This Op-Ed by Nicole Malliotakis originally appeared in the Brooklyn Reporter
As we begin a new year, it is incumbent upon state legislators to take stock of the successes gained over the past year and the areas where work is left to be done. Progress was made in key areas like transportation restorations and increased funding for the EPIC prescription drug program, yet many stones were left unturned.
It is clear from conversations with local families that an issue requiring immediate attention is the implementation of the Common Core curriculum in our schools which has frustrated many teachers and students while raising deep concerns from parents and caretakers.
The Common Core is a curriculum developed by the federal government being promoted to states to be adopted as unifying standards for student performance. The goal is certainly admirable, as it is an innovative approach to positioning our children for future success. Yet, both the nuts and bolts of the curriculum and the way it has been implemented in schools across the state have led to a public outcry to re-examine the essential tenants of the reforms.
In November, I joined several Assembly Minority Conference colleagues in hosting a public forum on Common Core. The forum featured passionate testimony from teachers who feel that the rigorous standardized testing requirements prevent them from providing a comprehensive education to their students.
Parents detailed the stress their children were under, driving them to illness in some cases, as they tried to digest information that many adults do not even fully grasp. Administrators explained the challenges they face in meeting basic needs like new, pertinent books and supplies. On top of all of these concerns, teachers are being held to performance-related standards tied to these flawed and incompatible reforms.
The overwhelming takeaway was that New York State needs to slow down and get this 100 percent right. The stakes are simply too high to plow through this kind of change without taking care to acknowledge the very real concerns that parents, teachers and students have brought to light. I anticipate legislative action on this issue in 2014, and I intend to bring the conversation to the forefront as soon as the state Assembly convenes.
The forum brought in the kind of input we need to make substantive changes to education policy in New York State. I encourage anyone with input of their own or questions on Common Core to call my office or email [email protected]