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Common Core criticized at Schroon forum

State officials hear complaints from parents, teachers, school leaders

The Common Core learning standards are not popular in the North Country. About 300 people attended a forum on the education program with state officials in Schroon Lake Nov. 20, delivering a clear message — they don’t like efforts to standardize learning across the country.

The Common Core learning standards are not popular in the North Country. About 300 people attended a forum on the education program with state officials in Schroon Lake Nov. 20, delivering a clear message — they don’t like efforts to standardize learning across the country.

— “I haven’t encountered anything in my 13 years (as a teacher) that’s a greater deterrent to reading,” Lang said. “We shouldn’t be making education decisions in corporate offices.”

Common Core provides teachers with specific, daily lesson plans for students. King said those plans are optional and local schools can make their own plans.

Several teachers and school administrators challenged that assertion. While the lesson plans may be optional, the mandatory standardized tests in Common Core are based on the lesson plans. Not following the lesson plans could lead to poor scores on tests, which are used to evaluate students, teachers and schools.

Sarah Fink, a Minerva teacher and parent, questioned the financial wisdom in following the Common Core. Minerva Central School, she said, got $8,000 in

“Race to the Top” money for Common Core, but lost $800,000 in state aid during the past four years.

“The state must decide to adopt a budget that fully funds the initiatives for which it advocates so strongly,” she said. “Schools need sufficient time and resources to build the capacity that it will take to uphold the promise at the root of the Common Core. There needs to be a moratorium on high-stakes testing and accountability until the state agrees to restore the funding lost to the Gap Elimination Adjustment and correct the inadequacies in the state aid formula that only further disadvantage our rural Adirondack schools.”

Many people objected to the “one size fits all” approach of Common Core.

Dan D’Agostino of Schroon Lake told state officials he may take his children out of public school because of the Common Core. He said it’s wrong to expect every student to meet the same standards.

“Success in life is determined by a person’s ability to better themselves,” he said, “not by a state mandate.”

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