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.”
continued “The modules lay the description of teacher-student interactions as a resource – or vignette – as to what the module implementation could look like,” he said. “The modules themselves are not meant to be a script, we have tremendous confidence in the modules.”
Teacher evaluations also proved to be a hot topic for discussion.
“It seems that teachers spend all this time trying to prove to the state that they are highly effective, which could be better spent by creating highly effective lessons and collaborating with colleagues,” said Victoria Balinfy, who teaches sixth grade at Eagle Hill Middle School. “In the criminal justice system, a person is innocent until proven guilty. In New York state, teachers are ineffective until proven otherwise.”
And a couple parents of children with disabilities stood up to voice their concerns, including F-M Board of Education President Marissa Mims, who has twins in seventh grade at Eagle Hill Middle School.
“As a parent, I can no longer allow my son to take the Common Core assessment,” Mims, whose son has a learning disability, said. “I will still allow my daughter to take it, but not my son, because the test is not going to reflect the work that he is doing with his teachers during the school year. It’s not going to reflect his progress, and it’s not going to reflect the hard work his teachers put into him every year.”
King responded that the state is working on getting a waiver from the Department of Education which could potentially allow two percent of students in the state, who have disabilities, to take assessments at their instructional level instead of based on age.
And as he did at his previous visit to F-M, King commended the district for its early adoption of the Common Core.
“I want to make a point in recognizing the work that’s happening in F-M around the adoption and implementation of the Common Core,” he said. “The time that the district set aside for teachers to spend with the students, adapting curriculum materials to try to meet the standards and thinking carefully about how to build a bridge between where students are and the higher expectations in the standards [are things that F-M did well.]”