New York education chief urges Common Core support

Created: 05/28/2014 2:34 PM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press

New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr. urged a business group Wednesday to support the Common Core learning standards despite "all of the noise" from critics on the right and on the left.

"We need you to speak up," King told a breakfast meeting of the Association for a Better New York in Manhattan. "We need you to choose not to be silent in the face of deception and misinformation. You can't stand on the sidelines while others debate education policy. We need you in the debate, advocating for our students."

King said the Common Core means that that "despite all of the noise, despite all of the politics," teachers across the state are changing their approach to instruction and seeing the benefit for their students.

Adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia, the Common Core is a set of English and math standards that spell out what students should know and when. The standards, which New York adopted in 2010, are intended to prepare students better for college and careers.

While some conservatives say that the standards represent a federal takeover of education, other critics in New York and elsewhere have complained that Common Core math is confusing and that Common Core-aligned standardized tests are poorly designed.

King said the number of statewide standardized tests remain the same as before New York adopted the Common Core. "Despite what some may say on Facebook or Twitter, the Common Core doesn't mean more testing," he said.

Vicki Coffin Judd, a parent and a school board member from the Central Valley School District in Herkimer County, asked King what the state could do to help parents understand their children's new math lessons.

"I'm trying to help my fourth grader with her math homework and I don't know what they're asking for," Judd said.

King said he visited a school in Mineola where a teacher is posting videos showing how to solve the math problems, and he said some districts across the state are offering math nights for parents.

Judd said afterward that King made good points.

"It is challenging our kids and making them achieve a higher level of learning," Judd said. "But he acknowledges that we need to continue to support our staff and administration and we need to start maybe a little bit more outside the box supporting the parents."

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