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November 24, 2013

Commissioner hears concerns at Common Core forum

Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles on the Common Core standards and their impact.

PLATTSBURGH — More than 100 community members attended a recent panel discussion on the Common Core Learning Standards, with speakers making their concerns clear.

The forum at Mountain Lake PBS studios was the latest in a series of public discussions held statewide by New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King Jr. in an effort to gather feedback from parents, children and educators regarding the new standards.

Other panelists at the event were New York Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Willsboro Central School Superintendent Stephen Broadwell, Beekmantown Middle School Principal Amy Campbell, Chazy High School English teacher Kathryn Brown and Ausable Valley Central School English teacher Michele Dorrey.

The discussion was moderated by “Mountain Lake Journal” host Thom Hallock.

ERRORS IN MATERIAL

Of the audience members who signed up for the chance to speak, seven educators, two parents and one student were randomly chosen to ask questions.

Though a number of the speakers said they appreciated the goals of the Common Core program, a majority of the comments offered stern critiques of what speakers felt were the program’s negative effects.

Educators at the event, some of whom were also parents, focused on the effects and effectiveness of Common Core policies and exams in the classroom.

For St. Regis Mohawk School Principal Sharlee Thomas, concerns about the new standards included spelling and technical errors in Common Core curriculum materials and homework assignments.

“We’re sitting here talking about Common Core standards and about being college and career ready, and the curriculum that we’re being given by New York state is not even up to that standard,” Thomas said, drawing a round of applause from the audience.

‘NO EFFECTIVE ACTION’

King and Tisch offered replies to each of the specific problems and concerns raised at the event.

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