Astorino Announces Anti-Common Core Ballot Line

Astorino Announces Anti-Common Core Ballot Line

Astorino Announces Anti-Common Core Ballot Line
July 8, 2014

Tapping into the growing dissatisfaction with the state’s Common Core education standards, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino announced a new “Stop Common Core” ballot line.

The new ballot line would give Astorino three ballot lines on the ticket in November, since he already will be on the Conservative Party and Republican Party lines. For the new ballot line to appear on Election Day, it will need 15,000 signatures from voters. Petitions will begin circulating today, Astorino said.

“Obviously [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo’s Common Core has been a disaster. The rollout and implementation speak for themselves on how bad it’s been,” Astorino said at an Albany press conference Tuesday. “But even once the implementation is rolled out some years in the future, we’re still left with Common Core, which I oppose, and it’s something we should get out of and I will get out of when I become governor next year.”

Astorino would not elaborate on what he would propose to replace Common Core. He also did not go into detail about what would happen to federal Race to the Top funding if New York abandoned the standards, but said he believed the state would be able to keep the funding.

If Common Core were repealed, a new set of standards would need time to be developed and implemented. Many education advocates and elected officials, including Astorino, have said the implementation was rushed, causing ongoing problems for teachers and students. The Common Core standards were introduced in 2011 and implementation began in the 2011-2012 school year.

Astorino said that after repealing Common Core he would revert to the state’s earlier standards and would build off those. However, he did not specify what, if anything, would be done to the education system in between repealing Common Core and adopting new standards.

Many education advocates have said the old standards were ineffective and needed to be updated and revised, even before the Common Core standards were introduced. The state had begun researching ways to update its education plan before it abandoned the effort and adopted the Common Core standards in order to qualify for federal Race to the Top funding. 

Astorino said at the press conference that he would not announce his education plan until September. He added that he has not yet discussed his education policies with NYSUT, the statewide teachers union.

NYSUT will hold a convention from Aug. 11 to Aug. 13 to decide which gubernatorial candidate to endorse. In June, NYSUT President Karen Magee said the union did not know enough about Astorino’s stances on education and that the teachers union was waiting for more details before making a decision.

If Astorino waits until September to release an education plan, that may leave NYSUT with little information about the Republican candidate’s plans when it makes its endorsement. But a NYSUT spokesman said that its members would still be able to make an informed decision.

“Our leaders from throughout the state will come to Albany, they’ll discuss the candidates’ records on the issues, they’ll also look at the relationships they’ve built with the candidate throughout the years,” NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn said. “Certainly, we’ll be listening to our leaders in Westchester County, but at the end of the day the endorsement will be based on our members’, our grassroots members’ support for one candidate over the other or not.”

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Ashley Hupfl