The New York State Board of Regents adopted a revised set of education standards for English language arts and mathematics on Sept. 11. The altered Next Generation Learning Standards affect Geneseo education students who had previously focused on learning the Common Core standards.
The Next Generation Learning Standards will officially roll out in 2021 to give educators, students and parents time to adjust to the new standards, according to assistant professor of the Ella Cline Shear School of Education Thea Yurkewecz. The original Common Core standards were not initiated with a grace period; as a result educators felt rushed and they disliked the standards, Yurkewecz said. The Ella Cline Shear School of Education has already begun to change its approach to account for the changes.
“We’ve talked about the movements, the changes, the shifts and definitely all the similarities and there are definitely a few changes that we’ll need to make,” Yurkewecz said. “Already we’re ahead of the game and making sure this is something our students are aware of and making sure they know what the language and terminology is.”
There were not many overall changes to the standards for ELA, as per an associate from the New York State Education Department, according to Yurkewecz. The main revision is the removal of “modules,” which serve as curriculum guides for school districts.
Since the Next Generation Learning Standards have a three-year period to be completely implemented, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Dennis Showers also felt that there were not many notable changes to the standards for mathematics.
“Interestingly, the change from Common Core to the new math standards is a lot of cosmetics and vocabulary stuff, but not really substantive changes,” Showers said. “It’s a new generation in the sense of something that was rooted in the prior generation, but it’s not as different as it maybe, cosmetically it appears to be.”
Some of the specific changes made for the Next Generation Learning Standards include the reintegration of mathematics when it comes to elementary school students and the sequencing of techniques and ideas in adolescent mathematics, according to Showers. Despite these changes, much of the language in the revised standards is the same as in the Common Core standards, which will make it easier for education students to talk about when they go for job interviews, Showers said.
The revised standards represent an overall improvement to the education system, according to assistant professor of the Ella Cline Shear School of Education Kelly Keegan.
“It looks like New York State is really doing its best to roll out the Next Generation Learning Standards in a purposeful way,” she said. “They’re trying to assess the bridge between using the old standards and the new standards. If you already know the former standards, then you will have an easier time looking through the new ones.”
Despite the optimistic opinions of some education professors, some students still worry about learning a new set of standards.
Mathematics major with a certification in adolescent education senior Julia Schnurr said that the revision caught her off-guard. Schnurr is currently student teaching and will not be able to enroll in classes involving the Next Generation Learning Standards.
“A new set of standards makes me feel overwhelmed and unprepared,” she said. “It makes me feel like everything I’m doing now is a waste of time if everything is going to change once I’m in the field.”
To that sentiment, Yurkewecz advises education students to remain aware of potential changes like these new standards.
“It’s so important to stay up to date with what’s happening with our state as well as policy decisions as educators,” she said. “It’s important to pay attention to not just what’s going on in your classroom, but what’s going on state-wide and nationally.”
Note: New York currently has no plans to add new modules