Common Core Forum

Mahopac, N.Y. – 01/16/2014 – Over two hundred parents, students and educators crowded into the Carmel Town Hall on Thursday evening to voice their concerns of the new Common Core Standards at a forum hosted by Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson).

Senator Greg Ball hosted the community forum to review the impact of Common Core in New York State and to seek input on draft legislation addressing issues with the new standards. Senator Greg Ball also has a bill that calls for an immediate 3-year moratorium on the controversial new standards until the issues can be resolved.

Common Core was designed to provide a uniformed standard for students, preparing them for college and careers. However, at the forum many residents raised concerns with the program and its implementation.

“According to the federal government, Common Core was designed to provide a uniformed standard for students, preparing them for college and careers. Regardless of the good intentions, Common Core has become an Uncommon Disaster. I hosted this Common Core Community Forum to hear first hand from my constituents and those affected by these new standards,” said Senator Greg Ball. “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. This was a very productive forum and my office will be taking the concerns and suggestions we heard to incorporate them into a comprehensive bill to address these issues.”

Senator Greg Ball has also launched a petition to stop Common Core in NYS on his Senate website that now has over 4,200 signatures. To sign the petition visit: www.nysenate.gov/webform/petition-stop-common-core-new-york-state.

Denise Kness, mother of two at 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 Denise Knesss.

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 Joshua 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.”

“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,” said Supervisor Ken Schmitt, who co-hosted the forum. “I thank Senator Greg Ball for hosting this forum and look forward to working with him to craft legislation that addresses the issues parents, students and teachers brought to our attention this evening.”

The 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. “We have to be savvy enough to realize that the standard model may not fit all. Furthermore, playing to the standard model may actually inhibit our own chances of developing the next generation’s Steve Jobs.”

“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.”

Karen Brown, the mother of two students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Yorktown, said the new Common Core Stands seem to be too much, too soon.

“My son is very nervous about the new standards and has asked me, ‘Mommy does this mean I am going to fail?’ He is very concerned,” said Karen Brown. “School shouldn’t be all about English and Math, this new standard has taken all the fun out of learning, it’s just too intense.”

For more information, please contact jbachmei@nysenate.gov or (845) 531-9796


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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