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The common core conundrum: Are the new standards the best thing to happen in education, or are they setting the bar too high for teachers and students?

Tiffany MacRae, of Jordan, made these shirts for her children to wear on Nov. 18. She got the idea from a Facebook friend who had designed the shirts for her kids, and liked the idea for her daughters.

Tiffany MacRae, of Jordan, made these shirts for her children to wear on Nov. 18. She got the idea from a Facebook friend who had designed the shirts for her kids, and liked the idea for her daughters. Sarah Hall

— “These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century," State Education Commissioner John King said in a press release after this year’s scores came out. “I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers and principals. It's frustrating to see our children struggle. But we can't allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity. The results we've announced are not a critique of past efforts; they're a new starting point on a roadmap to future success.”

But educators and parents alike aren’t so sure Common Core should be the future of American education. At a forum held last week at C. W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville, the vast majority of testimony said the new curriculum had serious flaws.

Forum raises concerns

The forum, hosted by Assemblymen Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski), Robert C. Oaks (R,C-Macedon) Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) Al Graf (R,C,I-Holbrook) and Edward Ra (R,C,I-Garden City), was the fifth such event held statewide to investigate the effectiveness of Common Core. Several groups, including district superintendents, members of the SUNY system, local chambers of commerce, school administrators, teachers, teachers’ union representatives, parents, parent-teacher-student advocacy groups and students themselves, came from across the region to present their views and concerns about the Common Core to the panel.

Many issues were connected to the Common Core rollout, including the lack of input from educators into the creation of the curriculum, the demand to teach curriculum modules that have not even been written yet, the fact that the current year’s module of instruction was received, in some cases, less than 24 hours before the 2013-14 school year started and the incompleteness of the modules, some of which had some glaring errors.

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