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Monday, October 20, 2014
Federal, state officials care little for parents' concerns
Herald
Howard Schwxch

The evening of Nov. 13 was clearly a difficult one for New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King and Chancellor Meryl Tisch.

Although, it was not like they hadn’t heard it all before. Opponents of the way the state has rolled out the Common Core standards demand to be heard, and they are not taking any prisoners — especially among the enemy, the New York State Department of Education.

The two state officials sat alone at a table on the auditorium stage at Mineola High, listening intently – some say without hearing a word — as teachers, administrators and parents, many of them both school staff and parents — 47 in all — spoke out about the state’s roll-out of what has popularly come to be called the Common Core.

While all of them approved of the Common Core standards, but not one of those 47 people said that they approved of the way the state has introduced the program to local school districts.

I was standing to the right of the stage, speaking with participants after they had spoken to King and Tisch from the podium below where they were sitting.

One after another walked away shaking their head and many had the same comment: “They didn’t hear a word that I said.”

Apparently, the uncaring, unhearing feeling extends to the federal educational bureaucracy as well.

Speaking to state school superintendents about the complaints about the rollout of the Common Core standards and testing program, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, said “It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from sort of, white, suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary. You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on ‘my child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the stomach.

So, the problem with the rollout is not with the educational officials who fouled up, but with the parents, who don’t understand what is going on.

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

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