The Times
  • Assemblyman Brindisi asks for re-examination of Common Core

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  • UTICA — After hearing educators, parents and the community at an October town hall meeting, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, is now calling for re-examination of state’s new Common Core Standards.
    In a letter to state Education Commissioner John King, Jr. Brindisi asks for test relief for pre-kindergarten through second grade students as well as changes to requirements for students with disabilities.
    “As a parent of young children and a former school board member, I understand how important it is to encourage them to read and to explore the world around them,” Brindisi wrote to King. “According to many parents of young students, memorization and frequent standardized test taking is only leading to anxiety, and a fear of going to school among children.”
    Implementation of Common Core began last year for grades three through eight and will be included in the high school English language arts and algebra 1 Regents exams in June.
    The more rigorous standards, which will continue to be phased in at all grade levels, are aimed at increasing college and career readiness.
    The implementation of the standards and fear of over-testing students, however, have caused them to be quite controversial.
    Brindisi and Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, sponsored a town hall event on Oct. 7 in the Whitesboro High School gymnasium, where community members could question King in person on the topic.
    Since the forum, Brindisi said he has received comments from teachers and parents who are concerned about the aforementioned aspects of the standards.
    “I believe that requirements of the Common Core and the related Annual Professional Performance Review for Special Needs Teachers may be affecting teachers’ efforts to help these students,” Brindisi wrote to King. “One Special Education Teacher at the Whitesboro forum stated that the rigid standards for these students has resulted in behavior problems, and reduced class attendance by these students.”
    Brindisi asked King to examine the issues.
    “I believe parents, teachers, and educational experts should be consulted to consider changes to the Common Core Standards that might assist educators who teach special needs students, as well as whether or not the testing program for Pre-K through second grade students is appropriate,” he said.
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