NYS's Commissioner of Education talks Common Core

Posted at: 05/23/2013 9:38 PM | Updated at: 05/23/2013 11:21 PM

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New York State's Commissioner of Education was in Rochester Thursday afternoon. He had one thing and one thing only on his agenda. The Common Core.

Forty six states, including New York, have adopted this new method of teaching. But it is drawing some criticism from parents and teachers.

  News10NBC got the opportunity to talk with the commissioner one-on-one.

The commissioner said it's about the big picture, graduating students. But parents say the new demands are stressful for kids. Teachers agree. Last week, 700 teachers on a single day were out of the classroom. The Rochester Teacher's Association President says half of them were out because they feel overworked and overwhelmed with all the new Common Core requirements.

John King, NYS Education Commissioner, said, “I think the most stressful thing about the state of schools in Rochester is the outcomes for students. When you have a city where the rate of college and career readiness is in the single digits, my sense is that the adults throughout the community should have a greater sense of urgency about the outcomes for kids and the fact that a quarter of the teachers weren't in the classroom is incredibly disappointing.”

King says education has been in a rut, teaching students how to pass exams, but not necessarily skills that will help them to succeed in college and the work world. Common Core he says is the answer to that.

King said, “I know there are people who say we need to go slower, but for the sake of students who get one shot at 4th grade or 7th grade, we've got to move faster to provide them with the kind of educational experiences that they need.”

 News10NBC asked King about parents' concerns that the assessment tests have put a lot of pressure on children. Some parents have gone as far as to pull their children out of school on test day.

King said, “Again as a community of adults, we've got to make the right decisions for kids. We have to create an environment where we say the assessments are not something to be stressed about. They're an opportunity for teachers, parents and kids themselves to see where they are in the trajectory to college and career success.”

The Common Core standards promote critical thinking. However, some teachers and principals across the state say the testing is the problem with this new program. They say the testing is confusing and does not align with the Common Core values.


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