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What's Being Taught? Common Core Push Sees Opposition

 This past year was the first year students in New York State were tested on the new common core, resulting in only 33 percent proficiency state wide in English Language Arts and Math.

And while state education officials say the mandated federal changes are a way to ensure college preparedness and mastery of basic skills,  there are growing pockets of opposition to the plan across New York and the nation.

  From The NYS Education Dept. Common Core  resources

  RELATED:  Engage NY.org | NYS Parent Teachers Assoc
 New York State United Teachers has called for a 3 year moratorium on implementation of any testing consequences based on the common core. 

"What we are looking for is not walk away from evaluating teachers, not to walk away from testing, but to walk away from consequences tied directly to standardized tests," NYSUT President Richard Ianuzzi tells WBEN.

Even the best of lesson plans need to be continually adapted to student needs, he said in a prepared statement, and “you don’t test what hasn’t been taught” or the result is meaningless data.

The teachers union is one of several groups beginning to speak out against the common core curriculum and related standardized testing.

Last month, a coalition of 7 education groups ranging from the NEA to The State School Boards Association joined together to speak out against the plan and how it is being implemented.

Other examples of a the  rebellion against the standards.

The Educational Conference Board, which includes the state School Boards Association and the state’s teachers’ union, said the standards, implemented last school year, has vexed teachers, students and parents.

A rally against the curriculum and related standardized testing brought approx. 2,500 to Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo last week.   Organizers- like Prof Walter Polka, a former school superintendent who now teaches at Niagara University say  districts need to start pressing for reform.  "It's eroded local control of the curriculum," Polka says

Nationwide, Indiana and Georgia have taken steps to repeal the common core idea, while Florida and Texas are beginning to look at reforming the way it is implemented.

In Tennessee and elsewhere, the push against the common core has made for some unusual pairings, with conservative Tea Party groups joining with progressives like the Badass Teacher Association, a group that says teachers are being micro managed.

"There are people in this fight fighting for different reasons, but the objective is the same," Karen Bracken, a founder of Tennessee Against the Common Core recently told NBC News. "Some people are concerned about the data. Some are concerned about the textbooks. Some are concerned about the constitutionality. Some people are concerned about the union issues,' she said. 

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  SPEAK OUT!:   The NYS PTA, a Supporter of Common Core Learning Standards is hosting a

Town Hall Meeting on Common Core Learning Standards
featuring Education Commissioner John King

Thursday, October 24th: Williamsville North HS, 1595 Hopkins Rd. 7pm - 9 pm

For Questions, cards will be provided, collected and questions will be read by our moderators. Statements will be limited to 2 minutes. Anyone wishing to make a statement must sign in upon arrival.

Buffalo's Early News In Depth;
 John Zach & Susan Rose
in Studio with
Bob Bennett, Chancellor Emeritus
NYS Board of Regents

Exclusive WBEN Audio
On The WBEN Liveline

Hear from NYS Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Slentz & Buffalo Teachers Federation Pres. Phil Rumore

Could You Pass Your Kids'  Common Core Test?

 Test your math and vocabulary skills with these sample questions keyed to Common Core standards adopted by 45 states, including New York.

The questions are from sample tests created by Kentucky, New York and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)

1. The speed of light is about 186,282 miles per second. What is the expanded form of 186,282?
 A. 100,000 + 80,000 + 6,000 + 200 + 80 + 2
B. 100,000 + 80,000 + 6,000 + 2,000 + 80 + 2
C. 100,000 + 8,000 + 600 + 200 + 80 + 2
D. 100,000 + 8,000 + 6,000 + 200 + 80 + 2
A  is correct.  100,000 + 80,000 + 6,000 + 200 + 80 + 2 (Taken from Kentucky's sample test for fourth-grade math)

2. Coach Barrett bought 8 boxes of golf balls. Each box contains 6 golf balls. He wants to give each of the 5 team members as many golf balls as possible and keep the rest. Based on this information, which statement is correct?
A. Each team member gets 6 golf balls, and Coach Barrett keeps 6 golf balls.
B. Each team member gets 8 golf balls, and Coach Barrett keeps 2 golf balls.
C. Each team member gets 9 golf balls, and Coach Barrett keeps 3 golf balls.
D. Each team member gets 9 golf balls, and Coach Barrett keeps 5 golf balls.

C is correct. Each team member gets 9 golf balls, and Coach Barrett keeps 3 golf balls. (Taken from Kentucky's sample test for fourth-grade math)
3. Ryan cut a rectangular picture from a newspaper. The picture is 4 inches long. The area of the picture is 12 square inches. What is the perimeter of the picture?
 A. 7 inches
B. 10 inches
C. 12 inches
D. 14 inches

D is correct.  14 inches (Taken from Kentucky's sample test for fourth-grade math)

4. Miyax stared hard at the regal black wolf, hoping to catch his eye. She must somehow tell him that she was starving and ask him for food. This could be done she knew, for her father, an Eskimo hunter, had done so. What does the word "regal" mean as it is used in the passage?
A. Generous
B. Threatening
C. Kingly
D. Uninterested
C is correct. Kingly (Taken from PARCC's sample test for sixth grade vocabulary; excerpt from "Julie of the Wolves" by Jean Craighead George)

5. Which of the descriptions best helps the reader understand the meaning of "regal"?
A. Wagging their tails as they woke
B. The wolves, who were shy
C. Their sounds and movements expressed goodwill
D. With his head high and his chest out

D is correct. With his head high and his chest out (Taken from PARCC's sample test for sixth grade vocabulary; excerpt from "Julie of the Wolves" by Jean Craighead George)

6. A lab has two bacteria cultures. Culture A contains 8 x 104 bacteria, and culture B contains 4 x 106 bacteria. How do the two cultures compare in size?
 A. Culture A contains twice as many bacteria as culture B.
B. Culture A contains 1/2 as many bacteria as culture B.
C. Culture A contains 1/25 as many bacteria as culture B.
D. Culture A contains 1/50 as many bacteria as culture B.
A is correct.  Culture A contains 1/50 as many bacteria as culture B. (Taken from New York's sample test for eighth grade math)

7. What is the solution to this equation? 2(x - 3) = 2x + 5
A. x = 2 3/4
B. x = -2 3/4
C. There is no solution.
D. There are infinitely many solutions.
C is correct. There is no solution. (Taken from New York's sample test for eighth grade math)

8. Evaluate: (2.4 x 104)(4.5 x 103)
A. 1.08 x 107
B. 1.08 x 108
C. 1.08 x 1012
D. 1.08 x 1013

B is correct.  1.08 x 108 (Taken from New York's sample test for eighth grade math)

9. What does the word VANITY mean in these lines from the text "Daedalus and Icarus"? "Proud of his success, the foolish Icarus forsook his guide, and, bold in vanity, began to soar" 
A. Arrogance
B. Fear
C. Heroism
D. Enthusiasm

A is correct.  Arrogance (Taken from PARCC's sample test for tenth grade vocabulary)

10. Which word from these lines from "Daedalus and Icarus" helps the reader understand the meaning of VANITY? "Proud of his success, the foolish Icarus forsook his guide, and, bold in vanity, began to soar"
A. Proud
B. Success
C. Foolish
D. Soar

A is correct.  Proud (Taken from PARCC's sample test for tenth grade vocabulary)

 WBEN News   
 & Opinion  
From the Nat'l. Education  Assoc:

  Common Core State Standards are K-12 English Language Arts/Literacy and Math standards that will create a clear, consistent level of knowledge for our public school students no matter where they live.

They Will Deepen Problem-Solving Skills and Critical Thinking

The math standards will allow educators to focus on fewer topics and dive into them more deeply and rigorously, making sure kids grasp concepts fully so they can master them and apply them to real world problems. The English and literacy standards emphasize critical thinking, comprehension, analysis, and writing, and highlight the growing complexity of texts students must read to prepare for the demands of college and career.

They Promote Greater Opportunity s

Research shows that in some pockets of the country, particularly low-income neighborhoods, students are placed in larger classes with watered-down curriculum and out-of-date learning materials. The result is too many kids graduating without the basic knowledge and skills required for college or the workplace. CCSS, properly implemented, ensures that all students, no matter where they live, will graduate prepared for college, careers, and citizenship.

They Bring Back Flexibility and Creativity
Unlike the “drill and kill” test prep associated with NCLB, CCSS only provide the framework of what should be taught –teachers get to decide how they’ll teach them based on their expertise and judgment. Educators can find more creative, hands-on applications that are more engaging for everyone.

They Call for Collaborative Decisions
The standards give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to offer our children a world-class education in every state of the country, but we must be flexible in how they’re implemented, applied and assessed over time. We’re in a process of discovery – as we collect information-- administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents must collaborate to ensure the best possible implementation occurs so students can reap the benefits of that collaboration.

Implementation is the Key to Success
We must work together with parents and community members to demand a plan that makes sense to transition to the new standards and to ensure next generation assessment systems are fair and include multiple, appropriate and valid measures of student success.



Fifteen members of the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of national education organizations representing more than ten million parents, educators and policymakers, have agreed on the following statement:

The Learning First Alliance believes that the Common Core State Standards have the potential to transform teaching and learning and provide all children with knowledge and skills necessary for success in the global community.

To meet this potential, teachers, administrators, parents and communities are working together to align the standards with curriculum, instruction and assessment. Their work – which includes providing the pre-service and professional learning opportunities educators need to effectively teach the standards, making necessary adaptations to implementation plans as work progresses and field-testing efforts to ensure proper alignment – will take time.

Rushing to make high-stakes decisions such as student advancement or graduation, teacher evaluation, school performance designation, or state funding awards based on assessments of the Common Core standards before the standards have been fully and properly implemented is unwise. We suggest a transition period of at least one year after the original deadline in which results from assessments of these standards are used only to guide instruction and attention to curriculum development, technology infrastructure, professional learning and other resources needed to ensure that schools have the supports needed to help all students achieve under the Common Core. Removing high-stakes consequences for a short time will ensure that educators have adequate time to adjust their instruction, students focus on learning, and parents and communities focus on supporting children.

During this time, we urge a continued commitment to accountability. We recommend that states and districts continue to hold educators and schools to a high standard as determined by the components of their accountability systems that are not solely based on standardized tests, including other evidence of student learning, peer evaluations, school climate data and more.

We have seen growing opposition to the Common Core as officials move too quickly to use assessments of the Common Core State Standards in high-stakes accountability decisions. Such actions have the potential to undermine the Common Core – and thus our opportunity to improve education for all students. We must take the necessary time to ensure we succeed in this endeavor.

Cheryl S. Williams
Executive Director Learning First Alliance


American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE),  American Association of School Administrators (AASA), American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National Education Association (NEA) , National School Boards Association (NSBA)
National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA)
Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK)
National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

10/08/2013 8:46AM
What's Being Taught? Common Core Push Sees Opposition
Please enter your comments below.
10/08/2013 9:06AM
Cookie cutter kids make cookie cutter adults
Common Core is diabolical and sinister you really need to dig deep into what it's ultimate purpose truly is. It is the progressive Liberal agenda at it's worst. Here's a headline just from today....Common Core: Arkansas Sixth-Graders Asked To “Prune” Bill of Rights From “Outdated” Constitution… -
10/08/2013 10:40AM
Poor posting
Whoever put these questions on line needs to learn how to do scientific notation.. Question 6 isn't 8 x 104 it's 8 x 10 ^ 4 Same problem in Question 8
10/09/2013 10:19AM
NYS Common Core Different than "Common Core"
The NYS Common Core is a "step-up" from the National Common Core. The NYS tests are a "step-up" from the National Common Core ELA and Math tests as well. Please make sure you compare those to the National Standard, NYS Common Core is much more difficult than the rest of the states involved.
10/15/2013 1:23PM
SPEAK OUT!: The NYS PTA, a Supporter of Common Core Learning Standards is hosting a Town Hall Mee
Commy King has canceled his appearance. Not sure if the meeting will still be held.
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