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” lohud.com 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,ny.gov/CommonCoreTaskForce.
Additional reporting on the first public meeting:
- News 12 Westchester report on the conference “Parents, teachers take a stand against standardized tests” October 29, 2015
- “Fred LeBrun: Will Cuomo Back Off His Horror Show?” from Diane Ravitch’s blog November 1, 2015
- “Editorial: Testing Obsession Is Under Review” lohud.com October 30, 2015