timlewisnm / Flickr

A parents organization in the Westhill School District in Onondaga County is asking families to consider having their third through eighth graders refuse to take the next round of state english and math tests.  The group called Westhill Elementary Schools Together, or "WEST," is concerned about the way the tests are constructed and potentially used by the state in connection with teacher evaluations.  

Cyndi Hynes' two children took the state English language arts and math tests last spring.  This year they are opting out.

timlewisnm / Flickr

New York’s school children made incremental progress in math scores, but no gains in English tests, during the second year of Common Core-related exams. Education officials say overall, only around one-third of students actually passed the tests.

In math tests administered to third through eighth graders, just 35.8 percent statewide were considered to meet or exceed the new Common Core standards.

Credit License AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by bitznbitez ( was lucias_clay) / Flickr

A math workshop designed in upstate New York has received a $120,000 grant to advance the model nationally.

The Rochester Institute of Technology's annual Summer Mathematics Institute Teachers’ Workshop aims to share strong stories about math in the real world to high school teachers.

The workshops bring together teachers to hear how professionals use math in a variety of careers ranging from baseball to counter-terrorism, engineering and cancer research.

President Barack Obama has proclaimed that STEM education is a national priority.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

New York state is looking at ways to improve the STEM education the state's children receive. This kind of education has  become more important in recent years, because that's where the jobs are. However, recent statistics show U.S. achievement in these skills lags behind much of Europe and Asia.