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Board adopts resolution against tougher testing

Kings Park High School at 200 East Main

Kings Park High School at 200 East Main St. houses students grades 9 through 12. It is the only high school in the Kings Park Central School District. (June 27, 2012) Credit: Fran Berkman

The Kings Park school board has adopted a resolution against tougher testing, calling for stronger protections of student information in a statewide database and additional state funding for curriculum and staff development.

The board voted 4-0 on the resolution Tuesday. It was drafted by Superintendent Susan Agruso and modeled after a letter sent Nov. 5 by Michael Mensch, chief operating officer of Western Suffolk BOCES, to state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.

The resolution acknowledges the more rigorous Common Core standards "will have academic benefit for our students," but said "our community has raised concerns regarding the implementation of new assessments."

The resolution offers recommendations to "delay high stakes decisions about students and staff until the transition to the Common Core is completed" and "limit the ELA [English Language Arts] and math assessments in grades 3 through 5 to two sessions each."

Kings Park High School science teacher Chris Philp thanked the board for the resolution, saying, "I think it's important that the district stands strong on some things that are troublesome in all of the reforms that are being pushed through."

Philp said many 7th- and 8th-grade teachers at William T. Rogers Middle School told him they are "doing a lot of teaching to the test . . . We have students that are working out of workbooks for an entire 80 minutes. That's concerning, and I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of that in the resolution."

Trustee Tom Locascio thanked Philp for his concerns. "We're all in this together," Locascio said. "I don't want anybody to think that the issues that we're all grappling with are easy, because they're not. You can see that across Long Island."

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