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Common Core opponents to keep children out of school Monday

Updated: 11/18/2013 6:21 AM
Created: 11/17/2013 8:52 PM WHEC.com
By: Chalonda Roberts

Now in its third year, some parents are still against it and will take part in “National Don't Send Your Child to School Day” Monday in protest of Common Core.

News10NBC spoke with parents and Rochester's Superintendent of Schools about the concerns over the Common Core testing and the impact of Monday's protest.

Although the standards are considered tough, they were designed to help students succeed. Still, some parents think Common Core is a one size fits all model with high expectations and no room for flexibility.

 “My daughter does get anxiety as far as the testing goes, and it comes out in the evaluations when the teachers speak to me,” said Crista Spampinato.

Spampinato said that is why she is even more concerned about the rigorous testing associated with Common Core. Both her son and daughter are in third grade. Her eight-year-old daughter Bella said she loves school, but standardized tests make her nervous.

“I don't think they should do it to kids in the third grade or like second grade or first, because sometimes the second and first graders get a little nervous and they are confused with the questions,” said Bella Spampinato.

That's just with the current Regents Exam testing. The expectations for Common Core are even higher, gearing students towards more critical thinking and in turn preparing them for college and careers. Spampinato says that's not a plan suitable for all students. She said her son has a learning disability.

“Some kids fall developmentally below a child who is in the same grade level, but they all have to learn the same thing across the board without a lot of flexibility,” said Spampinato.

The Rochester Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bolgen Vargas said that's not true. He said there are safety nets and accommodations for children with special needs.

“You can be a special education student and have a different range of needs, so according to what challenges the student is facing, the accommodations have to be congruent with the challenge and the type of disability a student might be facing,” said Vargas.

Spampinato said she still feels strongly that schools have become testing centers and for that reason she will keep her kids out of school for the day, hoping her message will be heard. Her daughter said she supports her mom's decision.

“For just tomorrow, I think I will be happy being out of school, but just for tomorrow,” said Bella Spampinato.
 
Common Core is in the third year of a seven year implementation plan. The first exam will be in math and will be given to this year's ninth graders in June of 2014. The tenth through twelfth graders will be given the Regents Exams this school year and  eventually Common Core will replace those exams.

Vargas says he understands Monday's protest, but thinks keeping kids out of school is sending the wrong message.