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Long IslandEducation

Common Core on Long Island: A collection of opinions

Common Core standardized testing made headlines when more than 71,000 students across LI opted out of taking tests in English Language Arts.

We decided to ask a number of Long Islanders to write down their thoughts about Common Core.

This is what they had to say.

'We were falling behind'

What he wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What he wrote: "The end result will be worth it. We have to be patient to wait until it's worked out. We were falling behind."
Paul Cisotto, of Levittown, is a parent who believes standardized testing will eventually improve education, helping us compete against other nations who rank higher than the United States in English and math comprehension. "I don't know if how we're rolling out the testing is the best way to do it — the further you are in your academic career, the harder it is to enact and adapt to change in the way you are learning," Cisotto says. "I think in some time, the plan is going to work, but if they don't think Common Core is the answer, then what is?"

'I hate this program'

What she wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What she wrote: "I hate this program. It has nothing to do with teaching. Anything beneficial creates stress in both students and teachers. My husband retired because of it!"
Jan Hart, of Huntington, said her husband chose to retire from teaching after becoming frustrated with the Common Core system. Hart believes the system doesn't do students justice. "Good students who are always doing well are failing," she said.

'It's important to evaluate teachers'

What he wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What he wrote: "If it holds teachers accountable, I am for it!"
Larry Clayton, of Brookhaven, believes that it is important for teachers to be held to a standard so that they do their best in the classroom. "I'm not personally involved with the Common Core testing, but I do think it's important to evaluate teachers," he said.

'Why do we have to do the work?'

What he wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What he wrote: "They're not grading us, they're grading the teachers. Why do we have to do the work?"
Danny Cisotto, 12, is a student at Wisdom Lane Middle School in Levittown. Cisotto's parents have chosen to have him take the Common Core tests.

'Unfair for students who have different needs'

What she wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What she wrote: "Common Core is unfair for all students who have different needs, be it ESL or special needs. One standardized test should not assess all students in the age of differentiated instruction."
Erika, of Melville, believes that different students have different strengths and weaknesses in the classroom and that standardized testing does not do students justice when evaluating their academic performance.

'It's good practice'

What he wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What he wrote: "Good practice."
Darren Dibenedetto, of Holtsville, chose to have his son Darren Jr., right, participate in Common Core testing this year. "It's good practice, kids need to learn how to be good test takers," he said. "We're going to embrace it instead of just opting out, especially as finals approach at the end of the year."

'Not enough time given to complete'

What she wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What she wrote: "Exams are unfair and not enough time given to complete."
Patty Lozada, of the Bronx, is a preschool teacher. "I've looked at the English test they give to the third-graders and the passages they present are too long for children of that age to read and answer in the 70-minute time span they're given," she said.

'Long way around the block'

What he wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What he wrote: "The long way around the block."
Rich Amsterdam, of Massapequa Park, says he has trouble helping his grandson Liam, 7, with his Common Core math homework because he does not fully understand the process. "There may be some reasoning behind why they teach it that way, but it just doesn't make any sense," he said.

'Unfair'

What they wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What they wrote: "Unfair."
Laurie DeLuca and Luci DeVito are both mothers living in Massapequa Park and are active members of the community group Massapequa Moms.

"I don't think it's a bad thing for standards to be laid out across the country," DeVito said. "But children are being cheated out of a normal and fair education because of it," DeLuca added. "Teachers have less flexibility, and since there is so much time put into preparing for the tests, other subjects like science and social studies are sometimes put on hold."

'I don't understand it!'

What he wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What he wrote: "I see a problem I can do in my head, and they make the kids go through so many steps to solve. I don't understand it!"
Scott Schwaber, of Northport, says the Common Core math curriculum seems to make simple problems complex with additional steps that aren't necessary to get to the answer.

'They heard our voices'

What she wrote:
Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

What she wrote: "Cuomo has no business in education. Let our children have a childhood."
Christina Badagliacca, of Massapequa Park, chose to have her children opt out of taking the exams this year and was supportive of the large turnout of parents that also followed suit. "I think they [the government] heard our voices when we chose to opt out," she said.

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