The New York State Education Commissioner spoke about his decision to cancel the remaining Common Core Curriculum meetings during a visit to Troy. YNN's Megan Cruz reports.
TROY, N.Y. -- The first of five meetings to discuss the new Common Core Curriculum was enough to force New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King to cancel the remaining meetings. The decision came after serious disruption at last week's meeting in Poughkeepsie.
"It was very difficult to have a real, genuine dialogue. There was a lot of yelling and heckling," said Dr. King. "I'm always happy to engage with folks, I'm not willing to allow parents to be yelled at, screamed at."
Dr. King addressed the situation while he visited School 2 in Troy on Tuesday.
Seth Cohen is the president of the New York State PTA, and a parent. He hopes the commissioner will reschedule the meetings.
"Be open to it," said Cohen. "But also figure out how you can help. Talk to your teachers, talk to the school. Just heckling somebody doesn't get us anywhere."
The New York State PTA and Dr. King are both working to create availability for future discussions.
"To revamp the format of those meetings and then to continue with them," said Richard Longhurst, the executive administrator for the state PTA. "Without that, the parents weren't given an opportunity for two way dialogue."
Dr. King wouldn't name them, but he blamed special interest groups for the fiasco at last week's meeting.
"Email blasts encouraging their membership to dominate the microphone and take over the meeting," noted Dr. King.
Organizers understand people's apprehension to the new system. The curriculum's biggest criticism is its focus on testing rather than teaching.
"It's hard to raise expectations, it's a challenge for teachers to adjust," said King.
Longhurst said, "We need to recognize that reform is going to be necessary if our kids are going to be able to compete effectively in a 21st century economy. So where's the balance?"
Before the new curriculum, kindergarten students were required to learn to count to 20. Now, they are required to count to 100.
Although the Common Core Curriculum is new to New York, there are 44 other states that currently follow it. For more specifics about the standards for each grade, head to www.p12.nysed.gov.