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WDKX.com » Blog » New York Education Commissioner's Visit Met By Protesters
Aug 29th 2013 6:29 am
New York Education Commissioner's Visit Met By Protesters

State Education Commissioner John King visited Rochester Wednesday, but was met with some resistance. Nearly 40 people protested in front of the School of the Arts, where King was scheduled to have a private meeting.

"Public education under attack!"
High-stakes standardized testing.

"What do we do? Stand up fight back!"

Parents say it's a gamble they want their kids left out of.

"Get ready for a fight. These are our kids, not your kids!"

State Education Commissioner John King had a meeting at Rochester School of the Arts on Wednesday, but not everyone was happy to see him.

"We want Commissioner King to understand we are fed up and frustrated. These tests are dangerous to our children; they are stressful," said Melissa Barber, School 52 teacher.

Nearly 40 parents and teachers voiced their concerns with the newly implemented core curriculum and state exams. They say the tests are too hard and place unnecessary stress on young students.

"High stakes testing is not the way to reform education."

Among concerned parents was Marie Little, who says the new curriculum doesn't focus on the basics like telling time, because they're focused on exam prep.

"If he started playing at 1:50 p.m., what time is it? From the kids that come to my house, I can tell you they haven't necessarily mastered telling time," Little said.

King's meeting with members of the city school district was closed to the public.

The results of this year's statewide English Language Arts and Math tests showed only about five percent of Rochester City School students met or exceeded the standard, the lowest scores in the state. King says this year's results should be seen as a baseline.

"This is a natural part of the process. It's jarring to encounter the higher standards and over time we're confident that educators in the state will help our students meet the higher expectations," King said.

Some teachers have reported an increase in absences and visits to the school nurse during the state tests. Now, they'll still have to administer those exams this year but some teachers are showing their non-compliance by refusing to give practice exams.

"I refuse. I don't think it teaches them anything, it takes away from my academics, what I need them to learn in the sixth grade," said Barber.

"The reason 45, 46 states have all committed to the Common Core is because we know our students need to be more college ready. They are raising the bar across the country," King said.

Despite resistance from some city school teachers, King says the curriculum will remain in place and will give Rochester students a competitive edge down the road.