Statewide Debate Continues Over Common Core In Danbury Schools

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Schools across Connecticut and 44 other states are in their first year using the Common Core, a new math and science curriculum.
Schools across Connecticut and 44 other states are in their first year using the Common Core, a new math and science curriculum. Photo Credit: audio-luci-store.it via Creative Commons

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Connecticut’s legislators, governor and education groups as well as parents and teachers are all debating the merits of the state’s switch to its new curriculum, the Common Core.

Schools across the state are in the first year of implementing the Common Core State Standards, a math and language arts curriculum voluntarily agreed upon by 45 states. The standards set specific goals for each student to reach in every grade and focus on college and career readiness.

The Connecticut Board of Education agreed to join with the Common Core in 2010. But as the state begins its changeover to the curriculum this school year, many have raised concerns about the Common Core’s focus and implementation.

“These standards were designed by educators and are supported by all of us because of the promise they offer for all of our children,” Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Executive Director Joseph Cirasuolo said. “We cannot let misinformation and political maneuvering prevent us from providing Connecticut’s kids the tools they need to succeed in college and in careers.”

But a series of bills have been proposed in the Connecticut General Assembly to establish a moratorium on Common Core implementation for the 2014-15 school year. The acts would also order a study on Common Core’s potential impacts on student achievement, costs to towns and the state, and other factors. Public hearings started Wednesday.

House Republican Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) said at the public hearings that his caucus put forward the bills “so that we can literally pause, take stock and decide based on the study’s findings how we as a state should proceed.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy signed an executive order Tuesday to form a statewide task force to study Connecticut’s Common Core implementation and make suggestions for improvements. The 25-member task force includes teachers, principals, superintendents, parents and Board of Education members from across the state.

“Teachers, students, public officials, and everyone involved in the education system will benefit by having this review, identifying challenges, and highlighting best practices and lessons learned,” Malloy said.

A recent survey by the Connecticut Education Association, the statewide teachers union, found that most Connecticut teachers support Common Core (64 percent total), but the majority (56 percent) said they support it with “some reservations.”

Supporters said they liked the program’s focus on critical thinking and clearer guidelines. Detractors largely said the curriculum focuses too much on standardized tests, according to the survey.

When asked for recommendations on how to implement the new curriculum, the top response was to “prioritize student learning over testing,” which 98 percent of teachers said was either “important” or “very important.” The next most popular suggestion was to give teachers more time to adjust.

Barbara Dennis, an English as a Second Language teacher in the Stamford Public Schools, went to Hartford Wednesday to speak in favor of delaying the switch to Common Core. Like many in the survey, she expressed concerns about tying teacher evaluations to standardized tests and the lack of time to prepare for the changeover.

“We want to have high standards for all, but we are asking that you slow down and train the teachers properly,” Dennis said in her testimony. “In most districts, teachers have not had the professional development necessary for the full implementation of the standards into each curriculum.”

Representatives from a group of advocacy groups calling themselves the “Big Six” are defending the Common Core and calling for adjustments to its implementation. 

The group’s recommendations included more help and better communication between the state and local districts and schools, and better communication to parents. They also agreed with the governor’s decision last month to delay the state’s new standardized teacher and administrator evaluations for another year.

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Readers interested in the Common Core and teacher evaluation issue will find this story enlightening: http://ctmirror.org/teacher-evaluations-too-much-science-not-enough-art/

They did it with smoke and mirrors ROBBIE the state is in 1.1 billion in the red. And the fact is no one is storming the borders to start business in CT. Fact is people are leaving in droves as they are fed up with the socialists. Anyone thinking this state is in the red also believes the earth is FLAT!!!

It is not personal guys it is about cash flow. They want the cash to flow from us TAX payers to the non TAX payers. Like i said i do not want the Government in housing my guns health care or education. And for that matter every other issue that they can latterly mess up royally. Now Malloy is scamming the food stamps. John Bainer just released a press conference on how CT and malloy is scamming the food stamp system. Shameful at best but of course condoned by the anointed lefties. Clearly without the liberal elected progressive dems this state could actually be nice again. But then again the Gimme crowd would have to move. God forbid they should actually take an interest in there kids school work. Never ever trust a DEMOCRAT!!!

A John Bainer press release not thats funny

Another example of big government run amuck. These people have never run a business or a department yet they have the arrogance to believe they can direct the learning experience in 169 Ct towns, each with 3-5 schools, each with thousands of students, teachers, etc. etc.
Chutzpah to the extreme.

“These standards were designed by educators and are supported by all of us because of the promise they offer for all of our children,” Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Executive Director Joseph Cirasuolo said. “We cannot let misinformation and political maneuvering prevent us from providing Connecticut’s kids the tools they need to succeed in college and in careers.”

These are the comments from the Exec Director of one of the most political positions in the school system. Have you ever had to deal with the administration at your school system?

Common Core was ''voluntarily agreed upon' by the State Board of Education without knowing what was in it. Does that sound familiar? "Promises' don't equate to outcomes. Process and details matter. Legislators and voters were not privy or part of the decision.

Please identify what 'educators' developed the program? Pearson in some of its reference books improperly implies the development of one of the critical inventions of navigation to a different culture developed 800 years after its actual invention by the Greeks. If this is an example of one of the educators, that raises concerns.

Who conducted the survey for the Superintendents? What were the questions and who was polled? If we see how surveys can have very different outcomes on the same topics such as the Q poll vs the KoC poll on assisted suicide, we understand that accepting polling results without question is not in the public interest.

Funding for CC apparently came from the Stimulus bill - money our country does not actually have. Didn't the first year of implementation have a line item cost of over $100,000 in the Wilton BOE budget? Why? For What? Do our town education standards and results require spending additional money that way? Wouldn't that money be better spent on another teacher? Why wouldn't our state education system already have these priorities? We have state testing at different grade levels for learning achievement.

It is not appropriate to label groups who have questions and concerns as 'detractors', that is not respectful.

What groups are included in the "Big Six" proponents of CC?

Who decides who will be on the task force and how will they be selected - from across what demographics including political, economic, geographical?

It is all about the money. FANCY THAT!!!!!

yes the Republican are.

Moderator I see that you have been removing all left wing factual posts, while allowing lies , propaganda , name calling and factless posts by the right wingers . If this continues I will be forwarding screen shots of all posts involved to the CEO of the DV.. Its pretty clear the moderator has taken his or her personals views and put them before being a true news source.

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Executive Director Joseph Cirasuolo, misspoke. There were only 2 educators involved in the creation of CC and they both agreed that is was not a good or viable system to adopt . I hope m
Mr. Canuel is given the opportunity by his bosses at the DailyVoice, to actually do some research!

The Common Core and standardized testing (Pearson) are big business. Fact: States that fail to adopt CCSS lose their eligibility for federal Race to the Top funds or NCLB waivers.