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NYS Education Commissioner visits upstate school district

By ANNA MEILER

VERONA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Common Core, high stakes testing, these are the words at the center of a lot of controversy in the state of New York.

The man who rolled out the Common Core, State Education Commissioner John King, spent time with students in Verona Wednesday- a week ahead of the math standardized tests.

Many parents say the standardized tests are high stakes and stressful for their kids, but at the JD George Elementary School they're turning them into a celebration. So, King is praising the district's approach and hoping others follow suit.

King looked on as students added prefixes to words and solved math problems.

"Seeing students engaged, learning how to improve their writing, learning how to do problem solving and math exactly the things we know our students need for success in college careers and life," said King.

King hopes by 2022 all graduates will be college and career ready as opposed to the current one third. But, many parents say the standardized testing has put too much pressure on their kids and reduces them to numbers. Many students refused to take the English tests earlier this month. King says districts can lose state funding but that shouldn't be the focus.

"It's disappointing that some folks lost the opportunity to have that information on how their students are doing. Hopefully we'll continue to work to help those parents understand the value of the assessments and of that information about how their students are doing against common standard," said King.

Now with math tests a week away, King hopes districts state-wide will take this optimistic approach.

"Change is always uncomfortable and change can be more challenging for some people than others and so our job is to figure out how we can help to support people through that change. But, the change is change and it will be uncomfortable. We can't make it go away," said Martha Group, superintendent of the VVS Central School District.

Common Core has been implemented in grades kindergarten through grade nine. The next step will be rolling out the curriculum in high schools.

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