Hundreds of concerned citizens attended the New York State Assembly Education Forum held at the Memorial Art Gallery last night.
Most were there to listen and support the more than forty registered speakers who surprised legislators with their knowledge, passion, insight, and sense of humor about a topic that has created an unprecedented amount of attention in the education arena, the Common Core.
The evening began with an innovative use of technology when Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb recognized there was no flag to salute in order open the meeting. Thinking quickly, he brought up a picture of the US flag on his iPad which began the endless flow of speakers both for and against the standards.
Not everyone had the opportunity to speak their peace since legislators underestimated the number of respondents willing to share their beliefs, opinions, and ideas on the proposed topic.
Attendees were asked to keep their comments to two minutes after being told in the invitation they would have five. Most ignored the request as everyone had prepared to speak for five minutes and did so.
To their credit, legislators stayed an additional hour, until the MAG closed, in order to hear as many speakers as possible.
Speakers were adamant about the fact that the sterile curriculum attached to the standards had to be eliminated along with the standardized tests and the evaluations they support.
Parents, teachers, and community members spoke against the scripted modules that left no room for creativity, imagination, or inspiring the love of learning in children. And, while it was understood that use of the modules was compulsory not mandatory, it was made clear that State Ed was using funding to intimidate districts into adopting the modules.
Very few disagreed that there should be standards however, as mentioned at the Brighton forum, the existing Common Core Standards are developmentally inappropriate and detrimental to children at the early childhood and elementary level and insufficient at the secondary level.
The message of the evening was clear, our children must come first or we all fail.
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