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Trustee: 'The Business of Education Should Be Left to Our Educators'

Residents packed the Levittown school board meeting Wednesday with signs reading "Resolution Please - Put Our Children First."
Residents packed the Levittown school board meeting Wednesday with signs reading "Resolution Please - Put Our Children First."
Joining a growing regional chorus against new Common Core curriculum mandates in the state, Levittown Superintendent James Grossane on Wednesday night called on his school board to adopt a resolution at the next meeting that calls on the state to re-evaluate Common Core assessments.

Grossane said that the board has looked at resolutions that they have been given as well as resolutions from other school districts equally upset over the mandates.

"What’s unique about those resolutions is that each board has their own flavor and their own causes," he said. "So I’ve asked you to review the ones I’ve given you and we will make recommendations to you to the central office ... and our request to the state education department to re-evaluate the current system."

Critics of the NYS Common Core and "high-stakes" standardized testing have a number of concerns, including the difficulty of the work and the negative effect that they say the testing is having on children.

“Levittown, the nation’s first, most famous suburb, has always been at the forefront of leadership in the nation," trustee Michael Pappas said. "When we speak, people listen, and that voice as one speaks loudly."

He added, "I think it’s time that we lock arms and send a message to those elected officials that Levittown believes the business of education should be left to our educators."

Neighboring North Bellmore has already adopted a resolution on high-stakes testing and the Annual Professional Performance Review.

In their resolution, the school board calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner John King to "develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools."

On Monday, a packed crowd filled Levittown Hall as parents and educators blasted the Common Core, saying that the testing is "hurting the children." That forum was created by Levittown resident Marianne Adrian, who spoke on the subject at a New York Senate hearing.

"The resolution needs to be a substantial statement," Parent Jane Finkelstein said after the meeting. "Not just to pacify us that have been up here asking for it. It needs to speak volumes for the sake of what’s going on in education.”

IEP Diplomas Will No Longer Be Offered

The individualized education diplomas (IEP) are no longer being offered by the state, said Debbie Rifkin, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.

Rifkin said the state has presented the school with three different options of diplomas.

The first is a local diploma compensatory option. Students still need the same number of credits that they would need for a regents diploma, but would need to score 55 on Math and ELA regents and would need between a 45 and a 54 on one or more other required regents, Rifkin said. In addition, they would need to have a satisfactory attendance record.

Another option is a career development and occupational studies commencement credential. This would be awarded to students that show evidence of a career plan. They also have to show they’ve learned career development standards, and they have to have completed at least two units of student in career and technical education, Rifkin said.

The third option is called the skills and achievement commencement credential. This is specifically for students with very severe disabilities who currently take the NYS alternate assessments, Rifkin said.

"They have to be given opportunities to participate in community experiences, where we have to monitor them in the workplace and community to make sure they are having those experiences and we would have to give a summary of their academic achievements, in order for the state to grant them that credential," Rifkin said.

“Just so we understand…this comes to us from the State Education Department,” Grossane said.

The board is considering putting a resolution on the diplomas in a future planning session.

The next board of education meeting will be held on Nov. 13.

Kara Gallagher October 24, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Thank God they are paying attention!! And thank you Mr. Patchman for covering this!!

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