State Education Department Schedules Common Core Forums

The New York State Education Department Commissioner John B. King, Jr. and the State Board of Regents will hold the first of 12 forums for parents and educators to discuss Common Core Learning Standards and other reforms adopted by New York State today at Myers Middle School in Albany.

"The Board of Regents approved the reforms, including adoption of the Common Core in 2010," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. "We're just starting the second year of full implementation with aligned assessments. It's a good time for the Regents and the Commissioner to meet with parents and teachers to understand how the implementation is going and what adjustments, if any, have to be made."

State legislators will act as moderators for the events, which will be held in school auditoriums in their districts. King and members of the State Board of Regents will participate in the forums. King is also set to take part in forums at the New York State Public Broadcasting Stations with a studio audience. Four have been scheduled so far with more to come. Those will be recorded for broadcast and they will be available online. 

"I want to have a respectful, direct, and constructive dialogue with parents," King said. "More and smaller discussions will make sure there's a real opportunity for parents to be heard. This is just the first round; we'll continue to schedule forums for parents. We want these to be regular events. We want the conversation to rise above all the noise and make sure parents understand the Common Core, and, just as important, we want to understand parents' concerns. We all share the same goal: to make sure our students have the skills and knowledge to be successful in a changing world."

Parent groups across New York have been critical of the new standards and the New York State Assessments, which were revised to align with the Common Core. Low scores on the 2013 assessments raised concerns, as have student difficulties adjusting in the classroom this fall. 

King had initially scheduled five town hall forums with the New York State PTA, but after the first one at Spackenhill High School in Poughkeepsie earlier this month, the rest were suspended, drawing further criticism. King said the format was not productive because of the contentious nature of the comment portion of the session. Read more about that decision here

State Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) criticized the cancellation of the town hall meetings and called for them to them to be rescheduled last week, saying the subject was too important not to have an open dialogue. Read more about his statement in this report on Patch.

State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti went further in this blog, calling for King's immediate resignation. 

Forum scheduled so fare are as follows, with specific sites and times to be determined. Check for updates on the NYSED site here.
  • Oct. 24 - Myers Middle School in Albany, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 28 - Westchester County
  • Nov. 6 - Long Island - Suffolk
  • Nov. 7 - Rochester
  • Nov. 13 - Long Island- Nassau
  • Nov. 25 - Southern Tier
  • Dec. 3 - Syracuse
  • Dec. 9 - Long Island - Nassau
The PBS televised forums are as follows:
  • Nov. 7 -- Syracuse WCNY
  • Nov. 20 - Plattsburgh WCFE
  • Dec. 3 - Rochester WXXI
  • Date TBA -- Binghamton WSKG


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