Local parents pledged to eliminate the Common Core curriculum from their schools are holding a discussion session from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in Harrison designed to provide information and air their concerns.
The group, Stop Common Core in New York State, has invited a panel of national education pundits to talk about the downside of the curriculum now in place in 45 states that spells out what children should be taught at each grade to make them “college and career ready.”
Common Core is strongly supported by John King Jr., New York’s education commissioner. As part of the initiative, schools are required to test students at the beginning and end of the school year, elementary and middle school students take math, science and English tests in the spring and high school students must pass five Regents tests to graduate; administration must input the tests and other measures into a databank to better analyze student skills and teachers are judged by how well their students do on the tests, as well as other measures.
New York required its elementary and middle school students to take tests on Common Core curriculum last spring with less than a year’s preparation and scores were abysmal. King had warned parents and educators that the scores would be terrible, and he was right. Only about 30 percent of students statewide were considered at or above standards. Local scores of even the highest ranking districts did not approach more than 60 percent of students “college and career ready.”
“It’s very disturbing what’s going on in the school district today,” said Elizabeth Marti of Port Chester, who is helping coordinate the event with Yvonne Gasperino and Glen Dalgleish. “We’re having a free forum and educational speakers coming in to educate parents. People really don’t know what’s on the line with those (regulations) and Common Core in general.
“My biggest concern is the excess testing for the children,” she said. Marti has two children in the Port Chester district, one in elementary school and one in middle school. “They just had testing (three) days ago and we’re not even in school for three weeks. They’re planning to do some tracking within the databases and they want to take my children’s personal information and track it. They’re doing data mining of children … they signed on to do (Common Core) and it’s not even benchmarked. They did it without having proof this is something that’s going to work.”
Forum guests include Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute; Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Cato Center for Educational Freedom; Emmett McGroarty, executive director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative at the American Principles Project; Sheila Kaplan, founder of EducationalNewYork.com; and Christopher Tienken, assistant professor, Seton Hall University.
Doors open at 12:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.StopCommonCoreinNewYork.com