My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting with New York State Senator Kemp Hannon on Sept. 4 to discuss our significant concerns with the Common Core Curriculum. The senator graciously agreed to meet and spent almost an hour with us, listening to the issues associated with the curriculum.
By now, I am certain that most readers are familiar with some of the problems inherent with the curriculum. Chief among them are the lack of input from educators, early childhood experts and a completely unproven and untested curriculum, despite dubious claims by the creators that they are internationally benchmarked. The absence of such expertise is readily apparent, given the inappropriate expectations imposed upon our youngest students and the subsequent pressure placed on students and teachers alike to produce high marks on state testing.
Schools are placed in the untenable position to produce high scores or risk placement on a “school watch list,” which gives them the option to improve during a specified time period or close the school. Given the grave consequences associated with poor scores, it may not be surprising to learn that several superintendents in large cities, such as Atlanta, El Paso, Washington D.C, and New York, have been implicated or indicted for cheating on these tests. We have created a climate in which true education has been trumped by a vague test score without meaning.
What you may not know is that the only two educators on the validation committee, Dr. James Milgram and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, refused to sign off on the standards, reporting that they would leave graduating seniors woefully unprepared for a selective four year university. In fact, Jason Zimba, the creator of the math standards, admitted that the standards are not appropriate for selective universities, even if the student is not pursuing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Degree.
During the course of our conversation, Sen. Hannon remarked that there seemed to be a lack of consensus among his constituents regarding Common Core. Based on the fact that there were close to 30,000 state test refusals in the spring 2014 for Long Island alone, I know that this is not the case. However, if constituents do not reach out to elected officials to express their disapproval, they are left in the dark regarding our concerns. How can they effectively represent us if we do not communicate the issues facing us?
To this end, I urge any readers who share our concerns to please reach out to Sen. Hannon, or your own representative, to discuss the current state of our educational system. To reach Senator Hannon, you may visit his website at www.kemphannon.com or call his office at 516-739-1700.