Category Archives: Common Core

Common Sense Education Lobby Day Report – June 17, 2014

Four Kingston parents, including representatives from Kingston Action for Education, traveled to Albany for Common Sense Education Lobby Day on Tuesday June 17, 2014.

Kingston parents in Albany

We met up with eight parents from the Onteora school district intending to meet with our legislators after attending the rally.

We did not attend the press conference before the rally and had to leave before the rally concluded to meet with Assemblyman Kevin Cahill but full videos of the press conference and rally are available here.

Mary Calamia opened the rally with the following (video here):

We are all here today because we are trying to fix something that is very, very broken.  We have joined in a battle to fix a broken educational system that has created a hostile learning environment for our children and a hostile working environment for those who teach them.

Mary then encouraged the attendees that we are not just parents but advocates and even lobbyists.  And I was very proud to wear those titles with approximately 200 other people standing for New York’s children in Albany yesterday.

Mary quoted Governor Cuomo as saying “too often government responds to the whispers of lobbies before the cries of the people”.  Her response:

This from a man who is completely deaf to the cries of the people!  So Governor Governor, I say this – we are the people, we are the lobbyists.  We are not crying and we are so NOT whispering!  Today as lobbyists, you are going to meet with legislators and do what any other lobbyist does, try to influence legislation on behalf of the special interest and what more special interest can we have than the children of New York State?

We, the people will go into more than 50 legislative meetings and tell them what we know, what we have experienced and what we need from them and we will follow up this summer and talk with them again and again until we can restore Common Sense in Albany and Common Sense to our schools.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who was a member of the original Common Core Validation Committee charged with reviewing and approving the Common Core standards but refused to endorse the standards, spoke about the havoc that Common Core is wreaking on our education system and what parents, students and school board members can do about it. (video here)

  • (mark 5:10) Dr. Stotsky pointed out that the four most important stakeholder groups in the education of our children – parents, teachers, state legislators and school board members – were generally left out in the draft stages/early development of the Common Core Standards.
  • Students were also left out of the development of Common Core.  Go to mark 6:10 in the video segment for how high students got involved in Massachusetts and how Kingston students might want to get involved if they, particularly our current 7th and 8th graders, want to make sure they have adequate math course availability when they get to grades 11 and 12.
  • (mark 8:45) Common Core is wreaking havoc in our high schools particularly in the area of the math standards.  The Common Core Standards do not require courses above a weak Algebra 2 which will not get students to needed STEM fields – will the courses be there when budgets continue to be cut?  We have already lost accelerated math for our KCSD middle school students.  7th graders did not have it this year and we have been told that it will not be offered for next year’s 7th graders either.  ‘unless there  if they are in grade 8 or 9 now, your children are going to be the victims of Common Core’  Recruit your children who are old enough to understand the academic issues.
  • What can parents do?  (mark 12:50)  Parents have the right to do what they feel is best for their children.  Parents can send in a note stating that their student will only take ‘teacher-made’ tests.  Parents do not need to ask for permission – they have always had these rights.  Parents can send a note and indicate that they want instruction, not testing, on the days of state sponsored tests.  Also parents can say that they want to see their student’s scores from the ‘teacher-made’ tests within a week so that they can see what those tests look like and what scores/grades their kids are getting.
  • “What the law does not explicitly forbid or explicitly require in a free country, you can do.”
  • (mark 17:55) importance of local self-government – Legally elected school board members still have almost all of the legal authority they have had for 100s of years in this country.  Board members have rights and responsibilities as locally elected officials. All states, save one, have the right for local school boards to set/adopt their own standards.  They might still be responsible to take the tests but they can reject Common Core Standards explicity, adopt a superior set of standards, ask their local superintendent/teaching staff to create superior standards.  Teachers and administrators are not in an enviable state.  They are doing what they think they have been ordered to do by a state board of education.  People need to start straightening out who is the master and who is the public servant?
  • (mark 24:00)The State Board of Regents did not ask the questions they should have asked before accepting Common Core.  No state board of educations asked for a cost benefit analysis.  No state boards of ed asked their higher education teaching faculty (people teaching at the college level in mathematics, science and engineering) to look at the Common Core college-readiness standards in high school to see if they were adequate (were they really college-level standards?) or at least no boards are on record as having asked these questions.  Dr. Stotsky recommends that parents ask teachers from our STEM colleges to look at standards and see if they are indeed adequately preparing students for entry into those college.

Conversation with Assemblyman Kevin Cahill

12 parents from Ulster County (from Kingston and Onteora school districts) met with Assemblyman Kevin Cahill outside the assembly floor at 1pm on June 17.

  • We told Assemblyman Cahill that we were very concerned about Common Core and asked for his support of bill A8844.  He asked if that was the Graf bill and when told ‘Yes’ responded that ‘the Graf bill politically can not pass’.  He went on to tell stories about his 8 year old granddaughter and her four and a half hours of homework and upset parents and how he understands that the Common Core implementation is not working but he believes that the Common Core Standards are good.  Cahill mentioned at one point that the Graf bill had “bad stuff” in it and I wanted to ask what that was but decided it wasn’t worth getting into an argument over at this time.
  • Parents brought up concerns with regards to special education and Common Core and Assemblyman Cahill affirmed that he understands that every child is unique.
  • Assemblyman Cahill stated dissatisfaction with Commissioner King.
  • He talked about the reappointment of Regents this year and how that he learned of a paper, from Regent Jackson himself, that Regent Jackson had written regarding high-stakes testing that stated the many problems with implementation.  In the interview process Cahill asked Jackson about the paper and why he hadn’t communicated the concerns to the other regents when and Jackson said that he hadn’t thought about it and probably should have (it sounds like Jackson forgot about the paper he had written during the discussion of Common Core) and Cahill decided he could not vote for Jackson for reappointment.  When I asked why he voted for someone (no one could remember Regent Josephine Finn’s name but I came home and looked it up) who did not know anything about Common Core instead, Cahill responded that the new regent was appointed because she was well respected and it was believed she would be someone who would ‘shake things up’.  Cahill stated that the Regents work in task forces and only the few Regents (5 he though) who are on the Common Core task force are actually responsible to know anything about Common Core.  He recommended, as had Assemblywoman Nolan on June 3, that we the parents speak to our regent who happens to be Regent Finn about our Common Core concerns.

Conversation with Senator Tkaczyk

We found out last minute that Senator Tkaczyk’s office had requested a maximum of six people to attend the meeting with her so 2 parents from Kingston and 2 parents from Onteora attended and I was not one of them as I have spoken with her previously.

Conversation with Senator Seward

Instead of speaking with Senator Tkaczyk, Madeline and I sat in on a meeting with Senator Seward who appeared to be very supportive of the educational concerns raised by the parents/teachers speaking with him.  The primary focus of the discussion was on the high school level and regarding students who tend to fall through the cracks both special education students and those who might not be special education but still struggle in school.  The 9th grade Common Core math test was shared with Senator Seward and the question raised about how was that test useful to be required for every student and would it really prove that every student was college ready?  The example was given of current college students in programs for television, to be a chef and something arts-related (can’t remember the specific field) where each student was excelling in college and the math test would have been no accurate indication of anything to do with their field of study yet if a student can not pass the test, they will not be able to graduate and go on to college.  Discussion of the RCT (Regent Competency Test) took place and in particular a student who had to take it 5 times and just managed to finally pass before aging out of high school.  Now students do not even have the RCT option and must pass 5 Regents tests in order to earn a diploma at all!

Note:  This report was written in June 2014 after Common Sense Education Lobby Day but never published.  I think there might have been more information that I wanted to include.  The information included is still relevant (and someone was just asking about Assemblyman Cahill’s stand on Common Core) so I am posting it on November 15, 2015.

Common Core has to Go

If you are still uncertain about why there is an ever-growing army of parents fighting to get rid of Common Core, take ten minutes to read the following article and listen to a statement made at the Syracuse Common Core Task Force listening tour.

Common Core remains a mess and must be eradicated

Supporters of the alleged education reform commonly referred to as Common Core tell us that it is an endeavor to raise the education bar for all students — an effort to ensure that students have the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century global economy.

Who would oppose this noble cause? Who doesn’t want children prepared to meet the challenges of the future? Why would parents (and teachers) across the country be up in arms about such a gallant effort?

The answer is very simply that Common Core is not the reform of education; it is the fundamental conversion of the education system to a workforce development program by investors (stakeholders) who stand to make fortunes from it.

click to read the rest of the article by parent and Wappingers Central School District Board of Education member Anne LaValle – November 14, 2015

Video from Syracuse Common Core Task Force listening tour on November 10, 2015

I am so proud to be fighting alongside these amazing moms!

Stop Common Core

Panel questions effectiveness of Common Core standards

Governor Cuomo’s Common Core task force held their first public meeting on Thursday night October 29, 2015 in New Rochelle, New York.  They heard the following from Principal Jamaal Bowman:

“The state has disempowered the schools and the school districts” with the implementation of the educational standards, said panelist Jamaal Bowman, principal of the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action in the Bronx, to the task force.

The results of those tests and the curriculum within the schools are no longer trusted at the level they used to be, Bowman said. “And the state assessments have driven a wedge between the teachers and the parents.”  – “Panel questions effectiveness of Common Core standards” October 30, 2015

The lohud article continues on to report that “while there was much criticism of Common Core, there were still places in the state that it appeared to be working” and that the superintendent of the Schodack Central School District who “credited the standards with driving up graduation rates and students’ college-career readiness” had concerns regarding the reliance on standardized testing.

Local parents advocating for the removal of Common Core were in attendance at the meeting as well.  Stop Common Core videographer Mert Melfa captured Principal Bowman’s presentation and I highly recommend taking the 15 minutes to hear what he had to say to the panel.

Although Principal Bowman is a product of a public school and works at a public school (not a charter), he does not feel confident in placing his currently 18-month old daughter in a public school when she turns five due to “the test-and-punish culture that we have created.”

Principal Bowman made the following recommendations to the Common Core task force:

  • Remove teacher evaluations aligned to state assessments immediately
  • Administer state assessments, if you need to, created by teachers in fourth and seventh grades
  • Begin a statewide focus and conversation around authentic curriculum, instruction and formative assessment (not summative assessment).  Emphasis local assessment not state assessment.
  • Implement a birth to age eight program in our highest need districts.

“I am not anti-testing and anti-standards.  I just want to emphasize formative assessments that meet the needs of individual students and empowers teachers.”

Wappingers Falls Central School District parent and Stop Common Core warrior Deborah Torres Henning shared this report on her facebook page:

I know there are those interested in finding out what went on at the 1st task force meeting. Let me try and summarize: after being required to reserve our spot via sign up, we were told to be there no later than 3:30 for a 4pm start. We were there – the panel wasn’t…until 4:35. There were 65 (SIXTY FIVE) available seats for the audience – huh? Why so limited, and what was the criteria for allowing the audience in? No one on the governors staff could answer that question for me, so I proceeded to enter the room and say hello to familiar faces and fellow warriors.

Then the Task force led by Parsons introduced the members of the Task force panel. The presenters included a panel of 5, 2 of which were wishy washy in their stance for?against? ( Dr. Linda Sturges, Professor of Mathematics & Mathematics and Computer Science Curriculum Supervisor, SUNY Maritime College and Robert Horan, Superintendent, Schodack Central School District ); 1 who must’ve left her pom poms at home for her cc cheerleading and I swore was going to kiss herself bc she thought she was so great (Judy Kelly, English Teacher, Sleepy Hollow High School; English Department Chair, Sleepy Hollow High School & Middle School; President, Local Teachers Union ) and 2 presenters who actually wowed me (Jamaal Bowman, Principal, Cornerstone Academy for Social Action and Lisa Rudley, Westchester County Parent, Co-Founder and Executive Director of New York State Allies for Public Education )

While I may not agree with all of NYSAPE’s or BAT’s approaches to addressing this reform debacle, these two individuals did me proud! They were informed, they knew their stuff and they went to bat against the test and punish culture. Both called for the removal of teacher evaluations linked to testing IMMEDIATELY. Both called for more local control and to bring back creativty, communication, and critical thinking to educating our children, and that we needed to educate the whole child and that just wasn’t being done anymore and its WRONG.

While Jamaal did an outstanding job, and discussed design thinking and problem solving methodology, and something called I-Ready (I have to research that), I wished he had done just one more thing after his presentation – and that was to DROP THE MIKE! It was THAT good!

Lisa was so jarring to their smug senses that they pummeled her in the question and answer portion between the presenters and the task force members. She held her own and didn’t falter. She knew her stuff! One member, Sam Radford, had the audacity to come down on Lisa about what her credentials were and how could we trust her integrity for being the voice of parents…we have NO idea how HE was chosen to be on this task force, and he dares to ask her THAT? He’s a punk, I guess that’s why Cuomo put him on there.

The arrows kept flying at Lisa, but she not only was able to succinctly deflect them with actual information and reason, she had a few of us supporting her the way you would expect us seasoned warriors trying to protect their own – LOUDLY!

The questions the task force asked sounded as if they had never heard any of this before. “how do you know the testing is bad?”, “what evidence do you have to support this?”, “can you get us the data and research to support blah blah blah?” Hey! Aren’t THEY the ones who are supposed to get the research and data??? Grrrrrr….. There was so much more, but I just wanted to get my initial thoughts out before my head burst.

There are 12 of these meetings scheduled around the state – PLEASE make sure that if there is one within a 2 hour radius from your home, you get to one! Our voices and our support is needed for the presenters who are trying to speak out against CC, Testing, Data Collection, RttT and all the other tentacles.

Regional Public Sessions – Friday, November 6th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
One session will be held in each region of the state (total of 10 meetings). Regional meeting details will be available on the Task Force website early next week.
Public Session Two – Wednesday, November 18th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Erie County – meeting details will be announced on the Task Force website as they become available.
The public is also encouraged to submit comments and recommendations to the Common Core Task Force on its website,


Additional reporting on the first public meeting:

Common Core Task Force Public Meeting Schedule

Does the Common Core Task Force seated by Governor Cuomo really want to hear about the problems with Common Core?  They aren’t giving people a whole lot of time to prepare comments for or to attend the public meetings being held around the state.

Last week, the task force announced its first public meeting (in New Rochelle) just two days before the event was held. And on Tuesday, the task force announced it will host five listening sessions on Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. in regions across the state to taking testimony from the public on the standards.

The task force’s website, however, had incomplete information about the meetings and faulty links. After POLITICO New York made inquiries about the schedule with the governor’s office on Tuesday afternoon, the times and locations were removed from the site entirely and were later replaced.

“Advocates question Common Core task force schedule” November 3, 2015

The article continues with a number of concerns about the announcement of and timing of the five public meetings being held day after tomorrow (Friday November 6, 2015).  Ten total meetings were promised.  A meeting in Erie County on November 18 has apparently been posted since the article referenced so that means here are four more yet to be scheduled.

Here is the email invitation received by some people for the November 6 meetings:


The Common Core Task Force cordially invites you to attend a Regional Common Core Listening Session

Friday, November 6, 2015
3:00 PM — 5:00 PM
Check-in will begin at 2:30 PM.

Participants will have the opportunity to deliver up to three minutes of timed testimony to selected Task Force members and staff.

Meetings will be held in the following regions. We anticipate that additional sessions will be scheduled in the near future.

Long Island
Stony Brook University Research and Development Park
Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT)
1500 Stony Brook Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6040

New York City
LaGuardia Community College
Poolside Café
31-10 Thomson Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101

Hudson Valley
SUNY Purchase College
Humanities Building, Theater
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577

Capital Region
Crossings of Colonie
Large Meeting Room
580 Albany Shaker Rd
Loudonville, NY 12211

Finger Lakes/Western New York
Genesee Community College
Conable Technology Building, Room T-102
One College Rd.
Batavia, NY 14020

We encourage you to R.S.V.P here.

R.S.V.P is appreciated but not required and all guests are welcome as space permits. Any attendee wishing to deliver testimony will be invited to do so, within the time available. Written testimony will also be accepted at the event, or can be uploaded to our website here.

For details on event location and parking, or to learn more about past and upcoming events, please visit our website.

Thank you!

NYSED Common Core Survey

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and Commissioner Maryellen Elia introduced a Common Core survey open to the public this past week.

In New York State, we are committed to higher standards and to evaluating the standards on a regular basis with input from stakeholders. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is conducting a review of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. NYSED is conducting a survey in order to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the standards. The results of the survey will directly inform any changes that we make to the standards as a result of the review. I look forward to hearing from you and reviewing your feedback on the standards.

— Commissioner Elia

This blog post, NYSED and Elia have not fooled us with their survey, highlights the general feeling from those concerned about testing and Common Core that the survey is designed to frustrate those who attempt to complete it so that NYSED can say they tried to get feedback and no one responded so the standards must be just fine.  It is generally felt that the survey is not structured in a way to truly solicit feedback from the public.  It is long, cumbersome and requires responses to be given to specific Common Core Learning Standards.

Another article expresses some of the same concerns about the survey from both parents and school officials.

Common Core critics leery of new NY survey

— New York education officials Wednesday kicked off a review of the state’s Common Core standards with an online survey, but some of the standards’ foes say the review doesn’t go far enough — or may even be designed to fail.

The survey established a goal to gather input from teachers, parents, school board members and residents across the state as part of the state Education Department’s review of the standards.

The review — and a separate commission formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to “reboot” the standards — comes after more than 200,000 students this year opted out of the state’s assessments used to measure the standards.

Parents and school officials in and around Schenectady on Wednesday said the survey poses technical problems and comes late in the process to provide much meaningful insight in time for lawmakers and state officials to consider changes in their established timelines.

“There’s not a lot of time for them to do this,” Schenectady school board President Cathy Lewis said.

Parent and former middle school teacher Alison Bianco of Colonie went even further, arguing the survey and review commission were a “sham” intended to make it look like state officials were listening to concerns with the standards but doing nothing to address those concerns.

She said: “220,000 opt-outs tell us there is a level of dissatisfaction with what is going on. … But they are going to rename it, rebrand it and it’s business as usual.”

Moreover, Bianco and Tim Farley, a school principal in Columbia County, said they tried to take the survey Wednesday, but it was difficult to navigate and didn’t give participants the chance to provide narrative answers or responses about their opinions of the standards. Farley estimated completing the survey could take 20 hours or more.

Bianco said she isn’t bothered that much by the standards themselves — which set general grade-level targets for math and literacy — but more with the process, “shrouded in secrecy,” that led to their adoption and the testing that comes with them. She is also concerned with long-term data collection and monitoring she fears will follow the testing.

The complaints over the standards cut deeper than just the survey, however, and come from different groups with varying interests. The standards are tied to statewide exams that play a major role in evaluating teachers and schools.

Schenectady Federation of Teachers President Juliet Benaquisto said there is a lot to like about establishing standards, but she worries the “high-stakes” testing tied to the standards doesn’t provide teachers with useful information. She also said the testing doesn’t account for other factors students face — home conditions, poverty, special needs and more.

Fifty percent of a teacher’s evaluation is tied to how students do on the tests which, Benaquisto said, places teachers in the most challenging schools and districts under a constant cloud of fear. She said the tests are too long and rigorous to represent a fair measure of a teacher’s success.

“We need to have a system where we are looking at other measures … what gains students have made,” she said. “We need to engage in a process where we look at results and compare how our students are doing compared to districts with similar poverty rates and English-as-a-second-language students.”

Schenectady schools Superintendent Laurence Spring agreed that too much stock is put in the tests when it comes to evaluating teachers, especially tests that are so new and have yet to be statistically validated over multiple years. He also said the focus of the tests and standards should be on students and not teachers.

“Let’s ensure that the test is good for kids first. The test has to be used to improve teaching and learning for children,” he said. “When you use it for a purpose other than that, let’s be careful.”

-The Daily Gazette, Friday October 23, 2015

The announcement of the survey itself clearly indicates that NYSED/Commissioner Elia has no interest in truly hearing about what the people of New York desire (getting rid of Common Core) but will only consider minor tweaks here and there to some of the standards.

In January 2011, the NYS Board of Regents adopted the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards, which include the nationally recognized Common Core State Standards and a small amount of additional standards uniquely added by New York State. The Common Core State Standards were created through a collaborative effort on behalf of the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards were developed by key stakeholders in the field, including teachers, school administrators, and content experts.

The New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards:

  • provide a consistent set of expectations for what students should learn and be able to do
  • are internationally-benchmarked and evidence-based

The New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards are not:

  • assessments
  • evaluations
  • curriculum

This survey provides an opportunity for every New Yorker to go online, review each standard and comment on what is liked, not liked, or offer a suggestion for a change to a particular standard. Please note: Respondents do not need to comment on every standard. Please comment on as few or as many standards as desired.

This is not a referendum on the standards. Only comments tied to a specific standard will be considered. The objectives of this review are to:

  1. increase awareness and understanding of New York’s current standards in ELA and math that were adopted in 2011; and

  2. gather actionable feedback from all New Yorkers as part of the department’s regular review process of the academic standards with an eye toward continuous improvement.

So has NYSED provided an opportunity for the public to give feedback on the Common Core standards?  Yes, technically.  Will the survey bring about change that will satisfy parents?  Probably not.

Are we the dumbest nation in the world?

Diana Ravitch shares the following from Denis Ian, a regular poster on the Stop Common Core in New York facebook group.

Denis Ian writes:

“If some lonesome alien just floated into this nation … and had only the Common Core pronouncements as a guide … they’d immediately assume that they were now stuck in some bottom-of-the-barrel country populated by a species that was about an inch beyond bacteria on the evolutionary scale.

“This is their tiresome ploy. Failure is all around … and we’re all too, too oblivious to see all of this with our very own eyes … because near-bacteria hasn’t that sort of sophistication. If all of this were true, we’d all be packing our trunks and marching off to blissful lives in Guatemala or Mali or Nepal. I guess we’re too stupid to even move. That must be it, right?

“What’s so stunning to me is the fact that so many of us are still here … and that our miserable, failing nation is the most desired destination on the planet. All of which begs certain questions that are never, ever addressed by the Common Core corps.

“Here’s the real mystery … How has America maintained its premier economic circumstances when we are populated by such uneducated dolts? How is that this nation is ground zero for all sorts of medical innovations … and that people from the Arab world and Asia and Europe zoom here for medical treatment? Oh! And why are our universities the most desired in the world? And can they explain the happy accident why we have the best standard of living the world has ever experienced? Help me out here, will ya?

“How is it that our military is the most technologically advanced? And what explains the fact that we produce enough food-stuffs to feed ourselves … and vast portions of the world? I’m stumped why we’re the first to offer emergency services when disaster strikes around the globe … and folks seem numb to the USA insignia on replacement equipment, food, and supplies. Did I fail to mention the doctors, engineers, and EMT professionals we send as well?

“That’s a lot of very dumb folks doing some miraculous things.

“Now, to our schools. Something’s wrong, alright. Our schools don’t behave according to the Common Core observations. Our public school faculties are some of the most credentialed on the planet.These public schools lay the foundation that has made America the most recognized Nobel prize producing nation of all-time. No country has ever been so inventive as America. None. We lead in medical inventions and innovations … the same for computer technologies … as well as for mechanical innovations of all sorts. Man, those dumb Americans are the luckiest folks the world’s ever seen!

“These failing public schools have produced world-renown playwrights, artists, actors, musicians, vocalists, and authors of all sorts. These dreadful public schools have given rise to admired engineers and architects and urban planners. They’ve yielded ship designers and astronauts … and the vessels they use to speed around space. We accidentally put men on the moon and recently bumped into Pluto. Ooops! Hope that mistake doesn’t happen again! … some folks will be very embarrassed.

“I hate to mention our political maturity, but I have to. I know we’re supposed to be extremely basic thinkers according to those gifted Common Core pushers, but what explains the relative historical, non-violent political experience in America? We don’t lop off the noggins of lousy rulers. We don’t have a coup every other full moon. And we have dozens of nations world-wide that have modeled themselves after our political foundations. We’d better call them with the bad news that we’re not worth emulating. We’re failures.

“Apologies for the over-the-top sarcasm, but lots and lots of very fine people have had their reputations battered by these frauds who premise that American schools are huge disasters. It’s time to get in their faces

So have our public schools failed the United States or not?

Common Core has NOT won the war!

If you heard about an article from Politico that declares ‘Common Core quietly won the war’, know that the assessment is NOT correct.

Not so fast, Politico. Common core is fading. Don’t believe the hype.


This is a must read. Common core has taken over. That much is true. It’s the hottest topic out there. But they have not won. That is false. We are not done. What are we doing to stop this? We are fighting, always.

Cato speaks the truth:

“A Politico article today declares that the Common Core has “quietly” won the school standards war. It is a headline that would have been accurate several years ago, but today’s headline should be somewhat different: “Common Core in major – but quiet – retreat.”

– read the rest of the blog post here

Do NOT give up!  We still have a battle to win for our children and our schools.

UPDATE October 14, 2015 11pm:  Here is another perspective on how Politico is wrong about Common Core.

Hefling’s main point is that Common Core is now everywhere, so it won. But this would be tantamount to saying that Kleenex has cornered 100% of the facial tissue market because all citizens wipe their noses on something that they call “Kleenex.”

Sure, there’s something called Common Core almost everywhere in education. But which Common Core Ish thing would we like to talk about?


If the picture of success was supposed to be that everyone in the public education system (not the private schools! never the private schools!) had to deal with something that had the words “Common Core” attached to it, then yes, CCSS has won.

But if, as was actually the case, the goal was to have identical standards pursued and measured in every public classroom in the country, with teachers working in virtual lockstep to pursue exactly the same goals– then, no– the Common Core lost. It failed. It was a sledgehammer that was supposed to beat open the brick wall of US schooling, and instead shattered into a million different bits.

And Hefling doesn’t even talk about the other promise of the Core– that all students would be college and career ready. We supposedly have several years’ worth of Common Core grads out there now– how are they doing? Are colleges reporting an uptick in well-prepared freshmen? Are businesses reporting a drop in their training needs? Hefling and her Core-adoring sources don’t address that at all. Can you guess why?

Contact Cuomo – Put Ra/Graf on Common Core Commission

NYS Assemblymen Al Graf and Ed Ra have been fighting Common Core for years and have already conducted the panel that Governor Cuomo is proposing (but with the RIGHT PEOPLE!)

Assemblyman Al Graf and Assemblyman Ed Ra need to be on Cuomo’s Common Core review panel. Contact Governor Cuomo now!

  1. Call Governor Cuomo – (518) 474-8390
  2. E-mail Governor Cuomo – Use this website:
  3. For snail mail, the address is:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224




Assemblyman Al Graf’s facebook posts (dated September 20, 2015) urging us to contact Governor Cuomo regarding the Common Core Commission:

So the regents think they have finally figured out the problems with common core. They have come up with a solution. They have decided to just re-name it. How stupid are these people? Calling it something else is not going to fix the problem! Call the Governor’s office and tell him to put Ed Ra and me on the panel to review common core. Ask your friends to call. Write a letter to the Governor, send an email, or do all three. Apparently the regents could not find a clue to the problem if it was strapped to their back.

Colette my degree is in elementary education. Ed and I put together a panel which included teachers, school administrators, school councilors with clinical experience, parents, principals and others involved in education. The purpose of us being on the panel is to bring them in. Ed and I have been fighting beside parents from the beginning.

Assemblyman Ed Ra’s statement regarding review of Common Core:

Ra Pleased With Push For New Common Core Standards

September 3, 2015
Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) today reiterated his support for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core Standards in light of Gov. Cuomo’s recent comments on the issue. Ra stressed that while he is glad the governor is finally making necessary steps to remedy Common Core’s implementation, the Assembly Minority Conference has been pushing for a solution for years.
“I’m glad Gov. Cuomo is finally taking action and convening a process to provide a comprehensive review of the implementation of the flawed Common Core curriculum,” said Ra. “I hope the governor will convene a proper cross-section of stakeholders and allow a thorough and honest process with no preordained outcome. My colleagues and I in the Assembly Minority Conference have been offering solutions to Common Core and calling for action on this issue for years; it’s frustrating that it took the governor this long to come around, but I’m happy we are finally going to do right by our children, parents and teachers.”
Ra has been at the forefront of education reform in New York State. Ra and the Assembly Minority Conference first introduced The Achieving Pupil Preparedness & Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan in the Assembly in 2014. The APPLE Plan would help ensure state education standards are age- and grade-appropriate and provide proper flexibility for special student populations.

Who are the Stop Common Core activists?


Let’s dispel some myths about the stop common core activists. We who fight common core and obsessive, useless testing are not here because we are a bunch of ‘white suburban moms whose kids aren’t as smart as we thought they were.’, ala Arne Duncan. (And may we add, in what other job title could a national representative say such a thing without losing his job?)

We are many. We are parents of honor students. We are grand parents. We are ‘highly effective’ teachers. We are aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers. We are school principals. We are empty nesters. We are childless by choice and career oriented. We come from all walks of life and are all income levels. We share a single goal. That goal is not to ‘make school easier’, or to show children ‘they can shirk the daily challenges and hard work’. That goal is to take back our schools. We share the vision of reclaiming the American freedoms our forefathers afforded us, currently stripped away by big money and the United States of Gate$.

Click to read the rest of this blog entry from stopcommoncorenys March 8, 2015

Tell Board of Regents “No” to Mary Elia as NYS Commissioner of Education

UPDATE May 26, 2015 9pm – The Board of Regents voted unanimously at 4pm today to appoint Mary Ellen Elia as New York State Commissioner of Education.  I agree with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco’s summary of this appointment.

Once again, there was absolutely no transparency in this process. Where was the input from educators, elected officials and the public to help vet candidates and at least get a second opinion?

Something so important as the future of our children’s education deserved a more open and transparent process.

– original post below –

The Board of Regents is preparing to appoint Mary Elia as the New Commissioner of Education.  Ms.Elia is a former superintendent of Hillsborough FL who was recently fired by her school board.  Elia received a large grant from the Gates Foundation to evaluate teachers through test scores and is a big supporter of the CC. The Board of Regents meets at noon TODAY. Please flood their phone lines and tell the Regents to vote NO.

Regent Finn (518) 474-5889