ALBANY, N.Y. - The State Education Department has announced plans to hold forums on New York's newly implemented Common Core standards -- the first of which will be held in Albany.
The State Education Department says they'll now hold 12 meetings across the state to address parents' concerns regarding the higher standards. The move comes after they cancelled four such forums after attendees shouted criticism at State Education Commissioner John King.
King said the forums will be scheduled over the next six weeks; details for all the events will be finalized early next week. The first forum will be held in the Albany City School District on October 24.
The meetings will be moderated by state legislators and held in school auditoriums in the legislators' districts. In addition, King is participating in forums at New York State Public Broadcasting Stations that will include a studio audience. The PBS forums will be recorded for broadcast and will also be available on the web. Four PBS forums have been scheduled so far.
"The Board of Regents approved the reforms, including adoption of the Common Core in 2010," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. "We're just starting the second year of full implementation with aligned assessments. It's a good time for the Regents and the Commissioner to meet with parents and teachers to understand how the implementation is going and what adjustments, if any, have to be made."
"I want to have a respectful, direct, and constructive dialogue with parents," King said. "More and smaller discussions will make sure there's a real opportunity for parents to be heard. This is just the first round; we'll continue to schedule forums for parents. We want these to be regular events. We want the conversation to rise above all the noise and make sure parents understand the Common Core, and, just as important, we want to understand parents' concerns. We all share the same goal: to make sure our students have the skills and knowledge to be successful in a changing world."
"I think there are a lot of confused parents a lot of parents like me who are now getting upset by what they're seeing," said Susan Sheppeck, a mother of four students in the North Colonie School District. "I don't think it was ever laid out for layman's terms for parents. That would have been nice to see."
Susan says she's still not entirely sure what common core includes and why the change in curriculum was necessary. She wants to attend the first meeting in Albany, to be held at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School.
Other locations for the forums are Rochester, Westchester, Suffolk County, Nassau County, Schroon Lake, Binghamton, Amherst, Syracuse, and Jamestown.
The four PBS televised forums will be in Syracuse -WCNY on November 7, Plattsburgh-WCFE on November 20, Binghamton- WXXI on a date to be determined and Rochester- WXXI on December 3. King said more PBS forums will be scheduled.