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The Call Blog: Parents, Educators Meet State Leaders To Discuss Education Reforms

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After a series of less-than-pleasant forums, tonight's hearing in Brooklyn was a much friendlier affair for State education officials. Whether the outpouring of support for the Common Core curriculum was planned or not, our show was a different story. Most callers blasted the tougher standards, including teachers who said they weren't give enough time to prepare for it. Our e-mails below also reflect that sentiment.



Students, parents, and teachers in Brooklyn and the Bronx are meeting tonight to discuss the controversial Common Core curriculum and other reforms at New York City public schools. State Education Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch are scheduled to attend the forums "to understand how the implementation is going and what adjustments, if any, have to be made."

The Common Core standards have sparked controversy in several states across the country. The curriculum is meant to help students get ready for college and careers by promoting critical thinking. But critics say the lessons are not age-appropriate, promote a one-size-fits-all learning approach, and were created by people who have no classroom training. They also say the schools are not being given the adequate resources and training to execute the curriculum. What do you say?

Has your school adopted the new Common Core standards? How is the implementation going? What changes would you make to improve it? How would you make sure public school students are prepared for college and careers? What is Mayor Bloomberg's legacy when it comes to education and reforms to the Department of Education?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



Common Core curriculum sounds like vacuous nonsense to me. What happened to contextual and age appropriate teaching?

Joe
Port Richmond



I haven’t much to say other than why did Bloomberg have so much power as not
to include any of the parents/educators while he reined supreme. So because
Bloomberg took over the education he and he alone decided the how and when
to run the system. So now we all have to wait for a decision as to whether to
leave it as is or make some adjustments. So in the meantime as always we have
wasted precious years just because he just ends up as usual making this none other
than a business proposition just like everything else he controls.
So in the meantime he walks away and others are left cleaning up his mess.
I’ve always said these politicians never have our interest at heart and that’s what
they are there for [ supposedly ] and so as all the others do when they leave they
just end up passing through and do it their way for one reason or another and it’s
never to our advantage. Of course the main reasons always being front and center
the money.

Maxxee
Morris Park


Let me put it to you this way - I was born, raised and educated in NYC Public Schools, my siblings, my husband, my children were also born, raised and educated in NYC Public Schools. WE ARE ALL COLLEGE GRADUATES & PROFESSIONALS! Why is it that our school system was good enough for everyone who was interested to make a future for themselves - be it through college and eventual profession or trade and eventual career? Afterall - isn't that what makes us all different? Are all people born to become college graduates or is it necessary for them to have a college degree? Education yes, but why does everyone need to attend college? Those who want to be engineers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and slews of other professional positions, will be. Those who prefer working in construction, auto mechanics, and any of the trade occupations, will do so. Some trade occupation workers make more money per hour than many professional people.

Common Core has value to it but it was implemented so poorly that it bombed before it even began. This is true for the new teacher evaluation system in NYC as well. Also true for the new curriculums - supposedly common core ready - in ELA & MATH - all implemented in a terrible way. Thrown at all the children across the City of New York. Thrown at every teacher and told - make it work or else. What has not changed - is the family life many of our students have. It doesn't matter what we do in our classrooms - when there is no support from home - parents that can't read, speak our language, etc. Parents that let their kids be the boss instead of parenting them with love and discipline. Oh yes - we have some very good students in our system too. When you take a look at them - they are the ones who have a supportive family life. Parents that work with them, provide for them, love them and help them.

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT IS INSIDE OUR CLASSROOMS - BECAUSE IT IS WHAT IS OUTSIDE WHEN THESE CHILDREN GO HOME THAT MATTERS AND UNTIL SOMEONE FIGURES OUT HOW TO FIX OUR SOCIETY - OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM WILL CONTINUE TO SINK.

Longer school hours doesn't help these kids. They have no ambition, no drive. Half of them are sleeping before lunch time or acting out inappropriately. Parents response - I'LL TALK TO HIM - NEVER - the next day the parent complains to the principal about the teacher.

Bloomberg destroyed what was once the best Public School System in the USA. I hope and pray that Mayor Elect DiBlasio can bring some spark back to it. We've already lost almost 2 decades of kids.

Jessica
Arden Heights



If i had kids in the Public school system i would make sure my child's teachers are using the rght curricullum for my child's grade, and i would definitely help my child study for tests and review what they did in school that day. We all have to help the kids so they will get a good education and be prepared for college

Herman
Upper West Side



Tonight's reports from the Brooklyn forum with John King say that it was overwhelmingly taken over by special interests: charters, which are pro-Common Core Standards and pro-high-stakes testing. But in the Bronx, and the other 14 forums held around the state, there is mostly opposition.

Edith
West side



Slumbering has done a terrible job regarding education, he lobbied for mayoral control which was a bad idea, made a decision to hire Kathy Black as Bd of Ed Chancellor and she did not last long on the job.
Common Core needs major improvements, children don't get it because it was implemented to quick and teachers were not trained properly nor timely to educate children correctly.

Tony
Albany

PS: John King does not know what he is doing nor does he care because he is the commish and he has the final say!



As a parent of a child in public middle school and on the SLT in her school. The common core curriculum was implemented before they got all the bugs out. Many teachers in my child's school complained. As for my daughter my concern is she has anxiety disorders and all this testing puts her on constant edge. There is not enough resources to help children with disabilities keep up unless the parents constantly come in and demand services and make sure that child is receiving those services on a consistent bases, special needs children are falling through the cracks.

Miss Mae
Harlem



I might have a comment on tonight's topic if I could understand what was being said. As is unfortunately the case far too frequently these days, in my neighborhood at least, your transmission is breaking up again. Shame on Time Warner for providing such consistently lousy service.

Ellie
Turtle Bay



Very interesting that the forums in the affluent suburbs were against common core. There are also large numbers of parents in the affluent upper west and upper east side schools that are against common core. It's only the less affluent areas where the charters are preying on the fears of those parents where common core is meeting less resistance. This basically comes down to billionaires like Bloomberg and Bill Gates trying to privatize education.

Chris
Brooklyn



Do you wonder why this forum was so different from other forums that took place across the state? I can tell you: this forum was over-5run by E4E, DEFER and other groups that have a stake in the CCSS. It is so sad that real parents, teachers and community members were not heard. You should investigate. Who funded this effort? Check the signs, they were all done by the same organization, if not the same person.



The failure rate is because most of these students do not have engaged enough parents to sit with their children and take an active part in their child's learning...

Stricter school enviornment and more attention to their education. Simply I support the new requirements. Why dumb down the educational requirements and set children up for failure in life and not be able to compete with people educated outside the US.

Marilyn



there are two problems with the Common Core.

the first is testing. tests are poorly designed and count for too much, both for teachers and students.

the second is with curricula that align with the Common Core and how they are implemented. they no longer give teachers any flexibility.

Rachel
Upper West Side



It is about time some real standards are being instituted. Anything new (even a new pair of shoes) is uncomfortable at first. Go to the NY State Education website at www.nysed.gov and pull up an old Regents exam in Math or Science or History from 3 or 4 years ago. Look at the scoring chart. Many people do not realize that these are now marked on a curve----in some case answering one third of the questions correctly produces a grade of 65%.

Henry (a retired teacher)
The Bronx



will be that he just didn't get it. He didn't listen and didn't care. He has been a failure as the mayor of this once-great and diverse city. I am soo glad he is on his way out. He bought his third term and he used it to further his elitist social engineering agenda.

Frances
East Village



I like the idea of standards and of a common knowledge base, but am not at all a fan of how Common Core been constructed (without any educators in the drafting stages), framed (demoting literature in favor of non-fiction) or implemented (testing before the relevant curriculum even hot teachers' desks). I think we are stressing some strange variety of 'readiness' that churns out robots, and does not nurture kids' creativity or problem-solving.

I am not an educator, but I it was true at my school that tests were too long and were not age-appropriate - trigonometry questions for 6th graders?? NYS standardized tests are too long and suck WAY too much air out of the room for MONTHS. teachers lose weeks of curriculum time to test prep (which they can't afford not to do now that their ratings are SO based on the scores), test administration, and test grading (which, shockingly, to me, is not done by the company that makes the tests & costs schools money in the form of subs who cover for the grading teachers). All this thrown at schools that, more often than not, don't have the resources to support this sudden shifts in curriculum - money for a vast new library of non-fiction, anyone?

It has been quite demoralizing to see the derision that King and Tisch have shown to REAL parent complaints, blaming all dissent on the UFT and on special interest groups or advocates. Our NYS and NYC education leaders' arrogance and deference to money interests has been astonishing.

Anni
Manhattan



Bloomberg's 12 year education legacy -In one word - taken from the Danielson's rubric for rating teachers " ineffective "

Bill
Park Slope



Are we not all aware that the NYS Education Chancellor and Commisioner are on a promotional tour?

Do we also know that teachers and parents have been vilified, and virtually removed from the process of real education, replaced with Statisticians and Financiers?

From Obama to Bloomberg, the dye has been cast.

K
Harlem



Such as the one we're in 99% of all things are done for money. The Common Core is nothing more than a way to increase the wealth of those who have outlined the future of our children. Follow the money and you'll find that those who are pushing this agenda have another agenda to keep the populus in control.

And the career readiness, is an illusion that cannot be seen in any of the schools I've been in throughout the city. You notice that none of the callers are even talking about career readiness, because they are focused on their child being a billionaire like the role models the media constantly shows. Find one other than a vocational school and I'll give you a cigar



Students learn in so many different ways--let's sing, play instruments, cook, read out loud, practice cursive handwriting, make origami and paper airplanes that fly! Let's put fun back into the 3r's!



Let's just start eating babies. It's about as reasonable a proposal as Common Core when it comes to education, and is probably less damaging.

Jordan
Flushing



We are changing our children in to robots! They are being prepped to regergitate material with no depth or interest. We will kill all creativity! Special ed children will be left behind and pushed along( they are already despite no progress).
This is a nightmare from which we will never recover.

Susan



I believe that common core is common sense. The standards themselves (which were created with teachers) are not the problem. The problem is the over use of high stakes testing and pre-made curriculums doing exactly as the ladies(Felicia from Harlem and the lady after her) who spoke earlier were getting at-- taking the autonomy and the fun out of the classroom. The core gives us something to work towards, teachers need to create competencies that need to be taught in order to meet the standards and do so creatively! It's hard, time consuming and frustrating and people are nervous because again, it's too high stakes for all involved.

Kate
NYCDOE Teacher



I completely agree with the callers about it not being fair to judge teachers in poorer neighborhoods the same way. I also feel that because parents are not as involved in their children's education the slack has to be picked up by the teachers, which also is not fair.



Good evening. I have two Children a 10 year old in catholic school and a 7 year old who just left catholic school and now attends a charter school. I firmly believe that Common Core is being implemented in a haphazard way setting our children up for failure. Instead of gradually introducing the curriculum to all grade levels. my 7 year old child is being introduced to subject matter beyond her skill set way too soon and she is being expected to grasp now.

Sharon S.
Harlem



Our educational system has been sub par forever, when I was in ninth grade I left the country for a few years and in order to stay in the same grade I had to take cumulative tests from the 5th grade to ninth to prove that I had the knowledge necessary to continue. I was always in AP classes, if not for that I would have been forced to go back a few years because of the difference in educational goals between us and third world countries... My last year of HS in this third world country we were taught Calculus II as part of the basic curriculum.

Marilyn
Staten Island



I look forward to going to work every day. The day I dread is the day when students find out their state exam scores. Try telling a kid who been working their darnest for months that they have not passed the test - they have received a "1." Their confidence is shattered in front of you.

Stephanie
West Side Collaborative MS 250



I am a volunteer tutor and assisted a few students in achieving their GED. It is ashamed that students are given 13 questions to do in twenty two minutes. The Common Core system is setting up kids for failure when they are expected to complete these questions with less than two minutes per questions and they must read seven or more line of information, then set up formulas and compute for answers...

Andrew



Our education system has been in trouble for some time now. Perhaps we should look to japan. The school day is 6 hours of traditional learning and then students go to juku, a cram after school program to prepare for testing.

Elena
Bayside



You should read thomas friedman's column on this sunday's nytimes regarding education. As it has happened other issues, it has become politicized... . This is the best way of making sure problems aren't fixed.



The entire system delivers a very low quality education to approximately 80% of the students. They other 20% are taking massive #'s of AP classes, which do nothing to strengthen the students understanding of the subject but encourages cheating. Kid are learning to cheat because the only thing that matters is the test score. My son attended school in Chicago and earned an IB Diploma, which more accurately assesses the students understanding of the subject matter. We sought out a NYC public HS with the IB Diploma program and my daughter is attending that school. We do lots of extra math and reading at home and average 3 hours of studying each night. Parents have to discipline their kids to study harder and learn to perform well on written tests, oral presentations and writing/research. Common Core is a step in the right direction, but many NYC teachers are not knowledgeable enough in the subjects they are teaching, so they are not going to be able to teach the kids properly. The teachers need better training and to be certified in the subjects they are teaching like the IB program teachers are required to be trained.

Audrey
Clinton Hill



In my opinion, Mayor Bloomberg accomplished two things from an educational perspective.

1) He lessened the union's stranglehold on school administrations. Before, it was virtually impossible for Principals to get rid of atrociously low performing teachers, and extremely difficult to hire teachers they wanted to improve school performance.

2) Although students aren't performing much better, at least PARENTS are worried and taking education more seriously.
The dirty little political secret politicians don't talk about is:

YES, It is the role of government to provide an OPPORTUNITY for a first class education to all, irregardless of income level.

HOWEVER, it is the responsibility of the PARENT to make sure their child cherishes that opportunity and goes to school prepared, ready to learn and works hard. Except for orphans, It is not the responsibility of the State to raise a child.

Matt
Upper East Side

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