“There is always room for improvement in raising standards,” Thomson said. “Nobody wants to go back.”
But there hasn’t been proper funding for the Common Core rollout, he said, adding that it wouldn’t require additional revenue, only a relief from unfunded mandates.
One person concerned about the panel was Franklin High School English teacher Andria Finch, who said she was concerned it could lead a halt to the new standards. From what she has seen in other states, she said, this has led to some teachers using one system while others use the other.
“It is confusing for the kids,” she said. Students need the more-rigorous, skill-based standards that make up the Common Core, she said. The focus on critical analysis and communication skills, she said, is something that is important in pursuing college or career.
A big part of the problem with the curriculum has been the failure in some districts to communicate with parents, she said. That has not been the case at Franklin, she said. She has been in the field for 14 years. While good skills are still essential, she said, the Common Core has changed her way of teaching and made students better able to do higher level work.
Unatego fifth grade teacher Maureen Pawlikowski said “I think it’s great that Cuomo is acknowledging the problems with the Common Core.” She said those problems include the poor quality of the modules, a shift from quality literature to informational material in reading, and inappropriateness of material for the grade level.
Pawlikowski said she would like to see it repealed and the return of “award-winning literature.”
Teachers should be able to use their professional judgement in meeting the needs of the students in the classroom, with materials that are appropriate, she said. If that is not possible, she said, the process should be slowed down and the number of high-stakes tests reduced.