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State Panel Issues Common Core Recommendations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Big changes could be coming to New York's highly criticized Common Core curriculum.

A state panel has recommended taking the emphasis off of tests, at least for the students.

Islip mother Danielle Flora has three elementary school-age children and is among the critics of Common Core.

"A simple, basic math problem that used to be solved traditionally in maybe one or two steps is now solved in up to 120 steps," she told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff on Tuesday.

Flora said she's disappointed with the recommendations by an 11-member panel assembled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after heated hearings last year.

Parents and teachers blasted the curriculum and its rollout as sloppy, rushed and flawed.

The panel recommends ending standardized "bubble" tests for grades K-2.

"We shouldn't have 5-year-olds filling in bubbles. The only bubbles these children should see are the kind you blow," Mary Calamia, founder of Long Islanders United Against the Common Core, told Gusoff.

Also among the recommendations:

  • Banning state test results from grades 3-8 on a student's permanent records
  • Limiting test prep time in class 
  • Preparing teachers better 
  • Halting plans to store student data on the Internet

But the recommendations do not include any changes to teacher evaluations or to the controversial curriculum itself, Gusoff reported.

"The actual Common Core standards are age inappropriate. They ask children to do things that they are biologically incapable of doing," said Calamia.

Some educators said de-emphasizing tests and giving teachers more training are positive steps.

"There'll less emphasis on the assessment, so that's a very positive step. We don't want these to be high stakes situations for students who are so young," Port Jefferson School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert told Gusoff.

The governor has said he will now review the recommendations which could then be introduced as legislation.

Either way, state testing of students grades 3-8 are expected to proceed as planned in May.

The panel was made up of educators, parents and lawmakers, including Long Island State Sen. John Flanagan. He said the recommendations are only a start and wants to see more changes.

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