Education commissioner addresses dissatisfaction with Common Core

Nov 8, 2013

New York State Education Commissioner John King was in Syracuse last night at public broadcaster WCNY for a community forum on the Common Core education reform. King tried to address the controversy over the rollout of the program.  

About 160 people made up of mostly teachers and parents of students were fairly unanimous in their disapproval of the rollout of Common Core standards reform for kindergarten through 12th grade.

King says the standards, which have been adopted by 45 states, are meant to make sure students are college ready and allow teachers to use whatever curriculum they want to meet those goals.

"We can't afford not to raise our standards towards college and career readiness we can't afford not to have our students be prepared for success when they graduate from high school," said King.

Anthony Bottar, of the New York State Board of Regents, also participated in the forum. He says business leaders can't hire and train high school graduates for good paying jobs.

"Their message to us is you have to do more and you have to do it faster or we're going to move," said Bottar. "What we're trying to do here with this time schedule and we appreciate that it's very demanding and is creating stress especially because the system doesn't have the resources that it had before and especially because we can't make all the adjustments that we would like to make, but we have to strike a balance."

King said he shares the concern of one audience member over too much testing for younger students but, he said it's "better for students while they're in K-12 to get a clear sense of where they are, to get support from teachers and parents as they improve, than to have the phenomenon we have now on many college campuses where students arrive thinking they're ready for college level work and are told they have to take remedial courses, high school classes, that they and their parents pay for at college prices."

King says there is consensus as to what level students need to perform, but disagreements on how to get them there.

"There are ways we need to work to provide more professional development to support educators around the implementation on the Common Core. There are ways that we need to support families to ensure they have a clear understanding about what the Common Core is about and how we can help support students to get them there,"  said the commissioner.

This was the first of four forums for King. His next stop is in Plattsburgh on November 20.