North Merrick superintendent comments on the Common Core

David Feller critiques rollout, suggests reforms


David Feller, superintendent of the North Merrick School District and this year’s president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents, recently offered his views on the Common Core Learning Standards and Annual Professional Performance Review — controversial changes in school curricula, testing, and the way teachers and principals are evaluated, which New York has begun debuting. He spoke at a forum on education that several Republican state assemblymen from Long Island conducted on Oct. 24 at SUNY College at Old Westbury. Following are excerpts from his remarks:

“The rollout of the state’s Common Core and the new assessments was done in a hurried fashion and based upon a set of false assumptions. We were led to believe that education in the State of New York was in a crisis mode that needed to be fixed immediately. We were told that New York ranked 38th in the country … The truth of the matter is that many districts throughout the state, especially those on Long Island, have been successfully preparing students for college, careers and life in general for many years.”

“Long Island schools were pioneers in requiring all students to take higher-level courses, and in the process [they] removed gates or artificial barriers. Without prompting from the state Education Department and/or other governmental officials, our students took and successfully completed Regents courses in significant numbers, pursued Advanced Placement classes and, in some schools like Rockville Centre, take International Baccalaureate English as a matter of course. The more we have to rigidly follow state … prescriptions, the less creative we will be in providing our children with unique opportunities that are truly meaningful and engaging. This has been the hallmark of a local education in New York state.”

“Perhaps the immediate focus needed to be on helping those districts and communities … which have historically underperformed. If the state can adequately address this issue only, it will go a long way toward raising the overall achievement level of the state.”

Page 1 / 3