Press-Republican

Local News

February 20, 2014

Parents, groups decry proposed Common Core changes

SARANAC LAKE — Parents and educators navigating the cliffs of Common Core reform are not singing the praises of the Board of Regents’ recommended changes.

The board’s recently released report aims to adjust Common Core assessment testing policy, time frames for implementation and use of test scores for data-mining and teacher evaluations.

Several North Country parent-teacher groups have questioned the entire Common Core program.

‘NOTHING CHANGED’

Dr. Margarita Garcia Notario, a professor at SUNY Plattsburgh with young children in the Plattsburgh City School District, is part of the North Country Alliance for Public Education, which responded to each of the State Education Department’s 19 proposed Common Core adjustments.

Asked where those adjustments leave parents, she answered, via email: “Where they were before: Totally uninformed and now under the impression that something has been done, when nothing has changed.”

She said the notion of any delay in Common Core testing is false.

“Most parents do not know much about the internal issues of their children’s schools. They just know that lately they do not understand homework, so they can’t help their kids, and many of them know that their kids don’t want to go to school, and (they) cry daily.

“(Parents) also know that our kids are over-tested. For those parents with children with special needs, the assessments that the kids need to fulfill are above their capacity. 

“This is a very unfortunate situation.”

‘WORKED IN SECRET’

In Saranac Lake, the parent-teacher group working on education reform there has also joined the North Country Alliance.

Don Carlisto is co-president of the Saranac Lake Teachers Association.

“The Regents Task Force, of which our local Regent James Dawson was a member, worked in secret and came out with recommendations that are entirely inadequate and unresponsive to the concerns voiced so ardently by parents, community members, teachers and administrations,” he said. 

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