Many parents and teachers across the country are concerned about the new Common Core Standards, but protests are especially loud in New York, as teacher and parent groups are increasingly standing in opposition to the and the state's implementation plans.
New York parents have joined with teachers unions in demanding the resignation of State Education Commissioner John King Jr., and some parent groups are also working to exert pressure on the state lawmakers who appoint top education officials, writes Denise Jewell Gee of The Buffalo News.
On December 4th, a group of Buffalo parents concerned about testing will charter two buses to take parents and teachers to a community forum in Jamestown, at which state Education Commissioner King Jr. is scheduled to speak.
In addition to parents and teachers, tea party activists in the Southern Tier region of New York State also have urged the state to repeal new Common Core curriculum standards. State lawmakers are holding their own meetings to hear concerns, and school boards have called on the state to scale back standardized testing. Superintendents have spoken out about the pace at which change has been thrown at schools.
"There's no question that this is an issue that, certainly, over the last few months, has gotten a lot of attention," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. "Legislators have been talking about it. The governor's been talking about it. Certainly, the state Education Commissioner has been holding hearings and town meetings and has been in the news a lot about it."
In the United States, 45 states including New York have implemented Common Core curriculum standards, which change what students learn in each grade with the goal of better preparing students for college and careers.
In October, Siena Research Institute invited New Yorkers to weigh in on the new learning standards. The institute found that people were nearly evenly divided on whether they would better prepare students for college or careers.
When it came to the number of state tests taken by public school students, more than half thought there are too many. Concerns have been raised about the quality of education materials the state has developed to teach the new information and the pace at which classroom instruction is moving. But it's not just the curriculum changes that have pushed parents to organize.
Many parents are more concerned about the number of standardized tests, especially those tied to new teacher evaluations, and the privacy of student information in a new state data warehouse of student records.
Earlier in November, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, a Clarence Republican, hosted a community forum in Akron to hear reactions to the state's changes to public education. The meeting made clear that testing and privacy issues topped the list of concerns, according to Corwin.
Education Commissioner King Jr. has already received many complaints from parents and educators in a series of public forums across the state, and the critical voices are growing louder. King was blamed for too quickly imposing more rigorous academic standards tied to the Common Core benchmarks. Some parents called him deaf to the misery of pupils taking standardized tests and too open to commercial involvement in the system.