Hundreds of frustrated parents, teachers and administrators gathered at a community forum on Long Island Tuesday to complain about the new controversial curriculum called Common Core.
Parents, teachers and administrators packed the auditorium at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket Tuesday to vent, saying the state's effort to raise standards has been dropped on their children too abruptly. They also criticized the increased student testing and teacher evaluations associated with Common Core.
Lana Ajemian, the head of New York's Parent-Teacher Association, said, "It's like the train's pulling out of the station without everybody on board."
Ajemian says her 300,000 members are launching a campaign demanding less testing and a slower pace of change for teachers and students like fourth-grader Franklin Noonan.
"We're learning harder problems," the 9-year-old Noonan told NBC 4 New York. "It makes me a little stressed 'cause I really want to get those right."
Other children have struggled even more. Parent Ali Gordon said her 10-year-old daughter asked her what it would take to be able stay home from school forever.
"Not tomorrow, not next week. Forever. She said, 'I'm too stupid to do this math,'" said Gordon.
State Sen. John Flanagan of Suffolk, who heads the Senate's Education Committee, says he expects changes to Common Core, calling it "well-intentioned but very poorly executed."
State Education Commissioner John King said at the forum he is listening to the concerns and confirmed he has been tweaking the curriculum but insists that overall it has been working.
"Common Core aspires to more hands-on learning, more opportunities for students to write," he said.
Another forum on Long Island is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at Mineola High School.