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Common Core concerns continue to dominate education forums

Concern over the state's implementation of Common Core curriculum standards continues to dominate public forums on Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.'s listening tour.

The Daily Voice of Yonkers and the Journal News of Westchester County report that hundreds of people attended the second event Monday night at Port Chester Middle School. Of the roughly 70 people who spoke during the three-hour event, most were critical, according to the Journal News account.

The Daily Voice reported that among the speakers were school board members and superintendents concerned about the impact on their districts.

King, who has been criticized for the amount of and emphasis on standardized tests in schools, as well as the rollout of the new Common Core standards, last week told superintendents that the Education Department will take several steps to streamline testing

Meanwhile, Buffalo School Board Member James Sampson weighed in on Common Core today on The News' Opinion Page. Sampson applauded King and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for "standing strong" as schools implement the new curriculum standards and blamed leaders of New York State United Teachers for "trying to derail that progress in an effort to stop the governor’s new evaluation system."

The state Education Department announced a series of 16 forums to discuss Common Core across the state after controversy erupted when King cancelled his appearances at several community meetings planned by the New York State PTA. The cancellation came after King was subjected to anger and shouting during a question-and-answer period at the first forum in Poughkeepsie. 

The format of the new forums has been changed to allow more time for public speakers.

Details of a forum slated to be held in Amherst have not yet been released by the Department of Education. 

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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