“I can see my daughter in first grade is getting a foundation that (Caden) doesn’t have in second grade,” she said.
Educational standards and standardized testing were common topics of discussion at the event.
Though many parents said they understand the value of standards for students to work toward, they agreed that those in place now are often confusing or unrealistic.
The chance to educate these parents was a major part of the festival for Kathryn Brown, an English teacher at Chazy Central Rural School.
She said she tries not to force her own views on parents, but rather to provide them with the same information that she knows in order to make their own decisions on the standardization debate.
“We’re finding, as teachers and parents, that a lot of people just don’t have the information and are not quite sure where to find the information or they’re getting mixed messages in the media about education and our schools,” Brown said.
She invited parents to attend a public forum set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in room 200 of Yokum Hall at SUNY Plattsburgh to discuss topics that include standardized tests, school funding and Common Core curriculum.
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey will deliver the keynote address at the event, which Brown said is designed to encourage parents to express their concerns, find common issues and work together to develop solutions.
Although many conversations at the recent event centered on problems with local schools, Bushey said it is equally important for the community to highlight and praise what the schools are doing correctly.
“It’s about being positive and looking at what’s good and working well,” she said.
With this goal in mind, the festival showcased student artwork from Saranac High School and has featured performances from student musicians.
Bushey said she tried to give particular attention to art and music since these programs are often the most vulnerable to budget cuts despite their value to a student’s overall education.
The Fall Festival was sponsored by the North Country Alliance for Public Education, North Country Educators, Northeast Central Labor Council and Alliance for Quality Education.