Common Core

Thursday, June 4.

After the Legislative Session in Goshen, I was able to drive over to Slate Hill and the HVALF meeting on Common Core, where I spoke briefly to the large audience of educators as an experienced school district leader understanding the problems caused by improper implementation of a new program into the schools: anxiety, frustration, and anger. School administrators and teachers suffered. Parents and children suffered.

I also brought news that the Orange County Legislature had just passed a resolution that I co-sponsored in support of the New York State Assembly calling for amending the Common Core initiative and moving the momentum into Congress.

After the meeting, with the opportunity to speak alone with Judith Johnson, our Regent from The Board of Regents The University of the State if New York, it became clear that we were on the same page about the needed reform.
I offered my full support and benefits of insights learned in a school district-wide initiative for new programs.

From my perspective of having been the Director of the Office of State & Federally Funded Programs for a large school district in NYC, I am currently
vocal on the Common Core implementation foul up in getting instructional and teacher materials delivered to schools well in advance of their use ;
disregard for the method of bringing in a new program with appropriate workshop model teacher professional development about the program and the
materials to be used; foregoing a pilot program at selected school sites to “get the bugs out”; and having the gall to rate teachers using the students’
testing results:
– were the test questions vetted for grade appropriateness?
– were there special testing conditions for kids whose primary language is
not English?
– were there provisions for kids with handicapping conditions?
– has every child in every class been tracked in testing since entering
school to be able to predict that particular child’s anticipated test
– is a child’s rate of learning expected to change as curriculum increases
in difficulty?
*how is it possible to consolidate the many individual pupil factors to
arrive at a justification to use a high -stakes Common Core test in the
evaluation of a classroom teacher?

There is much more to say about:
1. self-esteem and attitudinal damage to kids and teachers.
2. Parent outrage
3. Short changing teaching time for curriculum coverage in order to test-

Importantly, school is supposed to be about teaching and learning. It is
about instilling a love of learning, so the maturing child can have
enjoyment while engaged in the learning process.

In the classroom, testing should be a non-threatening check-up on that the
kids are “getting it,” telling the teacher to reteach, or to move
on….subject areas have a content scope and sequence.

When a test preempts learning curriculum and using a variety of learning
skills, students become test takers, not thinkers!

Myrna Kemnitz
County Legislator,
District 7, Monroe

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