Federal, state officials care little for parents' concerns
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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, a national initiative that aims to have kids college- or career-ready 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 teachers who say they haven't had adequate time to prepare kids for the new tests. At the same time, parents complain that their children are being tested too often and too early.
That most of those present in the Mineola High School auditorium for the forum, sponsored by State Sen. Jack Martins (Rep. – Mineola), opposed the state’s roll out was an indication of how strongly school people feel about the issue.
A recent poll by a respected company found that 45 percent of New Yorkers were confident that the Common Core standards would better prepare students, with 49 percent not confident. That is not exactly a rousing endorsement for a program that the state is pushing hard to sell as one that will ensure that students who graduate public schools will be ready for either college or a career.
The survey also said that 52 percent of voters think there is too much testing in public schools.
And while 34 percent think the Common Core standards are too demanding, 27 percent said they are not demanding enough, and 23 percent said they are about right.
"On the implementation of Common Core standards in public schools, New Yorkers are as divided as a physical education class that just broke up into teams," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. "There's no consensus at all on whether the standards are too demanding, not demanding enough or just right."
If the participants at the forums held on Long Island over the last two weeks is any measurement, however, there is a consensus on the state’s implementation of the program and that overwhelming consensus is that the state has screwed the pooch — rolling out the program so badly and so without feeling for kids or parents that King and Tisch should be taken off the field and replaced by somebody who listens, somebody who cares.