LI districts eye Monday's Common Core boycott

Middle County Central School District Superintendent Dr. Roberta Middle County Central School District Superintendent Dr. Roberta Gerold sits in on a mid-level extended school program taught by Matt Giordano inside the New Lane Memorial Elementary School. (Aug. 6, 2013) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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Several Long Island school district officials said they don't anticipate widespread absenteeism Monday, despite a growing online campaign to keep students home in protest against state testing requirements.

Last week, Janet Ward Wilson, an upstate New York mother, started a virtual campaign to make Nov. 18 "Don't Send Your Child to School Day" via Facebook and the website saynotocommoncore.net. The Facebook event page had 6,000 guests throughout the country, as of Sunday night, but it remains unclear how many Nassau and Suffolk parents plan to keep their children home.

Dr. Roberta Gerold, president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and superintendent of the Middle Country school district, said she had not heard many rumblings from parents in her district about keeping students at home, and had not heard concerns from other superintendents in Suffolk.

"Normally I hear stuff when it comes to things like this, but I have not heard much," Gerold said in a phone interview Sunday night.

Deirdre Gilligan, a spokeswoman for Syntax, a public relations firm that represents some 50 school districts in Nassau and Suffolk, said after touching base with several districts Friday afternoon that many planned to proceed with "business as usual."

"We'll plan on monitoring attendance records Monday, but other than that, we haven't heard much about special plans," Gilligan said.

Peter Guaraldi, a spokesman for the Farmingdale school district and Eastern Suffolk BOCES, said, "To the best of my knowledge, the districts . . . are not doing special or different for tomorrow [Monday]."

Last week, hundreds of parents and teachers showed up for two forums on Long Island hosted by state education officials to voice their concerns about the Common Core learning standards that rely heavily on high-stakes testing. The New York State PTA also has called for a one-year moratorium on Common Core-related testing.

Another community forum is scheduled on Nov. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Eastport-South Manor High School in Manorville, and the final Long Island forum this year is scheduled for Dec. 9 in Nassau County, but the time and location have not been announced.

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