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YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. – Dozens of students and parents attended a workshop Tuesday evening at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School in Yorktown Heights to voice their concerns over the Common Core Standards.

The workshop was hosted by state Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) in conjunction with Parents for a Common Cause.

Students in grades three through nine were broken up into three separate groups to provide feedback and suggestions about the Common Core and its implementation.

Ball said he hosted the workshop to hear more from those who Common Core directly affects: the students.

“This student-based workshop gave me a chance to hear directly from the children that are affected by these standards every day,” Ball said. “My office has been inundated with phone calls, emails, letters and faxes from parents, teachers, students and community members that are very concerned with this new program. We must be committed to providing our students with the best possible education available. However, education is not about teaching to the test and it should never become a one size fits all endeavor, sinking to the lowest common denominator.”

Denise Kness, mother of two at Lakeland Central School District and co-founder of Parents for a Common Cause, said the workshop was designed to give kids an informal way to tell their experience with Common Core to the senator.

“What better way to learn what is happening in education than by asking the ultimate consumer, the students,” Kness said.

“We need to continue having these types of conversations with our elected officials so that they understand the impact of the Common Core on our children, families and schools,” added Karen Pressman, co-founded of Parents for a Common Cause.

Anuk De Silva, an eighth grader at Copper Beech Middle School, said teachers have had to change themselves “from good teachers into monotone teachers” to try to fit the new Common Core Standards.

“We are doing so much work that we’re not actually learning,” De Sliva said. “We are just trying to get through our work and finish it as quickly as we can, because there is so much to do. It has taken away our creativity.”

“The tests are very stressful. If you don’t know some of the stuff you start to freak out,” added Kaitlyn McArdle, a sixth grader at Copper Beech. “This year I have at least two hours of homework every night.”

Lakeland Central School District Superintendent Dr. George Stone said he was happy his district was hosting a Common Core workshop that focused on the students’ point of view.

“Parents, educators and legislators can talk about these issues, but [students] are the ones that deal with curriculum, instruction and assessment every day,” he said. “We want to hear firsthand the issues, problems and the things that can be improved and the things [the students] feel are working, so we can together forge a path forward.”

Ball will host another Common Core forum at Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie on Monday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m.. Parents, students, educators and concerned residents are all invited to attend. Attendees will be given a chance to speak, but will be asked to limit their remarks to three minutes. (ARTICLE)

About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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