Calls for major reforms concerning the controversial Common Core education standards are growing, and some powerful lawmakers are lending their voices to the rally.
At West Seneca East Senior High School Tuesday night, parents and educators gathered for a forum to discuss the implementation of Common Core standards. But the forum was held the same day an unprecedented coalition of lawmakers in both Albany and Washington are telling the State Education Department to suspend Common Core standards while considering major reforms.
Allendale Elementary School Principal Margaret Borchert said, “The Common Core is supposed to level the playing field. I see it as erosion: erosion of curiosity, erosion of creativity, and erosion of the joy of learning.”
West Seneca has been one of the local districts most united and vocal in raising concerns about how New York State rolled out its Common Core program.
West Seneca School Board Vice President Janice Dalbo said, “There’s a huge void of public school experience among the panel of advisers.”
“The Common Core does not allow for children to learn at their own rate. Some children do benefit from rigorous work and figuring out difficult and challenging academics while others do not,” added teacher Jacqlyn Nowinski.
And West Seneca Superintendent Dr. Mark Crawford concluded, “We’re not opposed to a rigorous evaluation of our teachers. We had a wonderful instrument that we use to process before APPR came along.”
Those calling for reform in West Seneca gained powerful allies amongst both Republicans and Democrats in Albany.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Leader Dean Skelos and the Education Chairs in both houses are calling for a complete suspension of the Common Core standards for two years. In Washington, Congressman Chris Collins supports that idea.
“As a call to action, I think these forums have resulted in some significant change in the thinking in Albany,” Dr. Crawford said. “And the cards that you’ve been given tonight to contact our legislators, very important to do it.”
In response to concerns from lawmakers, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and State Education Commissioner John King issued a statement saying they will continue to work toward improved implementation of Common Core standards. The statement also said at next week’s meeting of the Board of Regents, members will “consider possible options for thoughtful adjustments to the Common Core.”