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Letters: Taking issue with Common Core

Amid empty desks, students at Southside Middle School

Amid empty desks, students at Southside Middle School in Rockville Centre take the Common Core mathematics test on Friday, April 24, 2015. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

As a taxpayer and mother on Long Island, I want our schools to have the highest standards, and I certainly want our children better prepared for college -- both of which are supposed goals of the Common Core ["NY's education firestorm," Editorial, Sept. 13]. However, the rollout of the Common Core has left some victims in its wake who are seldom mentioned: members of the Class of 2017.

My daughter is in this class. Common Core algebra was introduced in her freshman year of high school. For eight years, these children were taught math skills and problem solving in a particular way, and then they were expected to adopt new Common Core strategies. This is a difficult task for the most mathematically inclined! Teachers struggled to teach these new concepts. To make matters worse, the SAT exam for 2016 has been modified to include Common Core concepts.

High school performance and SAT scores are more important than ever before when applying to college. The rapid rollout of the Common Core could affect my daughter's college prospects and her goals. A lower GPA and lower SAT scores equal less chance of entrance into college. This is the opposite of the Common Core goal!

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's revival of his education reform commission to essentially try to "fix what's broke" in our education system and will have little effect on my 11th grader. Perhaps a tax credit is in order for the parents of the Class of 2017 who have spent thousands of dollars on tutoring as a result of a faulty, rapid rollout of the Common Core? I won't hold my breath.

Kara Benneche, Babylon

I'm a grandparent, not a parent, so I wasn't eligible to take Newsday's opt-out survey. I do, however, have an opinion about the use of standardized tests.

If the reason for the testing is to help the students, then the tests should be diagnostic. They should assess the needs of the individual child. These needs can then be addressed by the teacher and parents.

The only reason for the governor's insistence on the use of standardized rather than diagnostic tests would be to evaluate the teacher and not the child.

Diane Coddington, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writer is a retired special education teacher.