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Friday, November 21, 2014
Common Core causes ire among Seaford parents
by Laura Schofer

by Laura Schofer

lschofer@liherald.com

“Common Core is a plane being built in midair,” said Heather Haifer, who spoke on behalf of many beleaguered parents at the October 10 Seaford school board meeting. About a dozen speakers aired their concerns about the Common Core State Standards Initiative now in place in New York state public schools.

Often referred to as “Common Core,” it is a nationwide effort, led by individual states, to establish a single set of educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts – reading, writing, speaking and listening – as well as mathematics. The standards are designed to prepare students for rigorous competition in the global economy.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum John Striffilino told residents the district was “attempting to use Common Core alignments and materials” at all levels of instruction. Mr. Striffilino said the teachers have been receiving training and he hoped to have a curriculum night for parents in late October or early November.

“Common Core is a shift in how we provide instruction and there is a complexity of concepts,” explained Mr. Striffilino. “Lessons that were 60 minutes now take longer. We must adjust. There are growing pains for all of us.”

But residents still had questions on Common Core. Some parents spoke about the appropriateness of reading material in grade three; others questioned the implementation of the “Go Math” program in the district for grades one and two. Several parents urged the school board to provide more funding for educational resources including more smart boards in elementary school classrooms and lowering class size, both to assist students to succeed under the new standards. Finally, parents questioned the new testing standards and teacher assessments. One parent urged the school board to issue a resolution against high stakes testing. Another father raised concerns about In Bloom, a for-profit entity that will house all student data collected by the state.

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