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Letters: Poor introduction of Common Core

Education Commissioner John B. King Jr., right, speaks

Education Commissioner John B. King Jr., right, speaks to people after a Common Core education forum at Mineola High School. (Nov. 13, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

I attended the Common Core forum in Mineola and Newsday's story failed to cover the substance discussed there ["Put to the test on Core tour," News, Nov. 14].

Amid the grandstanding, there were some fair questions posed and concerns raised by questioners, as well as thorough responses provided by state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.

The discussion covered implementation of the Common Core curriculum in our public schools, the tie-in with teacher evaluations, the sharing of testing data and professional development. King put many of these issues in the proper context of New York State and federal legislation and policy, which has driven much of this process.

Newsday would better serve its readers by reporting more on the substance of the issue and these related events, rather than the drama surrounding it.

Richard Caroddo, East Williston
 

Several things struck me as I listened to passionate, articulate, intelligent speakers at the meeting about the Common Core curriculum and surrounding controversies.

First, we are fortunate on Long Island to have so many people who care enough about the education of our children to come out on a cold night to share their observations and thoughts.

Second, I was amazed at the unity in the room. Parents, teachers, and administrators shared their beliefs about schooling and the importance of educating students for life, rather than just for "college and career readiness."

Speaker after speaker discussed exciting, challenging, engaging and effective activities in their districts. The lessons promoted life-long learning and involved critical thinking, adaptive reasoning, perseverance and creativity.

High-stakes testing is interfering with that kind of learning. As an educator of more than 40 years at virtually all levels, I thought of the vast knowledge of this audience and hoped that King, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, and Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) were really listening.

Jane St. Pierre, Rocky Point
 

I am the parent of a first-grader, and I attended a meeting about the Common Core mathematics rollout at our school auditorium. Our meeting was the same as others that have been taking place -- pure emotion.

During our meeting, the poor gentleman who was sent to explain the math program was berated by angry parents. He could only tell us why it was rolled out, not how to help our children be successful.

The bottom line is, we are the victims of a poorly planned initiative. It was put out there without the proper training for teachers and no tools for the parents.

Repeatedly, we are told that the Common Core will get us up to a global level in mathematics. However, state education officials have not considered the mental and emotional effects on the children.

One parent asked if there was beta testing before the rollout. The answer was no. Another parent quoted a highly regarded educator who had refused to endorse the Common Core. Still, another parent has a daughter who had been getting A's and now has failing grades. Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. has pulled the rug out from underneath our children.

I am sure there was some sort of political or financial deal made for this program to have been introduced in this manner.

Patricia Kowalewski, Mount Sinai

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