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NSCSD hosts information session on state curriculum

— In North Syracuse, John Kuryla, health teacher in the district and president of the North Syracuse Education Association, the district’s teachers’ union, headed up Thursday’s presentation, which was meant to provide information on the origins of Common Core, the standards it set forth and how North Syracuse is adhering to those standards. The evening also featured a panel of elementary school teachers available to answer general questions on the implementation of Common Core, though many of the parents present had questions more specifically geared to their own children’s experiences.

According to Kuryla’s presentation, there were several factors prompting the implementation of Common Core.

“Initially, the impetus was that there were different standards all across the U.S.,” Kuryla said. “The thought was that if all states had a common standard, we could reduce the gaps in learning.”

This issue was of particular concern for children in more transient families, particularly military families that had to move frequently. Those children often had large educational gaps as they moved from state to state. That’s a problem faced in the North Syracuse district, Kuryla said.

“In this building, as well as at Roxboro Road Elementary and Bear Road Elementary and the high school, we have a great transient population,” he said. “We have a lot of kids moving in and out. It’s very difficult for the classroom teacher to assess their educational level when the child comes in, where their gaps are. Picture that at a national level.”

In addition, advocates of Common Core were concerned about global competition.

“In the mid-1980s, we were doing really well economically, leading many of the other nations. Today is a dramatically different situation,” Kuryla said. ‘We’re no longer the economic powerhouse we were, and we’re lagging behind in our educational system. Common Core is meant to ensure that all kids are getting similar information so they can be prepared for the job market. We’re preparing kids for jobs that have yet to be created. Technology is transitioning at such a rapid pace that the technology in front of you will be obsolete by the time these kids are in the work force. We need to be prepared for all those changes.”

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