BUFFALO, NY-- If you're one of the many parents upset over the state's common core standards, you'll have the opportunity to speak out in an open forum with state leaders.
The forum will be held from 6 to 8 tonight at the Akron High school auditorium.
Many parents and teachers have criticized the new standards that are blamed for a big drop in standardized testing scores statewide.
Tonight's forum is sponsored NYS Assembly Republican.
"None of us are against testing," says parent Eric Mihelbergle. "We all want our kids to be tested and to be challenged. But what we don't like is the high stakes nature...meaning that all the focus in on testing. And so everything is based on testing. Funding, teachers' jobs. So what's the incentive for teachers...the incentive is teach to the test. We're missing out on all the other aspects of the curriculum."
State Education Commissioner John King insists that students need the Common Core to improve their skills for success in college and the workplace.
According to a new poll, New Yorkers are split down the middle on whether the standards are actually helping prepare students for college.
Statement from SED Commissioner King
"The recent NAEP results are clear evidence we need to set strong standards for our students.
"There's still a lot of misinformation about the Common Core. It's not a curriculum; districts still have the flexibility to choose their own curriculum. State tests are not increasing; in fact, this week the Board of Regents will move to reduce the testing time associated with state assessments, and the State Education Department is working with local districts to reduce their use of local standardized testing.
"We will continue to seek ways to make sure that children are protected from more testing than is necessary at the local school district level. And we will ask the federal government for waivers from some of their testing requirements that we believe are burdensome and counterproductive to teaching and learning.
"Any time you raise standards across 700 districts and 4500 schools, there will be a need for continuing adjustments. Many of the concerns expressed at the forums we're holding around the state can only be addressed through legislative change, but we will continue to work with all stakeholders to make thoughtful adjustments as this important work moves forward.
"The NAEP scores showed us something else. Tennessee and Washington, D.C., which are both ahead of New York in implementation of reforms, had the strongest growth in their NAEP scores. The reforms are working, and they'll work in New York.
"The bottom line is our students need the Common Core to improve the skills and knowledge necessary for success in college and the workplace. Along with NYSUT, NYSSBA, NYSCOSS and virtually every other key education stakeholder group, we know the Common Core is the best way to help our students. We'll continue to make changes as needed to the implementation of the Common Core, but we cannot change our course. Our students are counting on us."