Long Islanders lambaste education changes at Merrick forum

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The speakers voiced their criticisms of the Common Core Learning Standards, broad changes to school curricula that the Obama administration has pushed and 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted in recent years; new state assessment tests for third- to eighth-graders in math and English; the Annual Professional Performance Review system for teachers and principals, which is based in part on students’ test scores; and the collection of students’ information by inBloom, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that will house the data in the “cloud,” offsite servers connected via the Internet. New York and Kentucky were among the first states in the country to implement Common Core in 2012-13.

During the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, speakers detailed their complaints about these separate but interwoven parts of the State Education Department’s Regents Reform Agenda. Most agreed that the changes were not well thought out, were rushed in their implementation and were having a deleterious impact on students and teachers alike. Dodge called the state’s dictates “capricious.” Burris argued that they were not grounded in scientifically, statistically or pedagogically sound research. Deutermann said she had received hundreds of messages from parents across Long Island detailing their children’s signs of test stress or disgust with school. Wasson offered an insider’s perspective on school districts’ data collection and sharing practices, warning that they are not secure and that they go further than state officials have said in public statements.

Rella posed two questions to the audience. “How are your children doing?” he asked first.

The interjections came back: “Not too good.” “Very frustrated.” “Decent.”

“What are you going to do about it?” Rella asked next.

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