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NSCSD hosts information session on state curriculum

— About 30 people attended a public listening session Thursday, Jan. 9, at Roxboro Road Middle School in Mattydale to learn more about Common Core.

The informational session was one of several hosted throughout the year by the North Syracuse Central School District, though this one had a more specific focus than the others.

“We have three listening sessions a year, and they generally have no particular focus,” said Superintendent Annette Speach. “But we had one in the fall at Cicero Elementary, and it had a pretty small turnout, but we spent most of the time talking about questions on Common Core. A lot of parents wondered if there was a way to get more information. So that’s why we repurposed tonight’s session, to help focus on the topic and help people become more comfortable with the curriculum.”

Common Core learning standards are a more rigorous benchmark initially approved by the New York State Board of Regents in 2010. The requirements, which have been adopted in states across the country, are aimed at helping children acquire sophisticated reasoning skills. The goal behind these standards is to move the schools away from rote learning to a writing-intensive curriculum that emphasizes problem-solving skills. They were rolled out statewide last year, but in many cases schools and teachers weren’t provided with the necessary materials to implement the curriculum. That didn’t stop the state from using said curriculum in the most recent round of state assessment tests, resulting in record-low scores statewide.

Since its implementation, Common Core has continued to draw the ire of parents for a variety of reasons. Some object to the standardization of the curriculum, while others are concerned with the age-inappropriateness of some of the course materials. Many parents have expressed frustration with the nature of the work and the expectations being placed on their children, leading to statewide efforts to recall the curriculum and Opt Out days where parents keep their children home from school in objection to Common Core.

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