Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Utica Observer-Dispatch Covers The Problems Parents And Teachers Have With Common Core

We're starting to see more and more media pieces on Common Core opposition that do not marginalize critics as crazy people.

Here's one from the Utica Observer-Dispatch:

When Nathan Hanna’s sons in first and third grades come home from school, he gives them a 15 minute break.

During that time, the Sauquoit parent looks at their homework, usually in worksheet form, then goes online and looks at the modules they came from — essentially doing his homework so he can help his kids with theirs.

“It takes a lot of effort as a family to keep on top of it,” Hanna said.

Why the extra work? The new Common Core Curriculum.

And like many parents throughout state, Hanna is not a fan.

Implementation began last school year for grades three to eight, increasing students' college and career readiness through a more rigorous curriculum.

The standards have become increasingly controversial, especially when the state test scores came out this summer showing that nearly 70 percent of students statewide failed.

Local parents, educators and community members have spoken out against the Common Core saying it was implemented incorrectly, is a one-size-fits all method and essentially ineffective, as well as costly.

But state education leaders are asking to stick with it.

“Any change process comes with challenges,” state Education Commissioner John King Jr. said Monday. “Every year we wait to implement is another year of loss.”

Here’s a look at some of the concerns, according to local parents and educators.


One of the main issues is timing, as the sample curriculum came out while the teachers have been trying to implement it. Also, test times for third through eighth graders last spring were shorter, causing extra frustration.

Districts have the option of implementing the Common Core into their own curriculum, and modules provided by the state are examples, King said.

Districts have the choice to adapt what the state gave them, adopt it, or create their own, though many education experts say the brief timeline gave educators no other option than to adopt what was offered.

One size fits all

The Common Core has posed a challenge for special education students and English language learners, who typically need more time on tests.

In Utica, schools with English language learners and a high population of special needs students typically score lower on tests. King said Monday that the modules can be changed locally to meet the needs of individual students.


The curriculum is so new there are no books yet available, only modules and worksheets. Because of that, so far this school year, the Utica City School District has spent nearly $80,000 on printing alone, said district Business Official Maureen Albanese. “There’s been a lot of printing. This was not anticipated.”
The state has provided videos and modules electronically through


The state Senate currently has a standing committee on education to take testimony about what the issues are with Common Core, and Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, said he hopes it can then look at what improvements can be made.

A bill is expected to be submitted to the Assembly Education Committee in January, to get rid of the Common Core, though local representative Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica thinks there’s a better way— funding.

“If we’re going to have to have higher standards, we have to make sure we’re providing adequate resources to teachers to implement the standards,” he said.

That's a pretty fair piece from a local mainstream new outlet.

The ed deformers and privatizers will try and save this mess by paying lip service to parents and saying "Oh, we'll look to fix the problems, not kill the Core."

But the problems with the Common Core go right to the core - the inappropriateness for younger children, the shifting from reading literary fiction and self-to-text writing to mostly informational test reading and argumentative writing, the forcing every subject to teach complex text reading and argumentative writing (even art, music and physical education!), and the endless "assessments" that are given in every class in every subject all the year through to track student "achievement" and teacher "performance."

There is no improving this - there is only ending this.

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