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Education Town Hall Series gets heated

By ALLISON NORLIAN

WESTMORELAND, N.Y. (WKTV) - In an effort to address challenges in the education sector, State Senator Joseph Griffo created a three part Education Town Hall Series. The series which began on Tuesday night addressed everything from the Common Core Curriculum to mandated testing. Senator John Flanagan was a guest speaker and the room got heated as parents, students and teachers debated the education system.

With statements like, "children are being abused," and " I too have never been so discouraged or disgusted in the state in the federal government," locals got up one by one to address their concerns and voice their opinions. Individuals spoke of their own experiences with the Common Core Curriculum including Randy Bates of Rome, " All the unnecessary testing thats being done, last year was a joke. They took all the kids self esteem away. They are taking the joy away of learning and turning them into little robots."

"Adopt, adapt, and ignore," was a statement Senator Flanagan said during his speech, referencing the Common Core Curriculum. Flanagan said that school districts have the option of adopting the curriculum, and that it isn't mandatory, " The common core that's an educational policy that was set and adopted by the board of region... to change that in its entirety would be difficult. But it's not unreasonable to come away from a meeting like this, follow up with Joe and some of my colleagues and go back and tell them what is going on at the street level when you actually talk to parents who have kids in school."

The three part series continues into next week. The second part will be held on Monday, October 7th and will be another Town Hall-style public forum. The key-note speaker for part two will be New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King Jr. The third part of the series will be held at the end of October and will feature Senator Kenneth Lavalle who is the State Senate Committee on Higher Education. Lavalle will be touring local colleges and universities in the Utica region and specifically discussing higher education issues.

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