State Education Commissioner discusses common core concerns with parents

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – The State Education Commissioner welcomed students back to school at the Sweet Home School District in Amherst Wednesday morning.

MaryEllen Elia sat down with parents and faculty to listen to any concerns they have about the new school year.

Elia said it’s important to her to do so because it takes teamwork to ensure students are successful.

Parents took the time to voice their concerns about common core.

“They are moving away from a well-rounded curriculum and they’re focusing so much on having kids pass the common core test. That’s the focus in the classroom. So they’re losing sight of some basic skills like writing and spelling,” Jennifer Polydock, a parent in the district, said.

Elia responded to parents’ concerns by saying she wants to raise the educational standards for all students so they are college ready.

She said the state is assessing the exam now.

“I think that the standards need to be reviewed and in the context of the assessments, we’re reviewing assessments. We’ve got a new company that’s coming in and we’re addressing all the issues that I think are important,” Elia said.

The commissioner added that she’s always out talking to parents and teachers so she can understand what needs to be revised and reviewed. “I think it’s really important for parents and teachers to look at the opportunities that the assessment and data coming back from them can give to us,” she said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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