The Common Core learning curriculum has parents, teachers, students and administrators up in arms, again.
Protests took place statewide Monday in an effort to persuade Gov. Andrew Cuomo to address the ways in which the Common Core has affected all involved in education at his State of the State address on Wednesday.
However, he did not touch on the subject. Instead, he spoke of the future and said he wanted to make New York's "the best education system in the world."
State Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio, R,C,I-Gowanda, has called the Common Core "a neglect of state education responsibilities."
Parents, teachers and administrators say there are many flaws in the system.
Adopted in 2010, New York state schools planned to fully implement the standards this school year, but the underlying curriculum has not yet been fully developed and approved, leaving many schools struggling to meet the standards.
"Right now, my concern is that we have the cart before the horse. We're conducting extensive testing on standards that have not been taught because the curriculum has not been finalized," said Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R,C,I-Jamestown. "Those test results are very upsetting to the students, parents and teachers because they don't reflect what's been taught in the classroom."Alongside the challenging modules, controversy lies in the requirement of districts to provide detailed data on students to the U.S. Department of Education, which then shares it with private company InBloom.
"This data is very detailed and intrusive," Goodell said, adding that the Assembly has twice voted to make sure the information is only available with parental consent.
But, the legislation has yet to be adopted.
"I have written directly to the commissioner of education (John King) myself, and both Giglio and myself voted for the parents to have control over the collection and dissemination of that data," Goodell said.
In June 2013, a withdrawal bill was also drafted to halt implementation of the standards, but failed to pass.
Some teachers, parents and students claim the standards are too rigorous and cause anxiety to students.
"The Common Core learning standards are the most significant increase in student expectations that New York schools have ever faced," said Jamestown parent activist Joanne Dean. "It's not so wonderful that our students have to sit through so much testing during the school year. It appears the focus is being moved away from teaching our kids to be critical thinkers ... (but rather) bubble-test takers."
Commissioner King, who visited Jamestown in December, continues to defend the program.
"Frankly, I don't think there is an alternative to (the Common Core)," he said at a press conference prior to speaking with Chautauqua County residents at Jamestown High School in December.
Recently, he wrote a letter to state principals and superintendents.
"The Common Core didn't invent good teaching, nor does it relieve us of the hard work of implementation," it read. "However, the Common Core is the first set of learning standards back-mapped grade by grade from what students need to know and be able to do in college and the workforce."