Education commish schedules Common Core meeting in Riverhead


Updated (Nov. 1): The state education department has changed the date of its first meeting to Nov. 12. The revision has been added to our original story below.

The office of New York State education commissioner John King announced on Wednesday that it will be holding a forum in Riverhead – one of two meetings being held in Suffolk County – to discuss the Common Core State Standards Initiative and state testing.

Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney said the district’s high school auditorium is still undergoing renovations, but the space will be ready Tuesday, Nov. 5.

“We’re happy to host here,” she said. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 26, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Mr. King’s announcement came a few weeks after he was criticized for canceling some previously scheduled meetings, including the only event that had been scheduled for Long Island.

He said the public meetings were being “co-opted by special interests whose stated goal was to ‘dominate’ the questions and manipulate the forum.”

The commissioner has scheduled several public meetings with the state’s Board of Regents across New York.

State Department of Education officials said there will be four forums on Long Island. The date of the first Suffolk meeting will be held on Nov. 12 at Ward Melville High School in E. Setauket, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The events will be moderated by state legislators and held in school auditoriums, state officials said. The meetings will be open to the public, however attendance will be limited to a first-come, first-serve basis.

Ms. Carney said although she disagrees with the state’s “fast and furious” approach to its new direction in education, she’s pleased Mr. King has discussed easing student testing requirements, especially with English as a Second Language students and students with disabilities.

“If you’re testing ESL students with the same test and they’ve only been in the country for a year, it’s not really assessing their ability,” she said. “We all embrace that education is changing and we have to change as well. We just want to be sure the change is good change and make sure we do things thoughtfully and carefully in a way that is meaningful and beneficial to our students.”

In an Oct. 24 letter addressed to New York schools, Mr. King said he believes the state’s new direction is the best way to ensure students are college and career ready upon graduating from high school.

“We all know learning rigorous content and taking rigorous assessments can be challenging for students,” he said. “The best way to prevent those challenges from turning into stress for our students is for the adults in their lives to be supportive and affirming.”

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