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Common Core continues to cause controversy

CNY community voices its opinion at forum with State Education Commissioner

Cora Gilbert, a student in the Jamesville-DeWitt School District, was the youngest audience member to speak to King. “I don’t like that students have to take tests at the beginning of the year with stuff on them that we know nothing about,” she said. “It’s frustrating and it makes us feel stupid.”

Cora Gilbert, a student in the Jamesville-DeWitt School District, was the youngest audience member to speak to King. “I don’t like that students have to take tests at the beginning of the year with stuff on them that we know nothing about,” she said. “It’s frustrating and it makes us feel stupid.” Allie Wenner

— For the second time this school year, New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King paid a visit to the Fayetteville-Manlius School District. But instead of observing classrooms and speaking with administrators, this time King faced a crowd of around 200 people, composed mainly of parents, teachers and students frustrated with the new Common Core standards.

King appeared at F-M High School on Dec. 3 to hold one of the many Common Core forums he's been traveling across the state to facilitate. Most of the 35 people who asked questions at this forum had ties to the F-M district, but some came as far as Jordan-Elbridge, North Syracuse and Liverpool to pose their questions to King.

Although there were some hecklers who shouted out when King responded to questions, the audience stayed under control throughout the two hour forum. A few people held signs that said things like “All children are not common” and “Education is not a race.”

Nearly everyone who spoke had some concerns regarding the Common Core standards and a variety of topics were brought up, including: modules, curriculum, accommodations for students with disabilities, teacher evaluations, unnecessary testing, confusing and poorly worded test questions and whether or not the state will make changes to the Common Core as a result of the forums. King answered by stating that he’s fully committed to the Common Core, but is willing to make some adjustments.

“If the question is whether the forums are going to result in any retreat from the Common Core standards, the firm, clear, simple answer is no,” King said. “But there are things that we can adjust, and any time you raise standards, there are going to be adjustments along the way. These forums and the many visits I make to schools provide guidance to us as we consider possible adjustments.”

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