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A moderator asks all the parents in the audience to raise their hands. Photo: Sarah Harris
A moderator asks all the parents in the audience to raise their hands. Photo: Sarah Harris

In Plattburgh, hundreds talk Common Core

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Over 200 teachers, parents, students, and administrators gathered at SUNY Plattsburgh last night to talk about the new Common Core curriculum and testing in public school.

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey says a lot of her constituents are worried about the new curriculum.

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

She addressed their concerns in her keynote speech:

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey gave the keynote address. Photo: Sarah Harris
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey gave the keynote address. Photo: Sarah Harris
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The major concern, Duprey said to the crowd, "taking the creativity out of education. And just in case you haven’t heard this one, teachers are being required to spent too much time teaching to the test. There’s a threat to non-traditional courses: music, art, foreign languages, academic diversity. We're increasing services such as AIS and tutoring without an increase in state funding. And there’s a huge concern about sharing private student data with third parties." 

Tricia Sardella teaches 5th grade at Peru Central School and was in the audience. She says adapting to Common Core has been tough in her classroom.

"It’s taken over. The creativity is gone, everything is teach to the test. With the high stakes test, having to get a certain amount of concepts by April, there’s no time to stop and make sure that the students master the skills that they need to master."

Tricia Sardella, 5th grade teacher at Peru Central School. Photo: Sarah Harris
Tricia Sardella, 5th grade teacher at Peru Central School. Photo: Sarah Harris
Sardella says the focus on testing has affected her teaching. 

"Try to add some creativity and spark to something, later on in the evening, you’re like, I lost a day of instruction. It makes it hard. They’re 10, you know?"

A 6-person panel including teachers, a school psychologist, a student, and a parent addressed the crowd.

During a lengthy question and answer session, participants voiced their concerns about the future of public education and the role of testing in school.

Margarita Garcia-Notorio helped organize the meeting. She teaches at SUNY Plattsburgh, is a parent to two school-age children, and leads the FSO at the Plattsburgh middle and high schools.

She says last spring during testing time, parents began to worry about the effect of all the tests on their kids.

"We started asking why is this happening, why so many tests, why is this connected to the teachers' evaluation, and mostly many parents were really really worried because we were starting to have too many kids who didn’t want to go to school." 

Common Core is becoming increasingly divisive issue across the region. Yesterday state Senator Patty Richie testified before the Senate, saying she’s heard from “hundreds of concerned parents.”

She called for Education Department Commissioner John King to hold a forum in the St. Lawrence Valley.

Last night was the first of several of Common Core meetings in the region.

Next Wednesday, November 20th, Commissioner King will hold forums on Common Core in Plattsburgh and Schroon Lake.

 

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