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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teachers remain unimpressed with Common Core

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

The public school system has assessed students with Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) for two straight school years now, but local educators have not yet warmed to the math and reading benchmarks.

“I feel the state was hasty in rolling out the CCLS exam in math and our ninth graders did not come to us with adequate exposure to the expectations of Common Core,” said Richard Fleiss, an assistant principal at DeWitt Clinton High School.

While Common Core standards assess students in grades three to eight, the city administered a CCLS-aligned regents exam for Clinton’s freshman algebra class. Mr. Fleiss said that the class’s pass rate on the “traditional” algebra exam was more than twice the pass rate on the Common Core version. 

The state first introduced the standards in 2010, piloting them in 100 different schools that year and in every public school in the city the following year. Critics of the standards have argued that schools and teachers did not have ample time to prepare for the rollout. 

District 10 Community Education Council (CEC) President Marvin Shelton  said some schools in the district did not receive updated, Common Core-aligned materials for their classes until December or January. 

“They did the best they could. I don’t want to say they had to wing it, but… they had to piecemeal things,” said Mr. Shelton, who said the IN-Tech Academy (M.S./H.S. 368) was one of several schools that experienced a delay in receiving materials.  

Mr. Shelton also spoke about the “resentment” many teachers in the district felt given the amount of time they have had to spend focusing on test preparations rather than teaching. 

Dean Parker, the CEC’s second vice president and parent of two students at AmPark Neighborhood School, said many AmPark parents felt what Mr. Shelton described. 

“From the teachers at AmPark, I hear that the time and focus that is required in preparation for the testing takes away from the progressive educational model practiced at AmPark,” he said. 

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