Across the state, parents and teachers have been speaking out against the new learning standards called Common Core, but when state education officials came to the city, they got a different response. Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
On Tuesday night at Medgar Evers College, State Education Commissioner John King caught a break.
After months of facing hostile crowds, his audience in Crown Heights in Brooklyn was mostly in favor of the new Common Core learning standards that every school in the state is adopting.
“These standards will open up the doors for my grandchildren for a better life,” one mother testified.
A team of powerful education advocacy groups organized most of the parents and teachers at Medgar Evers College, the same groups that got thousands of charter school parents to march across the Brooklyn Bridge in October.
They support education policies championed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the state commissioner and they want Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio to carry them on.
“I come from an era where it was just standardized testing and they didn't raise the bar, you just had to make it and I want the children to be pushed, they are our future. Like someone said out there, I want my grandkids to take care of me one day,” said parent Jacqueline Green-Parks.
Until now, most meetings about Common Core have been dominated by those against it.
“It was overwhelming pro-Common Core, not only pro-Common Core but pro-standardized testing. They were supportive of the current testing program, which was shocking to me. I don't know how anyone could be supportive of the tests having administered them spring to 5th graders, I'm speechless,” said Katie Lapham, a teacher at PS 214.
At times, the arguments between parents spilled out into the hallway.
New York is one of the first states to switch to Common Core, including tests and teacher evaluations.
There was a second forum on the same issue in the Bronx Tuesday night, but it attracted a much smaller and more evenly divided crowd.
A third forum is planned for Wednesday night in Manhattan.