Although I was not able to attend last night’s Common Core “listening session,” SWR parent and Comsewogue teacher Melissa McMullan was kind enough to send me a summary.
As you may know, Melissa is an fierce advocate in the fight against the reform agenda, whose writing has been published multiple times in the Washington Post and elsewhere. She also was one of the speakers at last night’s event (see link at the bottom).
Melissa did not give me an estimate of attendance, but the article in Newsday said it was “more than 150,” which means there were probably at least 300 people there.
Overall, the turnout was overwhelmingly anti-common core, assessment, and APPR, from superintendents, board members, teachers, etc… There was one rogue teacher from Middle Country who touted the benefits of Common Core instruction in his high school algebra class. He went so far as to say that he has learned more about math from Common Core than anything else in 15 years. (kind of reminiscent of a certain superintendent speaking at a forum back in 2014, no?) He also intimated that teachers who are opposed to it are not well trained, or are lacking “enthusiasm for teaching.” The room when nuts and several people stood and turned their backs to him. I did not. If we are there to listen, even if we disagree, we must hear all sides.
The first speaker was one of those paid people like the woman from Mineola. So only two, out of 45 people, showed any level of support. We spoke as a family afterward and if they do not recommend to scrap the Common Core they clearly were not listening.
This really never was about the Common Core, but Common Core has been so corrupted by greedy publishers, assessment creators and the APPR process that it really all has to go. There is no other way to undo what has been done.
First, we know this task force and listening tour is largely a charade. The state has already said there are no plans to do a major overhaul of the standards or even look at APPR. But they have nonetheless opened the door a crack and we need to take advantage of this. In the Newsday article, State Senator Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said that “some changes sought by parents and teachers could be on the way.” “We’ll produce whatever laws we need to produce, we’ll try to change whatever needs to be changed to make this work.”
This is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for and we can’t afford to let it slip away. Between now and the end of the next legislative session there will be numerous calls to action, and if we don’t respond in force we will have only ourselves to blame.