We look forward to working alongside Democrats to deliver on the promise of high quality education for all."

Nicole Brisbane, DFER-NY State Director

New York’s future success is dependent upon continuing to hold our students to high educational standards that prepare them to enter an increasingly competitive and global workforce. This is why it is so important for the State to convene a diverse group of stakeholders through the Common Core Task Force to address issues surrounding the implementation of the Common Core so that we can provide our children with the best educational experience possible. I am hopeful that this group can help all stakeholders move forward united behind the idea that high academic standards only means success for our students.

Dr. Allen Buyck, Broome-Tioga BOCES Superintendent

"I am in favor of having the State Education Department work closely with the Governor's Commission to really define the issue we are trying to solve and to make careful adjustments in a thoughtful way that does not undo much of the good that has happened in many of our schools."

Katie Campos, Executive Director, Teach for America - Buffalo

“We support the Common Core in New York State, and also believe that the Common Core implementation system must be fixed, because we need to have learning standards that prepare our children to achieve their full potential, and that accurately reflect student performance. The Governor’s Common Core Task Force is a vital step toward making sure that those improvements are made, and I am very excited by this action. Working together with all stakeholders, I believe we can fix the issues that have plagued the system’s implementation from its start, and give our students the best education in the nation.”

Geoffrey Canada, President of the Harlem Children’s Zone

“Our students deserve the best education – and that’s why we need the highest possible standards to challenge students and help them reach their full potential. The recommendations from the Governor’s Common Core Task Force will keep expectations for students high while fixing the problems we have seen over the past few years. It is the type of reform we need to improve learning statewide and give children the high-quality learning opportunities we have so long been fighting for. The Task Force undertook a thorough review in making these recommendations – now we need to move forward and make them happen.”

Mary Louise Cohen, President of the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Summit Council

"There is no denying that the roll-out of the Common Core was flawed, and Governor Cuomo is right to want to fix the system and ensure that our schools have the highest standards of learning. Forming a Taskforce of educators, parents, administrators and various other officials to examine the problems and address the leading concerns is the right move, and I am proud to see it taking place. All parties involved want to do the right thing for the children of this state and I look forward to seeing this Taskforce help the Governor make New York’s education system once again the best in the nation.”

Harriet Cornell, Rockland County Legislator and Chair of the 21st Century Collaborative for Children Youth not-for-profit organization

“There is nothing more important than a child’s education and the abilities needed to become a productive citizen. A task Force composed of those who understand how children learn at different stages of their development—dedicated teachers, parents, school administrators, education researchers, school board members--to tackle the problems that have plagued Common Core and seek common ground in a way that is relevant to our state, is good news. I am pleased to see that there are two people on the new Task Force who know Rockland County well: Randi Weingarten who grew up here and who returns frequently to visit schools and support Rockland 21C and Carol Conklin who was an Assistant Principal here for a number of years. It is very important that the work of this Task Force be open and transparent, and I hope and believe that there will be many opportunities for members of the public to be heard. Children count on grown-ups to do the right thing. This Task Force can make a meaningful contribution to education.”

Joseph DeStefano, Middletown Mayor

“New York’s students deserve a fair and accurate assessment of their performance, and the truth is that the common core is in much need of a restart. Governor Cuomo has shown that he understands the stress and anxiety caused by a faulty rollout of the current common core, and he is acting on that to improve education for all students by appointing this Task Force. I believe the group’s recommendations will be vital to shaping the best education system through a strengthened common core.”

Mike Ginestre, Principal of Sherman Central School

“The Common Core brought us a set of improved, rigorous standards designed to prepare our children to achieve their full potential in life. That is why it’s imperative that we continue to move forward with the program. I believe the information available to educators now on how to improve our practice is better than ever and continuing to improve. The Governor’s Common Core Task Force's primary function is to continue to review the State’s learning standards in conjunction with administrators, teachers, and parents to meet the needs of our 21st century learners.”

Carol Hay, Retired Superintendent for the Panama Central Schools

“Comfort in the classroom is key to success, which is why we are thankful that Governor Cuomo understands the level of anxiety that SED’s common core rollout has placed on students and parents. We now have an opportunity to make New York’s education system a world-class system, and thank Governor Cuomo for his continued hard work on this issue.”

Mike Hein, Ulster County Executive

“We are pleased that Governor Andrew Cuomo has convened a task force to address fundamental concerns with common core and brought together stakeholders to address necessary changes. This means real opportunity for change and the potential to address concerns from parents and teachers alike.”

High Achievement New York State (HANYS)

“We agree with Governor Cuomo that there is nothing common about New York, and all of its 2.6 million public schools kids deserve an uncommonly great education. Common Core learning standards and assessing college and career readiness are vital to reaching that goal. Unfortunately, right now New York also has some uncommonly big problems in educating our kids, including a serious achievement gap where too many minority and low income children are stuck with a separate and unequal education, high remediation rates at SUNY and CUNY colleges where students arrive unable to read and write at basic levels, and the largest per-pupil spending in the country – without the results to show for it."

"We’re optimistic that the Governor’s Task Force will help build confidence among the majority of New Yorkers in higher standards and aligned assessments, and believe adding new voices will help. We must recognize that there have already been smart improvements made to better implement Common Core – like reducing testing and prep time, increasing transparency, and improving teacher development opportunities. But no level of additional changes will satisfy 'opt out' organizers, who want only to end higher learning standards in New York. And that is not an acceptable outcome. We are heartened that parent leader Carrie Remis of Rochester is a member of the Task Force and look forward to our other coalition members having the opportunity to provide meaningful input and ideas to the group.”

High Achievement New York (HANYS)

“The Task Force recommendations are a win for high learning standards and quality annual assessments in New York. But more important, keeping our standards and assessments in place and improving them over time is a win for 2.6 million public school kids. “The Task Force took the critical first step – listening to parents, teachers and community and business leaders about how to strengthen New York’s higher standards. But now the hard work begins so we can ensure that every child, no matter the zip code they live in, has a high quality education. “Let’s be clear though, any review must result in the highest standards to ensure college and career readiness for all of New York's students, and during the process the State must ensure all assessments remain aligned to the standards. This review should be the final word so our educators and students can finally have certainty when it comes to the rigorous standards they are following. “The report calls for smart steps that HANY has advocated – like changing the name of the standards, ensuring shorter, age appropriate tests and providing more feedback to teachers – that should give communities real comfort and build support for standards and assessments. “Make no mistake however, the improvements recommended by the Task Force won’t be enough for opt out organizers, who refuse to take yes for an answer. Their real goal is to destroy higher Common Core standards and return to an old, failed system in New York that left generations of children behind. “We’re grateful to the Governor and the Task Force for a report that ensures New York will not pull the rug out from under five years of hard work. And we look forward to finally putting the politics of higher standards and assessments behind so they fully can take root in the classroom.”

James Hodge, Board Chair Long Beach Martin Luther King Center & Myrnissa A. Stone-Sumair, Executive Director​

"At MLK we are committed to working hard to fight for the very best for our children and the betterment of our community. Quality education is the key to unlocking doors for our young people in the future. We commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership on such a critical issue and for the creation of this Task Force on Common Core. It is a sign of strength to take on the challenge of reviewing best practices and implementation in fighting for what is best for our children. We applaud the governor for his continued efforts and for listening to parent concerns as he continues to focus on the needs of students as the top priority. When our children are prepared we all win and the governor has clearly chosen to prepare our kids to succeed in what is an increasingly globally competitive world. Our students have the potential to compete with the rest of the world, when leaders provide the very best and prepare them well. We look forward to the work of the task force to review the steps necessary to achieve a fair child centered process, with the primary goal of giving the children of NY the very best, as they deserve."

Dan Holtzman, Vice President of the Suffolk County High School Principals Association

“I thank the Common Core Task Force for making parents and educators an integral part of the reform process. This report is proof that that our voices were truly heard….I am very appreciative of that. I look forward to continuing this open-line of dialogue and communication that has been started in hopes of fostering improvements together.”

DuWayne Gregory, Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature

“Providing a high quality education in New York for our students depends on developing fair but strong standards to ensure academic success. I thank the Governor for listening to the needs of so many parents and educators in working to fix the Common Core system. This task force represents an important step forward in the effort to make New York’s schools the best in the nation.”

Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President

“In New York and across the country, Common Core has been more of a common problem. Many parents -- certainly from every neighborhood in Queens -- agree that we need standards. That is not the issue. As a parent who does homework with my second grader every day, the curriculum and implementation are clearly flawed. I am pleased the Governor is addressing the concerns of parents and is committed to swift and comprehensive reforms.”

Peter Knuepfer, President, University Faculty Senate at SUNY

“The development of high standards for our young people in the k-12 system is essential for their success in life, and I commend the Task Force for continuing to recognize this. I welcome the opportunity for college and university faculty in our education schools and other content-area departments to engage with their counterparts in k-12 education to design meaningful standards tailored to the students of New York State. And it is my fervent hope that what will emerge is a stronger education system that improves the readiness of our students for their next steps in life, whether in higher education or directly in the job market.”

Peter Knuepfer, President, University Faculty Senate at SUNY

”The Common Core standards provide a framework to better prepare students for college and the jobs of the 21st century. Yet the roll-out of Common Core in New York has been problematic, especially regarding the assessments that have been used. This initiative by Governor Cuomo offers the promise of improved implementation of the standards, even appropriate modification to the standards themselves, for the betterment of our children’s education. Close cooperation between the Common Core Task Force and the State Education Department will be an essential element to moving the initiative forward to success.”

Reggie Lucas, President, Hempstead Coordinating Council of Civic Associations
“As an advocate for equality for many years, I am committed to the very best for our kids and meeting their full potential. The Common Core rollout has raised a lot of worry and concerns on the part of parents and educators. I respect and commend the governor for his willingness to listen without giving up on our kids. Education is the great equalizer and giving our children the best chance to succeed means focusing on the children, and giving them the quality education and standards that will allow them to compete with other students across the country and overseas. Governor Cuomo has taken an important step in listening to concerns of parents and educators by creating the Common Core Task Force to review the best approaches to moving this goal forward. I look forward to the recommendations of the task force and support the governor's commitment to continue improving education while engaging parents and educators in this discussion.”
Dr. Julie Lutz, Chief Operating Officer at Eastern Suffolk BOCES
“I am very pleased that the Governor’s Common Core Task Force has listened to the field and is recommending a variety of things that will insure the continuation of high quality standards in the New York with a process that is transparent and includes educators at all levels. Equally important is a moratorium on the connection between students assessment results and the evaluation of teachers until the present system can be reviewed and revamped. I applaud the work of the Task Force and look forward to refocusing on the business of educating the students in this state without all of the distractions that have taken the focus away from that vitally important work.”

Brenda McDuffie, President of the Buffalo Urban League

“Parents need to have faith in their child’s education system, but with the way the Common Core was rolled out, many people have valid concerns, and there are flaws that must be addressed. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for convening this panel so that we can not only restore confidence in how our children are being educated, but also in the standards to which they are being held. This is a strong step in the right direction.”

Marcus J. Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive

“I applaud the Governor for launching the Common Core Task Force to address concerns raised by parents, teachers and students related to the program and its implementation. The Task Force has a tremendous opportunity to ensure New York has a world-class education system, and I look forward to reviewing the their recommendations.”

Dilip Nath, Community Education Council Member- D26 and PTA President, MS 216 Ryan Middle School

“Education is the most important gift we can provide our children and that is why it is so important that parents have faith in the learning standards to which their children are taught. Recent events regarding the Common Core implementation have shaken their confidence, but New York is now taking action that will strengthen and improve the implementation of those learning standards, help calm the fears of parents and teachers, and bring a renewed trust in our children’s schooling. I thank Governor Cuomo for putting our children first and ensuring they have access to a quality educational experience.”

New York State Association of School Business Officials

“I am encouraged by the final report of the State’s Common Core Task Force. Reducing testing, supporting the alignment of curriculum to new standards where necessary, and pausing the impact of tests on students and teachers until our learning standards are fully in place is exactly what we should be doing. The Task Force’s report is a strong, smart blueprint for us to build high learning standards in New York and ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed. Our states leaders – both in government and in the state education department – should focus on making these recommendations a reality.”

New York State Business Council

“While we have yet to fully digest today’s report from the Common Core Task Force, we are hopeful that these proposed changes will once again allow us to put our childrens’ education first,” said Heather C. Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Whether you agree with the Common Core or not, it is clear that our students are not receiving the education they need and higher standards must not be rolled back. Hopefully, this report will change the conversation and unite parents, teachers, and stakeholders behind the goal of giving our kids the skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century.”

New York State School Boards Association

Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force has made several sensible recommendations that will help restore trust and confidence in New York’s public education system.
The Task Force heard clear and convincing evidence that the state needs to step back, review the standards for their age-appropriateness, and engage local stakeholders. While this process plays out, we should remove any negative consequences tied to Common Core-aligned tests for students and educators.
Importantly, the report does not retreat from high academic standards, but does acknowledge that curriculum decisions rightfully belong at the local level.
Should lawmakers enact these recommendations, school boards will have considerable work ahead in implementing what will likely be a new evaluation system for educators.
The Task Force report, taken together with recent Congressional passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, represents a much-needed scaling back of federal and state involvement in local school board decision-making.

New York State United Teachers

"Today we celebrate momentous developments at the state and national level that open the door for a much needed transformation in public education.
The recommendations of the state task force signal a commitment to restore the joy of teaching and learning in our classrooms.
Task force recommendations that have been championed by parents and educators include the creation of developmentally appropriate New York state standards by New York state teachers for New York state students; de-linking state test scores from evaluations for a minimum of four years; and less time on testing, more on learning. The new standards and curriculum resources would be phased in gradually with full educator engagement and transparency to parents.
These changes are essential to end the high-stakes pressure that has eroded the joy of teaching and learning and narrowed the curriculum.'

Steven M. Neuhaus, Orange County Executive

“Common Core is an unnecessary source of apprehension for students, parents and teachers,” Neuhaus said. “As a parent, I see it in our schools. As County Executive, I hear about it from many residents. We need to be focused on ensuring education can be a process of learning and not just a set of rigid teaching standards. I appreciate the Governor’s decision to convene a task force on Common Core and look forward to it leading to meaningful changes.”

John Nocero, EVP of the Council of Administrators and Supervisors

“The Council of Administrators and Supervisors support the Common Core Task Force recommendations that will provide for a moratorium on assessment based evaluations. This moratorium will provide time for stakeholders and practitioners to review and address concerns associated with past practices. We believe a meaningful assessment system must rely on proven statistical models that are fair and equitable and rooted in best practices that are supported by research and input from experts. We look forward to working together to provide a healthy learning environment for our children.”

Dan Oh, Public Affairs and Marketing Director, International Youth Fellowship USA

"International Youth Fellowship (IYF) shares the heart that young people should receive the best possible education that builds a solid foundation for a bright future. IYF commends the governor for tackling this challenging issue with The Common Core Task Force, which we feel is an important step in ensuring New York does everything to give our youths the benefit of the highest standards and performance while balancing the concerns and needs of parents. The role this Task Force plays in reviewing process and best practices exemplifies the governor's willingness to work in partnership, and we value his commitment to doing so. We know this will help give all children a top-notch education and the best opportunity to advance their lives."

Robert J. Reidy, Jr., Executive Director, New York State Council of School Superintendents

Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force report makes thoughtful recommendations to improve our state’s education standards and assessments and begin to dispel the discord that has been hurting teaching and learning in too many schools.
The report’s recommendations align with the findings of our recent survey of school district superintendents: Challenging academic standards are essential, but there are opportunities to improve upon the Common Core. State assessments should consume less school time and deliver more value for instruction, by getting more information back to schools and families faster. There must be more transparency in the development of our standards and assessments, and more involvement by New York educators. The needs of children with disabilities and for whom English is not their first language must be sensibly accommodated.
We are encouraged that the report acknowledges how the last wave of reforms was damaged by thrusting too many major initiatives too fast upon our schools, and all at one time. That recognition is essential as we move now to make corrections to those reforms.
There is wide consensus that controversy in our schools will not diminish without some action on the role of state assessments in professional evaluations. While our standards and assessments are undergoing review and revision, it makes sense to remove any risk of adverse consequences for educators and students, as the Task Force recommends.
The Task Force members, including Valley Stream Superintendent Constance Evelyn, worked hard to reach consensus on a collection of carefully constructed recommendations. We are grateful for their service on behalf of New York’s schoolchildren.

Robert J. Reidy, Jr., Executive Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents

“We are encouraged by the plans Governor Cuomo has put forward for the new Task Force to review implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards. State task forces can perform a valuable role in developing accurate understanding of public problems and consensus on the actions needed to solve them. School superintendents play the leading role in translating policies enacted for our whole state into practices that can work in the diverse communities they serve. The Governor has chosen an experienced district leader to contribute to his task force to review the standards. We look forward to working with the task force and the Commissioner of Education to improve our state policies and fulfill the promise we all desire for our schoolchildren.”

James Sampson, President of the Buffalo Board of Education

"The Common Core Standards were designed to raise the level and quality of education being received by students throughout New York State and it has become increasingly clear that this program needs to be adjusted in order to meet those goals. The Task Force being assembled by Governor Cuomo gives us the opportunity to make those adjustments and ensure that every child in every school has the benefit of a strong curriculum and every teacher has the confidence of being prepared to teach it. We want every parent to be assured that no matter where their child goes to school they are being prepared for college and a career. I want to thank the Governor for taking this step, and I look forward to seeing the Task Force’s recommendations later this year."

Scott Samuelson, Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature

“We must have strong learning standards that educate all of our students and help them tap into their full potential – however, those standards must also be sensibly implemented and should not cause undue anxiety to students, parents and educators. The Governor’s Common Core Task Force has the opportunity to ensure that this balance is met in New York State, and I am thrilled by this announcement. Today is a promising step forward for New York and for students across the state, and I look forward to seeing the panel’s recommendations to make our schools the very best they can be.”

Jenny Sedlis, StudentsFirstNY's Executive Director

"The report from the Common Core Task Force shows that New York remains dedicated to high academic standards. The task force did a good job of engaging stakeholders and retaining the intent of Common Core while adjusting to the state's unique needs. Maintaining high standards and rigorous annual assessments is critical to ensuring parents know whether their children are being prepared for college and career,"

Jenny Sedlis, StudentsFirstNY's Executive Director

"Everyone can agree that New York needs clear benchmarks for what students are expected to learn each year. The Common Core learning standards were carefully constructed by educators to tell parents whether their children are on track for college and the workforce. While most of New York's parents and educators embraced these new benchmarks, some had real concerns and others' were fueled by a cynical misinformation campaign. We welcome Governor Cuomo's Task Force so we can get to the heart of those concerns, finding solutions for the legitimate ones and dispelling the myths behind the others. It is time for the education discussion in New York to be driven by fact and not fiction. We're confident that the Governor's Task Force will resolve key issues and keep New York on a path of high standards."

Kim Skillen, District Administrator for Secondary Curriculum at the Deer Park Schools

“Our children deserve a first-class education, and taking an in-depth look at how to reform and improve the common core is the best way to ensure that New York’s education system meets that standard. I am pleased that the Governor is making this goal a priority – I believe this taskforce will help identify a logical way forward, and I support the Governor in this effort.”

Mike Spano, Yonkers Mayor, & Dr. Nader Sayegh, Yonkers School Board President

“By forming this Task Force to examine and recommend detailed improvements to the Common Core, the Governor is once again acknowledging the concerns of parents and teachers across the state, and is taking an important and concrete step to address those concerns. This is about giving every student the education they deserve, and we encourage the Task Force members to undertake an exhaustive and comprehensive review of the Common Core in order to help us ensure that our students are receiving the best education possible.”

Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Educators 4 Excellence

"We applaud the task force’s recommendations to retain high standards, improve assessments, and pause to make sure that we get implementation right prior to using end-of-year state tests for high stakes decisions for teachers and students. E4E members have been calling for a more thoughtful rollout of the standards, assessments, and evaluation system and this is a step in the right direction.
More transition time prior to using tests aligned to higher standards for high stakes decisions will decrease the pressure of the teacher evaluation system, but this adjustment creates an over reliance on Student Learning Objectives that is concerning. SLOs tend to be subjective and can differ in quality from one district to the next. Therefore, it’s critical the State provide stricter guidance and regular review of these objectives to ensure they are consistent and rigorous for all students across New York.
As a teacher advocacy organization, we echo the call for a comprehensive review that includes feedback from teachers, parents and students to inform improvement of the Common Core and assessments. At the end of this process, we need a confident and trustworthy test and rigorous standards that give teachers and students clarity and consistency with only periodic reviews for minor adjustments. Teachers need to be able to rely on our state test as an accurate measure of student growth; principals need credible results to reflect on whether their schools are on the right track; and education leaders need to be able to use test results as one of many factors in assessing a school’s quality.
“The implementation of Common Core and evaluation have elicited strong emotions among educators and families across the state. This plan should address many of their concerns, but let’s be clear –New York must remain on a path towards higher standards and more effective teaching. Our children’s futures depend on it.”

Dr. Randall VanWagoner, Mohawk Valley Community College President and current President of the New York Community College Association of Presidents

"The Governor's actions for a comprehensive review of the implementation process of the Common Core standards is a welcome and important step to ensure New York students graduate high school and college, and are career ready."

Dr. Bolgen Vargas, Superintendent of the Rochester City School District

“Giving students the resources and support they need to succeed is one of the most important roles we have as a society. There are good reasons why the common core standards and its implementations must be reexamined. Thankfully, the Governor's independent panel offers hope for much-needed improvements to the program and an opportunity for the voice of parents, educators and students to be heard-- a new beginning in the vital effort to have the highest of standards for education in New York State."

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, and a member of the Common Core Task Force

"For years, parents and educators have been raising the red flag about the botched implementation of the Common Core in New York. Unfortunately, their cries were too often ignored. And so, in the last commission, I was the canary in the coal mine, warning that a rushed implementation would sink the standards.
In this report, the canaries have been heard and the joy of learning restored. The task force listened to what parents and educators have been saying for years: There were real flaws not only in the way the standards were rolled out, but also in how assessments were used and how educators were prepared and evaluated.
This report lays out what needs to be done to re-create trust in New York state public schools. It starts with high standards, but standards that—while ensuring students are learning what they need to know and do in the 21st century—are appropriate for students of all ages, abilities and language proficiencies. We need better, shorter tests that are created with educators and aligned to curriculum. We need proper training for educators and more time to develop better curriculum. And we need educators to be involved and parents engaged at every step of the way.
The report also makes clear that we can't repeat past mistakes—namely, evaluating teachers based on students' test scores as the instructional shift to the new standards, which those scores were based on, was taking place. To that end, this commission recommended a moratorium, stating that 'the results from assessments aligned to the current Common Core Standards, as well as the updated standards, should only be advisory and not be used to evaluate the performance of the specific teachers or students.'
As the report states, we need to bring back the 'joy of learning.' With this report, we have the chance to get things right, ensuring standards and assessments are helping students learn, not frustrating parents, demoralizing teachers and making kids anxious. If we do this, we can restore New Yorkers' faith in the public education system.
This report comes at an opportune time, just hours after the president signed into law the most sweeping, positive changes we've seen in federal education policy in two decades. Americans across the country have been fighting for a reset in education policy. This report, like the Every Student Succeeds Act, delivers that reset. Thank you to teachers Heather Buskirk and Kishayna Hazlewood, New York State United Teachers Vice President Catalina Fortino and all members of the task force for being willing to listen."

Van Henri White, Rochester City School Board President

"It is absolutely essential that New York’s schools have learning standards that are fair, relevant, and rigorous – as they must prepare our students for an increasingly competitive global work force. Establishing effective learning standards is especially important for urban school districts - which for far too long have suffered from the disease of lowered expectations. Consequently, I am proud to stand alongside Governor Cuomo as he works to develop effective and meaningful learning standards for all New York State students. Moreover, I am pleased by the fact that Governor Cuomo has taken the responsible approach by empaneling a commission to look at some of the existing learning standards and how they might be improved upon to better reflect the needs of our students and the communities and workforce that we are preparing them for. I look forward to hearing the Commission's recommendations with the hope that their suggestions might help secure a brighter future for every child in New York."

Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City

“The report of Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force, led by Partnership for New York City Board member and former Chairman Richard Parsons, appropriately focuses on maintaining the high standards necessary to prepare students for college and careers in a knowledge-driven economy. These recommendations will, among other things, elevate career and technical education in New York State by applying both rigorous academic assessments as well as expanding opportunities for students to earn meaningful credentials leading to employment or post-secondary education. This is a solid approach that responds to concerns of all stakeholders, including employers, and we look forward to working with the Governor and the State Department of Education on its implementation.”

Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, SUNY

“It has been a privilege to serve as a member of Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force and to have had the opportunity to hear directly from so many passionate parents, teachers, and school administrators about these national education standards and how they can best be adopted to benefit New York State students.
College and career readiness begins at the earliest stages of education, and if New York State is going to meet an increasingly overwhelming demand for college graduates and a skilled workforce, we know that we have to do much, much better for our students, our teachers, and our communities. The Task Force recommendations are an excellent start.
For example, New York must commit to embracing a more thorough approach teacher preparation and to the ongoing professional development of teachers, teacher educators, and school administrators. Every student must have access to a great teacher, someone who is clinically trained not only in college but continuously throughout their career.
Also, use of a universally administered exam in high school to measure proficiency and target early intervention will be critical to increasing college readiness and eliminating the need for costly remediation. Our colleges should not only work toward using high school proficiency exams for admissions and course placement, but also play a role in developing the exams as well as the academic interventions that will ensure students are truly prepared for college when they graduate high school.
I commend Governor Cuomo for recognizing the need for this comprehensive review and thank my colleagues on the Task Force for their contributions to this truly collective and impactful report.”

Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, SUNY

“The implementation of college- and career-ready educational standards is absolutely essential to preparing our students for success,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Students held to rigorous standards are less likely to require costly remediation, less likely to drop out of college, and more likely to graduate with a degree on time. We owe it to our current and future students to get this right. I commend Governor Cuomo for convening this commission and I look forward to working with my colleagues to put New York State back on track.”




First Public Session of the Common Core Task Force -10/29/15

Second Public Session of the Common Core Task Force - 11/18/15

Regional Common Core Listening Sessions - 11/6/15

Regional Common Core Listening Session - 11/9/15

Regional Common Core Listening Sessions - 11/10/15