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Canton School Board wants state to revise Common Core policies

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CANTON - The Canton Central Board of Education is sending a letter to the state Board of Regents that urges members to refine implementation of the Common Core curriculum and consider the “negative impact” the high-stakes testing has on students and staff.

The letter, drafted by school board President Barbara B. Beekman was approved by the school board this week and will be sent to Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch, other members of the Board of Regents and State Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King Jr.

“In all the chaos that has surrounded the issues of excessive testing and Common Core implementation, many have paid lip service to doing it for the students, “the letter states. “Let us constantly remind ourselves that children are coming to school everyday to learn and grow. They deserve the best efforts we can muster to be educated in the best way we know how. Educated, not tested.”

Mrs. Beekman said the board was asked by the Canton Central Teachers Association to adopt a resolution stating the districts concerns about Commom Core.

Instead, the board decided it would be more effective to send a letter to state officials who are in a position to revise the state’s policy for enacting Common Core, a national movement to upgrade academic standards. Mrs. Beekman drafted the board’s letter.

“You want to go to the people who have the power to make a substantive difference,” Mrs. Beekman said. “The board gave it some thought and we had some discussion.”

The Common Core has been criticized because it has forced New York’s public school districts to test students on material before it’s been taught.

The letter urges state officials:

■ Do not test material where modules have not been released.

■ Consider the negative impact high stakes testing has on students and staff and how that will affect results. Please think hard about the impact on the youngest students.

■ Districts can only use test data to spur improvement if those results are given in a timely and comprehensive manner.

■ Do not allow the legislature to make demands on schools without adequate funding. Race to the Top has been a losing proposition financially for the Canton Central District.

School superintendents from the Western Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services also sent Mr. King a letter addressing similar concerns. Issues of concern have also been voiced to the Board of Regents by Kevin S. Casey, executive director of the State School Boards Association of New York State.

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