NEWS10 ABC Special Report: What is Common Core? - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

NEWS10 ABC Special Report: What is Common Core?

It seems these days if you want to start a debate, you only need two words: Common Core.

The new educational standards and tests have come under fire from some parents and teachers, while other districts have seen a smooth roll out.

But even if you don't have children, it's a debate you need to pay attention to, because we're all paying for the cost of implementation.

New York signed on with 45 other states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, to adopt the standards developed in 2010 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The idea sounds good: make sure children across the country are ready for college or careers with uniform, rigorous standards from kindergarten through 12th grade.

For example, before kindergarteners needed to count aloud to 20, now they should be able to verbally count to 100 by both ones and tens.

But standards are only the first step, step two is changing the curriculum to meet the standards and some teachers have had a tough time. And parents are frustrated with the third step -- tougher and more frequent tests.

Although education has always been the province of each state, and the full name is Common Core State Standards, so many states signed on because those who did would be eligible for federal race to the top funding.

But only New York and Kentucky have tested on the newer standards -- with scores plummeting in both states.

New York tied the scores to teacher evaluations, while at the same time many local schools were cutting staff over the past few years in drastic budget cuts.

In fact, the New York State United Teachers President is calling for a three year moratorium on using results of the tests when making what he calls high stakes decisions, like whether to fire a teacher or hold a child back a grade.

It's not an easy thing for anyone involved, and advocacy groups say with poor communication from the state in forums that were cancelled and re-scheduled, it's hard for parents, teachers and taxpayers to get answers to some of their concerns.

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