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November 15, 2013

Education forum addresses state tests, curriculum

Concerns about mandates in public education voiced

(Continued)

“The information we’re being taught has no meaning to us,” Stevens said. “I mean, we memorize the information for the tests, pass the test, and then forget the information because we don’t find a need to remember it any longer.

Panelists also noted the negative effect the mandates, which schools were given little time to implement, are having on teachers, whose performance is evaluated, in part, based on their students’ test scores.

Duprey noted that she had heard from teachers who were worried not only about their students, but also their personal livelihood, as they were spending endless hours preparing to teach the new curriculum.

Still, the assemblywoman noted, she has heard from many educators who feel there is value in the Common Core Curriculum.

“One consistent opinion is that the Common Core is a good concept, but it lacked in preparation, resulting in poor implementation,” she said.

There is little chance that the mandate will go away, Duprey continued, but there are things that need to be done to fix the problems created by it.

She called for an end to state exams for children in kindergarten through sixth grade, as well as the evaluation of teachers based on student test scores.

In addition, Duprey said, funding needs to be provided to schools to provide professional development to teachers and to cover the costs of the technology needed to administer the state’s computer-based exams.

And the Board of Regents, she added, needs to be reformed and an independent teacher panel created to institute and review state assessments.

“Forcing these tests on our schools is the worst form of bullying I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been at the center of the anti-bullying movement for years,” Duprey said, eliciting applause from the audience.

Email Ashleigh Livingston:alivingston@pressrepublican.com

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