By Jeffrey R. Rabey
Recently, at a meeting of the Depew Union Free School District’s Board of Education, it was stated that the Board of Education and school community support raised standards and higher expectations for our children. In fact, the district supports the New York State Board of Regents reform initiatives to promote student readiness and success for college and career.
Furthermore, it was explicitly stated that these initiatives have placed many challenges on our district and school districts across the state in regard to budget shortfalls, inadequate teacher and staffing levels, professional development, strict timelines for implementation and lack of public awareness.
As such, these demands have diverted district resources and now a priority must be placed on adapting the Common Core learning standards to focus on instruction and student learning to ensure our students have the relevant skills and knowledge for success.
To achieve that goal, New York’s seven leading statewide educational organizations have come together through the New York State Educational Conference Board to issue a position paper, titled “Common Ground on Common Core,” that outlines a plan to give students the support and resources they need to succeed under the Common Core standards.
Specifically, the paper includes five critical points to get the Common Core back on track through the unified and consolidated efforts of these diverse educational groups all focusing on:
• Instituting a statewide campaign to build understanding and support for the importance of the Common Core.
• Investing responsibly in professional development to implement the Common Core.
• Ensuring adequate state and federal funding to give all teachers the tools and resources they need.
• Reassessing the state’s approach to student testing and addressing the most pressing concerns that parents and educators have expressed, which are that they are conducted too often and that they are too lengthy.
• Establishing an ongoing process for engaging key stakeholders in reviewing and refining implementation of the Common Core.
The Depew Union Free School District calls upon the commissioner of education, the Board of Regents, the governor, Assembly, Senate and other policy-makers to adhere to these actions to properly implement the Common Core so that improved student learning can become a reality in every classroom. The Board of Education and superintendent have signed a letter of concern and sent it to Albany. I encourage the Western New York community to do the same. Go to www.Depewschools.org, download the letter, sign it and send it your representatives. Our voice is only as strong as our numbers.
Jeffrey R. Rabey is superintendent of the Depew Union Free School District.