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Forum to address Common Core testing mandates

Participants take part in the most recent forum on Common Core, held at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Participants take part in the most recent forum on Common Core, held at SUNY Plattsburgh. Sarah Harris

— The North Country Alliance for Public Education is hosting another in a series of public forums on the Common Core education mandates.

Entitled “Testing and the Common Core, A Public Forum and a Call to Action,” the forum will feature numerous statewide experts on the Common Core mandates and testing. According to event co-organizer Doug Selwyn, there is still an enormous amount of misinformation about what Common Core is, and what the testing of Common Core will mean for our students.

One issue Selwyn points to as leading to this misinformation is the fact that high school educators are banned by the state education department from speaking publicly about Common Core.

“A democracy depends on an informed citizenry,” says Selwyn. “Right now what we’re seeing is that people are being kept in the dark.”

Selwyn says that after a recent public forum held by the Alliance, people left feeling empowered.

This forum will focus on the testing component of Common Core. Speakers will include Monty Neill, Executive Director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, Eric Mihelbergel, of the NYS Allies for Public Education, Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters and Carol Burris, 2013 New York State Principal of the Year.

“There’s no sense of who the kids are in this (Common Core),” said co-organizer Mark Beatham. “The whole sense of an education system that allows teachers, schools and community to have a role has been taken away. ”

Beatham says he feels that the goal behind Common Core is to “hammer” low test scores, as a way for the federal government to get in and take over public schools.

Testing and the Common Core will be held March 13, from 6:30 - 9 p.m. in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Yokum Hall, room 200. For more information on the forum, email margaritagarcianotario@yahoo.com.

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