Updated: 10/25/2013 5:26 PM
Created: 10/25/2013 6:52 AM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
For months, parents and teachers have been upset over Common Core exams in local school districts. But there is some good news. Some standardized tests in public schools will be eliminated. The first to go is an eighth grade math test.
Only a third of the students across New York passed the Common Core exams this past spring. Even though New York Education Commissioner John King didn't talk about the difficulty level of the tests Friday, his message to the hundreds of educators at the event was that work needs to move forward no matter what and that begins with a few changes.
It was a development parents and teachers have been waiting for and King said they got the go ahead from the United States Education Department.
King said, “The U.S. Education Department say it is open to our submitting the formal request which the board approved this week. So we look forward to making change to the eighth grade testing requirements.”
He says it is critical to test students only as needed.
King said, “What it will do is allow students and teachers to focus on that Regents exam which is the goal of that course because the students are in an accelerated math course.”
Many teachers and parents have been looking forward to the change.
Lisa Ryan, parent, said, “I don't believe that kids should be tested twice for the subject that they are taking.”
Jodi Segal, the Director of the Monroe County School Board Association, also agrees.
Segal said, “I don't know when the law or practice changed, but I think it is totally appropriate that you test students on the subject that they are taking.”
Questions also came up about the program in general. King also talked about the Common Core should be considered a resource, not a mandate, giving more leeway for local educators.
Phyllis Wickerman, Rush Central School District, said, “He's allowed us to see that on a local level you can adapt and adjust according to the needs and how your children respond to the text.”
Commissioner King spoke at the convention for more than 45 minutes. He also discussed using education programs from other countries as models and incorporating diversity in Common Core for Native Americans, Latinos and African-Americans. He talked about working closer with lawmakers to develop resources around the Common Core and improve instruction. He recommended districts look at their spending and how to better allocate funds moving forward. Commissioner King also talked about how $80 million worth of grants will be directed towards teacher leadership and development surrounding the program.
King said the Board of Regents is considering eliminating tests in other grades. However, some tests are required by the federal government.