The Putnam Examiner

Putnam County Legislators Critical of Common Core During Meeting

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Oliverio and other legislators had plenty of criticism aimed at the new Common Core Curriculum and Assessment during a recent meeting last Thursday evening.
Oliverio and other legislators had plenty of criticism aimed at the new Common Core Curriculum and Assessment during a recent meeting last Thursday evening.

Criticism toward the Common Core Curriculum and Assessment has been far reaching since its implementation.

That admonishment continued last Thursday and this time it was Putnam County elected officials making a statement.

During a Health, Social, Educational and Environmental Committee Meeting, committee chairman and District 2 Legislator Sam Oliverio, along with District 1 Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra passed a motion that would memorialize recommendations from the Empire State Supervisors and Administration Association (ESSAA) and send them to New York State Education Department.

The recommendations didn’t necessarily attack the actual curriculum, but the way it was being implemented and other aspects surrounding the Common Core. The following recommendations included:

– Further reduce the time to administer the tests, especially at the lower elementary grade levels.

– Create more transparency by releasing test questions to help parents, teachers and administrator better understand the tasks required.

– Allow for comprehensive field review of the tests by public school teachers and administrators prior to administration to eliminate ambiguous questions.

– Eliminate embedded field test questions that frustrate students and extend the time needed for testing.

– Reexamine the inflated “College Readiness” benchmark to create fairer and more attainable cut scores.

Prior to sending the memorization to the full legislature, Oliverio, an assistant principal at Putnam Valley High School, laid out the problem he and others have had issue with. He said he decided to bring the topic of the Common Core to the legislature because many parents from the Putnam Valley PTA were concerned.

The rapid implementation has been the reason for much of the frustration.

“What the State of New York has done is say ‘here’s the Common Core, you’re being tested on it at the end of the year’ and it’s been a disaster,” Oliverio said during the meeting. “A complete and utter disaster for the kids, the teachers and for the state education department.”

By sending the memorialized letter, Oliverio said it would send a message that Putnam County is worried how the Common Core is being brought into the schools around the county, and in this case the rest of New York.

In Putnam Valley School District, Oliverio said he saw a shockingly and stark decrease in assessment grades from students after they took Common Core English and math exams for the first time last school year.

Prior to Common Core testing, at least 85 percent students in grades 3-8 did “very well,” Oliverio said. But after taking the new testing, only 40 percent of those students did satisfactory.

Oliverio pointed out the new Common Core testing, which many states outside of New York are using, is a huge unfunded mandate. For each test per student, the cost right now is $8. After the computerized testing starts in 2015, it will cost $27 per student for each test.

District 5 Legislator Carl Albano bluntly said during the meeting, “Somebody made money. That’s the bottom line.

Oliverio followed up on that statement by saying Pearson, an education publishing and assessment service, is making billions of dollars from the news standards.

After the meeting Oliverio said while he likes the actual curriculum and added rigor, it would be better putting the new system in place over two or three years.

“It’s insane,” Oliverio said. “This common core is crazy.”


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