Speaking out against a recent push in state-mandated education testing just isn’t enough for some local superintendents. (more…)
Speaking out against a recent push in state-mandated education testing just isn’t enough for some local superintendents. (more…)
The appointed body that crafts public education polices for schools in New York State announced Monday it will be delaying tougher, Common Core-aligned high school graduation requirements by five years.
With concerns pouring in from parents, teachers, and students over the implementation of the Common Core Standards initiative in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the formation of a panel to review the rollout of the standards within the state. (more…)
About 50 people gathered at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead on Wednesday night and listened to several education advocates voice their concerns over Common Core. (more…)
East End education advocates have organized a public forum Wednesday to discuss parents and teachers’ concerns over Common Core. (more…)
State Senator Ken LaValle is calling on education department commissioner John King to “hit the delay button” with rolling out new, more rigorous curriculum in public schools through the Common Core.
Mr. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) issued that statement Thursday after Mr. King’s meeting with the state Senate Education Committee, with the senator saying the state Department of Education “is not listening” to concerns brought up about the Common Core during numerous and contentious public meetings held throughout the state.
Mr. King visited Manorville last November in one of several forums held statewide. Parents and teachers in attendance largely blasted the education commissioner, with many holding signs stating: “We are all more than a score.”
“The rollout of Common Core has been flawed and children are being hurt,” Mr. LaValle said. “There is an immediate need for something to happen since the process has collapsed. I would like the commissioner to hit the delay button today.”
The Common Core State Standards initiative has been adopted by most states across the country. The initiative claims to better prepare students for college and careers by requiring instructors to teach more non-fiction and rigorous math to students at a younger age.
After New York adopted Common Core, the state published lesson plans for teachers to help students achieve the new standards. The state doesn’t mandate that schools use these lesson plans, but they are available online at engageny.org.
Earlier this year, and as part of Race to the Top requirements, the state did direct New York school districts to develop their own teacher evaluation systems, known as annual professional performance reviews plan (APPR), lest the districts risk losing additional available state aid.
The state Department of Education has been heavily criticized by school officials across New York for pushing the new mandates before districts were ready for them.
While many educators embraced Common Core when it was first introduced, they’ve since demanded that the state hold off on implementing the new student assessments based on Common Core and the APPR plan until the rigorous curriculum is properly implemented inside the classroom.
Fellow Republican state Senator John Flanagan of East Northport proposed several bills last month to reevaluate the state’s rollout of Common Core, including a one-year delay with using a controversial method of storing student data electronically, and a ban on standardized testing for students in pre-K through second grade.
The bills were approved this week in the state Senate education committee, which Mr. Flanagan chairs. They are in the process of going through the state Assembly education committee, and if they pass, will be voted on the respective house floors.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also called on banning standardized testing for students in pre-K through second grade during his budget address Tuesday. For the first time publicly, Mr. Cuomo acknowledged that the state’s rollout of Common Core hasn’t been handled properly. Specifically, he said “…the way that Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed.”
“There is too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Parents, students and teachers need the best education reforms which include Common Core teacher evaluations, but they also need a rational system that is well administered.”
The governor also proposed creating a new panel of education experts and members of the Legislature to come up with a list of recommendations to correct the Common Core rollout by the end of this session.
Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch and Mr. King issued a joint press release shortly after Mr. Cuomo’s speech and said they have opposed standardized testing for young students and emphasized the state “has never tested K-2 students.”
They also pointed out how the education department has made recent adjustments to standardized testing, such as reducing the number of questions and testing time on state assessments for students in grades 3 through 8 this school year, and receiving a federal waiver to stop “double testing” in math for seventh and eighth graders through a combination of state and federal testing. In addition, they said the state is in the process of asking the U.S. Department of Education for another waiver to ease testing requirements for ESL students and students with disabilities.
Ms. Tisch and Mr. King said they believe Mr. Cuomo’s proposed panel, along with the Regents’ work group, will be able to “continue to strengthen Common Core implementation.”
“We remain fully committed to the Common Core, but we welcome constructive refinement to implementation to help meet that goal,” the joint statement reads. “We look forward to working with the governor to improve implementation while maintaining the higher standards we have set to ensure that New York’s students have every opportunity to succeed in life.”
What has four legs, a white tail and is considered a “public health crisis”?
At this point, it’s probably clear the answer is deer.
With frustrations coming to a boiling point over the damage the animals cause to crops, health and cars, local officials took more action this year than in recent memory to get the deer population in check.
An ad hoc group was formed to bring numbers down, legislators lobbied a state assemblyman from Lindenhurst to move on a bill he’s kept in a key committee and, before long, the federal government is expected to bring in a team of sharpshooters to cull the herd and reduce the crisis.
New York State has agreed to adopt high-stakes testing and controversial teacher evaluation systems tied to Common Core State Standards for a one-time installment of $700 millions in federal Race to the Top grant money. That’s less than 3 percent of what the state spends in a single year on education, experts say. Hardly seems worth the money to tie ourselves to a system that, at best, may help already college-bound kids attend marginally better colleges but will likely cause at-risk youths, English language learners and students with disabilities to fail in school in even greater numbers. Since the overhaul wasn’t created by legislation, lawmakers can, and do, deflect blame.
It’s not often these days that a town can zone more than 800 acres without writing over existing zoning. But that happens to be the case with Plum Island, the home of a federal animal disease research center that has been in headlines for years since the federal government decided in 2008 to close the lab, sell the land and use the proceeds to pay for the cost of a new $1.1 billion facility in Kansas.
While visions of golf courses, casinos and high-end resorts have danced in the heads of some at the thought of such a large space, town leaders eliminated any possibility of overdevelopment on Plum Island with the zoning it enacted this year.
It’s hard to imagine a Greenport Maritime Festival without a chowder contest. But that’s what we got this year.
In what organizers called an effort to better reflect Greenport’s legacy as an oystering community, this year’s Maritime Festival instead featured hundreds of oysters paired with local wine and beer.
The move didn’t sit well with locals who questioned why the committee felt oysters are so much more important to our heritage than clams.
We agree the move was short-sighted and only stood to rob people of an event they look forward to each year. Apparently the committee has come around on the issue and the chowder contest will be back for 2014.
The Southold Town Democratic Committee deserves some credit for producing a nearly full slate of candidates this year.
While they caught some grief from this newspaper for not putting together the most qualified bunch, we’d be remiss not to at least acknowledge that the committee worked hard to give Southold residents a choice this year.
It was a good step forward for the party and, we hope a sign of even better things to come in a town where voters too often haven’t had any choice at all in many races.
Southold Superintendent David Gamberg confirmed Wednesday that a children’s book that sparked a debate within the community has been reintroduced to the elementary school’s curriculum.
Following a Wednesday evening school board meeting, Mr. Gamberg told The Suffolk Times that “Nasreen’s Secret School,” a book based on a true story about an Afghan girl whose parents were taken away (and never returned) by members of the Taliban, is again being used in Southold Elementary School. The young girl in the story named Nasreen enrolls in a secret school after she inexplicably loses the ability to speak following the loss of her parents.
“I don’t know the exact time frame [it was brought back] but we consulted with the teachers and tried to find out how they would be using it,” Mr. Gamberg said. “And they felt comfortable using it.
“It’s basically run within the classroom so that it’s not a uniform on, off kind of situation … So [the teachers] determine the way that they’re going to incorporate the use of the text.”
During an Oct. 23 school board meeting, Mr. Gamberg said the book had been taken out of the classroom after three parents said at the meeting they believed it was too violent for third graders.
“We did, if you will, pull the book as far as being used beyond this point,” Mr. Gamberg said to concerned parents about six weeks ago.
During the same October board meeting, school board member Scott DeSimone said he believed the intended message of the book is about “Islam and Allah.” Then, in a Newsday opinion piece published today, Mr. DeSimone said he sees in the book a “pro-Muslim agenda that comes straight from the White House.”
“I thought the book was introduced at this young age and grade level as part of the underlying doctrinal forces pushing Common Core … in this case, the social justice agenda and pro-Muslim agenda,” he told Newsday.
Mr. Gamberg is also quoted in the Newsday opinion piece and said that he has faith in the choices of his classroom teachers.
“As long as we have a teacher who has the skill to use the text in an appropriate and responsible way — and I believe our teachers do — the message about the power of literacy comes through,” Mr. Gamberg said.
“Nasreen’s Secret School” is reading material currently used under the Common Core State Standards, which has been nationally recognized and adopted by most states across the country that claims to better prepare students for college and careers by requiring instructors to teach more non-fiction and rigorous math to students at a younger age.
Mr. Gamberg said Wednesday he believes the book offers “the truth” and “perspective on the value of reading.”
“It helps to illustrate children in various parts of the world or a particular part of the world,” he said. “That their access to books was limited and that they end up developing means and a way to be able to celebrate the ability to read.”
Since the initial story was published in The Suffolk Times Oct. 31, the paper has received frequent letters from the community about the book and the local controversy surrounding it. A total of 13 letters have been published in subsequent editions.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Gustavson
Southold school board members are expected to vote Wednesday night on a resolution to endorse a letter sent last month by the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Education Department Commissioner John King.
The Nov. 8 letter urged Mr. King and Gov. Cuomo to slow down the implementation of new exams, reduce “over testing,” eliminate duplicate testing and reevaluate the relationship between student test stores, annual professional performance reviews and teachers’ scores. The letter also discussed the Common Core and alternatives to the implementation of statewide computerized testing.
In August, Southold school board members approved a resolution calling on state and federal officials to overhaul the current method of standardized testing tied to teacher evaluations.
As part of Wednesday’s resolution, Southold school board members will vote to approve sending a follow-up letter of endorsement to Gov. Cuomo and Mr. King regarding the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association’s letter.
The follow-up letter will be signed by Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, Southold school board president Paulette Ofrias and PTA President Jennifer Conway.
Scroll down to view the agenda.