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Franklin Square parent Antonia Dimaggio was one of those who testified that her child was frustrated by the Common Core Standards and had lost interest in going to school.
Educators, parents challenge state education commissioner
Of 47 speakers at forum, not one supports common core rollout
Christina Daly and Howard Schwach/Herald
Michael Dobler, who taught at Merrick-Bellmore schools for more than 40 years and was a union leader, protested outside the forum because he had no ticket to attend.

It was clearly a difficult night for New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King and Chancellor Meryl Tisch.

The two sat alone at a table on the auditorium stage at Mineola High School on Nov. 13, listening as some 47 teachers, administrators and parents, many of them both school staff members and parents, spoke out about the state’s rollout of the Common Core State Standards.

Not one of the 47 said they approved of the way the state has introduced the program to local school districts.

And many of King’s answers to questions about the issues surrounding it — testing, privacy rights, teacher evaluation — were greeted with groans, jeers, laughs and shouts from the audience.

As part of an agreement to receive extra federal funding from the Race to the Top initiative, New York, like most states, has instituted an extensive testing regimen based on the Common Core Standards, a national initiative that aims to prepare students for college and careers by the time they graduate from high school. Part of the plan involves using student test scores to help evaluate teacher performance.

That has angered many teachers, who say they haven’t had adequate time to prepare students for the new tests. At the same time, parents complain that their children are being tested too early and too often.

The forum in the 800-seat auditorium, which was sponsored and moderated by State Sen. Jack Martins, a Republican from Mineola, was invitation-only. Martins said he gave 50 tickets to each of the school districts in his senatorial district, and they in turn were given to school staff and administration. With each ticket came the right to ask a question. Questions had to be submitted in advance, and were reviewed by State Education Department officials. Martins was not allowed to see the questions in advance, his spokeswoman said.

Demonstrators from other school districts around the county, who did not have tickets, gathered outside the school. One of them was Michael Dolber, a teacher in the Bellmore-Merrick school district for more than 40 years and a union representative, who said that he and the others who joined him outside the building were concerned with education.

“Public education is a large issue,” Dolber said. “There are problems with how the state is handling the Common Core rollout. There are problems with children with special needs that amounts to child abuse. Kids are important, and the state is trying to privatize education, to give it to the big corporations.” That contention was a common thread in many of the testimonials given by those who asked questions of King and Tisch.

At a press conference in the school’s band room before the forum began, Martins said that there are several bills in the hopper in the State Legislature that would slow down the Common Core rollout. “It is clear that there are real problems with the Common Core program,” he said. “There are implications for special-needs students and for parents who want to ensure their children’s privacy. There are problems with over-testing. We are not going to abandon three million students.

“We are not going to step back from providing a better education,” Martins added. “We want to provide training for our teachers, and we want to give tests that actually test what kids have been taught. We agree with the state’s PTA that we have to slow down and take a year to ensure that the roll-out is realistic and does what it is designed to do.”

King, speaking to reporters, said he would not agree to slow the process. “Under the Common Core, students are getting the skills that they need for college and career,” he said. “To the extent that people want to stop the Common Core, I would say to them that we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to stop. We are committed.”

Comments

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wsm111

I guess your photographer got there very early and missed the hundreds of protesters outside.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | Report this
RonnieG

I am posting a recent article that was released today regarding the Common Core:

Mental Health Professional Denied Speaking Slot at King Common Core

Community Forum

On Tuesday, November 26th, NYSED Commissioner Dr. John King is holding

a Community Forum on Long Island at the Eastport-South Manor High School

in Manorville, NY from 6:00-8:00 PM.

The only Mental Health professional in New York State who is publicly

speaking out on the subject of the Common Core, Mary Calamia

respectfully requested the opportunity to speak and present a

statement on record regarding the mental health ramifications of the

Common Core State Standards before Dr. King.

Ms. Calamia was denied the opportunity to present this important

statement to Dr. King. The reason was she does not reside in Senator

LaValle’s district.

The following is the statement Ms. Calamia wanted to present at the

Community Forum:

Statement for NYS Education Commissioner John King

My name is Mary Calamia and I am a licensed clinical social worker. I

want to thank you for bringing us the Common Core. Business has never

been better.

If not for the Common Core, I would never have met the 8 year old who

is so afraid of the Spring exams, she has to be medicated just to go

to school.

Or the 4th grader who vomits every morning, certain that he is "the

stupidest kid in the class."

Or the lady who has to leave work early, her job in jeopardy, because

her 7th grader becomes so hysterical over his homework, she fears for

his safety.

Or the 6 year old boy who is scratching the skin off of his face,

drawing blood every time he does his homework.

Or the 8 year old who picks his skin obsessively and has to go to

school with band aids all over his face.

Or the honor student who carved the word "stupid" into her wrist with

a razor blade after last year's math assessment scores came out.

Without the Common Core, I would not be working 10 to 12 hours days

without a break just to treat all of the young people streaming into

my practice with anxiety, depression, self mutilation, panic attacks,

insomnia, school refusal, and a host of other maladies.

I thank you for the emergency phone calls at all hours of the night

and the countless interrupted meals, leisure activities, and family

occasions when I have had to address a "homework meltdown" that could

not be resolved without professional intervention.

How many more children will you send my way? How far do you plan to go

with this disaster that you call "education" but more closely

resembles child endangerment? How desperate are you to be right? What

will it take for you to do the right thing?

Contact: Mary Calamia (631) 675-0080, mcalamiacsw@aol.com

Copyright 2013 - Mary Calamia, LCSW, CASAC

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | Report this
Nick516

What qualifies this guy to be a Commissioner of Education? Being black and young should not warrant an appointment to such a high state position. Dump him...and Cuomo for appointing him.

Thursday, November 28, 2013 | Report this
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