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CARMEL, N.Y.–Dozens of residents and elected officials attended a forum on the controversial Common Core Curriculum in Carmel Thursday night.

In addition to Putnam, the event, which was organized by State Senator Greg Ball (R,C, I-Patterson), drew parents, students and educators from several communities in Westchester including Briarcliff Manor as well as the Lakeland School District.

Currently forty-five states have opted in to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which was created with the goal of creating educational consistency across all states and preparing students for college and careers.

Denise Kness, a mother of two who attend school at the Lakeland Central School District, and co-founder of Parents for a Common Cause, helped organize the community forum. “I would like to thank Senator Ball for hosting this forum to give parents the opportunity to speak out about their concerns about the Common Core Standards. The negative effects on our children has been significant and we are hopeful Senator Ball will be able to help us navigate the way to making the much needed amendments quickly,” said Kness.

Joshua Gottlieb, an 11th grade student at Briarcliff High School, said he was concerned that the Common Core Standards focus primarily on nonfiction books, which he believes will kill creativity.“Common Core emphasizes nonfiction and instructional text at the expense of fictional literature. While it is important to read nonfiction, we don’t want to lose the creativity that fiction can inspire in our students. I feel that there should be more of a balance between the two types of literature,” said Gottlieb. “While raising the quality of the education of our kids in New York State is a noble goal, we need to make sure that its impact is not detrimental to our students. A classroom environment of frustration will not yield the future math and science leaders of our State. A lack of exposure to fictional literature will not inspire the next Ernest Hemingway.”

Carmel Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt, weighed in during Thursday night’s forum, “Common Core is one size fits all, this is no way to operate our educational system. Our children are the future of this community and our nation, we must ensure that they receive the best education possible,” he said.

Brewster Board of Education President Stephen O. Jambor, Ph.D used an analogy to voice his concerns over the Common Core testing standards. “Imagine that you are in gym class and the teacher tells you that everyone will now be entirely judged on how well they run the 100-meter sprint. For some, this is good news, while for many others, it will not be. Intuitively, we know that all of one’s athletic prowess cannot be reduced to performance on a single albeit standardized event. The same problem exists in the Common Core approach. Those who naturally align well with both the curriculum and the assessments will have an advantage over those who do not,” said Jambor.

“Albany needs to look before it jumps,” said Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy. “The implementation of Common Core has failed our communities, schools, teachers and most importantly our kids. As a parent of three young children I see the everyday challenges and failures associated with this new curriculum. Furthermore, as a long time advocate for children safety, I have serious concerns regarding the collection of personal information of our kids which will be stored and managed by a third party hired by the state.”

Sen. Ball is proposing a bill that calls for an immediate 3-year moratorium on the Common Core Standards until the issues can be resolved. He has also launched a petition drive to stop Common Core on his Senate website that now has over 4,200 signatures. (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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