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Local input sought on Common Core review

•Taken from the Sept. 18 Island Dispatch

Fri, Sep 18th 2015 10:20 am

Five months after first calling for a more unified and pragmatic public education system, state Sen. Marc Panepinto stood with community education stakeholders Sept. 11 to discuss New York state's Common Core program.

This latest call comes in the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement that he will convene a special commission to review curriculum, guidance and testing related to Common Core. A local education coalition comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and Panepinto spoke last Friday to call for local input in the review process and recommend corrective steps to the program moving forward.

"New York state's vast public education system is as diverse as the residents themselves," said Panepinto, who represents Grand Island in the New York State Senate. "That's what makes it great. While a committee dedicated to the review of the Common Core program is a vital first step, the effectiveness of such a committee is only as good as its members. A 'one-size fits all' approach would only serve as a further detriment to our parents, students and educators. A committee inclusive of local stakeholders with first-hand experience of the program's hurried implementation and problematic testing and evaluation systems is not only best qualified to deliver the changes our students and teachers need - but the changes they deserve. My sincere thanks to Gov. Cuomo for taking the steps necessary to address this issue. I am looking forward to a solution stakeholders locally and across New York state can have confidence in moving forward."

The Common Core program is now in its third year of implementation in New York state's education system. According to the State Education Department, more than 200,000 students chose to "opt-out" of Common Core tests in the spring 2015 semester, negatively impacting graduation rates, teacher evaluations, and vital federal funding.

Grand Island School Board Trustee Joy LaMarca said, "It is my hope that the governor's newly formed review panel will focus on a commitment to creating an atmosphere in our schools that emphasizes a well-rounded education, one that allows our educators the ability to provide our children an individualized, robust education, and finally, one that is inclusive of the voice of our parents, teachers, administrators, superintendents, school board members and other community stakeholders here in Western New York in the advising of corrective action moving forward."

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