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Education Town Hall Series, Part II

The Whitesboro High school gym was filled with concerned educators and parents tonight, many of them finding fault with common core standards, recently implemented across the country as the first major reform to deal with what's being taught in the classroom.
The Whitesboro High school gym was filled with concerned educators and parents tonight, many of them finding fault with common core standards, recently implemented across the country as the first major reform to deal with what's being taught in the classroom.

"I think the problem that most teachers have with the Common Core curriculum was they were given the ‘what’ in a three ringed binder but they weren't given the “how’," said Cherie Grant, fourth grade school teacher in the Utica City School District.

But state education commissioner, Dr. John King Jr., says a billion and half dollars was invested in professional development, and bumps in the road are to be expected.

"Look, any change process comes with the challenges of change," he said.

But less than a third of students across the state met or exceeded these standards for state testing in both math and language arts, triggering passionate debate at tonight's meeting.

"The standards themselves really just set a high bar for reading skills, writing skills, and math skills, that again reflects what it takes to be successful in college and careers," said King.

But many parents and teachers alike told Eyewitness News that these standards are too high and all they're doing are frustrating the students.

Jessica McNair has two young children, and says she wants them held to a high standard, but not one standardized testing can measure.

"We're talking about children here that are all unique, have different learning styles and different learning needs and I feel that Common Core state standards are too rigid and try to fit kids all into the same box," she said.

Others didn't take issue with the high standards but with testing students before the Common Core has been fully implemented, and they're asking for a three year moratorium on state testing.

"It's putting the cart before the horse, exposing kids and parents to high stakes assessment and rolling that out prior to the implementation of the Common Core curriculum," said Grant.
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