The Ithaca Journal has an investigative article on the rollout of Common Core in the upstate Southern Tier region of New York State, Common Core fix for schools has broken parts.

The article is in depth and frank in the assessments from school administrators and teachers.

Here’s the summary at the beginning,

The newest fix to public education known as Common Core is arriving with incomplete plans in schools and at a rapid pace that leaves some students behind.

While the controversial educational standards have been blessed by hundreds of educators and adopted by 45 states, including New York, cracks are opening in the Common Core foundation that are raising concerns for teachers, parents and school administrators.

“The reality is implementation at the state level is just a disaster,” said Tom Phillips, of Hector, and Watkins Glen school district superintendent.

While Phillips said he agrees public education needs reform, his major beef with Common Core is the complex program is being rolled out too quickly.

The problems ranged from the one-size fits all curriculum, to chasing the funding money. In a situation eerily similar to subsidies for state health care exchanges that may dry up, there are concerns about Common Core funding drying up:

Improving student performance is one reason for the rapid launch of Common Core standards into schools, but money is another.

“Let’s not forget there are 730 million reasons why New York state is doing this. They received $730 million from the federal government to do this,” said Watkins Glen school district superintendent Tom Phillips.

But, the attraction to the federal dollars can come with a price for local schools.

In New York State, BOCES is playing a central role in assisting districts with the Common Core by training teachers and administrators, and printing modules for the districts at a low cost.

TST-BOCES Assistant Superintendent Heather Sheridan-Thomas, of Freeville, said while the curriculum itself is free through Engage NY, a website resource operated by the state education department, many of the associated texts are not.

“It’s a cost, and it’s a cost at a time when districts are laying off teachers,” Thomas said.

Whether those federal dollars fueling Common Core programs will continue is a worrisome unknown.

“I love working with BOCES,” said Newfield principal Vicky Volpicelli, of Groton. “They have a network team, which some of that Race to the Top money helped pay to hire to support us. They’ve been wonderful. I feel very supported. Now, the problem is when that money dries up … Then it will be again, can the districts pull together and sustain to keep those positions?”

It’s unfortunate that the article is set out over six screens and behind a limited visit paywall, making it more difficult to read. That’s how Gannett does things for its upstate local papers, and likely why despite being turned live three days ago the article only has two Twitter shares, no Facebook shares, and a comment from one person.

It should be shared widely.

(Featured Image source: YNN)


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