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Local lawmakers hear emotional testimony on Common Core

By ANNA MEILER

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, Assemblyman Marc Butler, along with members of the Education Committee lent their ears to distressed parents at New Hartford BOCES Monday night.

Common Core meetings have gotten extremely heated in the past, leading to New York State Education Commissioner John King canceling a series of forums. But Monday night, Parents weren't so much angry as they were emotional.

"The implementation of the Common Core is devastating," said Robert Wood, a parent and teacher in the Rome school district, who sees the frustration in the halls and at home.

"The material is not age appropriate, it's not at a cognitive level. So kids are frustrated. There's stress, there's distress and there's pain and suffering and that spills to the home life," said Wood.

Through tears, one teacher talked about her student stabbing himself in the arm with a pencil because he was so overwhelmed by the increased standardized testing.

"The frustration I see during testing for students who are severely behind is just heartbreaking. To see that a child is basically beating himself up because he's unable to read and comprehend these questions is enough, but the fact that it goes on for almost two hours at a time is just brutal," said Kirsten Vivacqua, a teacher in the Utica school district.

A member of the Education Committee, Assemblyman Al Graf said the Common Core modules are rolled out so quickly, the material isn't always correct. One parent said the content is even more harmful than that.

"It's just too outrageous for me to believe that we would ask our children to lose their national identities, marginalize their family ties, dilute their cultural traditions and learn history from texts that have been rewritten all to reflect the progressive agenda of a few that hold the checkbook," said one parent.

Parents are grateful their voices are being heard. But what happens next?

"We petition the governor again. We try to craft some legislation again to completely pull Common Core or at least chip away at it and get rid of the worst of it and replace it with reasonable standards," said Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, (R) Assembly District 101.

The testimony from the meeting will be part of an official report that will be brought to Albany. The next Common Core forum is in Lowville on Dec. 3.

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