Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
I do not know many of you, but I have been blessed to meet a few through the shared intrests of our children and ourselves. I am about to celebrate only a year in our first home here and I am thrilled with how welcoming this community has been. It is living up to everything I expected and was told by family members who grew up or still live here.
This truly is a family community, with children everywhere it has been a wonderful experience for my kids. I grew up in Long Island, so I knew what to expect. My kids spent their early lives in Queens, and as some of you personally know—there’s plenty of reasons why we left.
One of the biggest deciding factors for moving to Levittown was the school district. I had heard great things from family members and did some research myself. As a product of a Long Island public school education, I expected nothing but the best.
Unfortunately there are things that go beyond our school district. Some of you may be aware of the controversy surrounding education in the state, the Common Core, and all it entails. Some maybe not so much. But those who have have seen the difference in the type of work your children bring home or their grades. But some may not have seen any affect at all.
What is going on in our schools is all of our business. Whether a parent or a taxpayer; a teacher or a principal, we all have a stake in education. Whether you have a honor student, a special education student, or somewhere in between—we all have a stake.
I implore you, if you haven’t already, look into what is going on. Look at the websites that provide info—yes, from both sides of the controversy. Ask questions of your teachers and principals. Because although there are two sides to this there is only one side you should care about... your child’s. Because what is best for them is what we all want!
I openly stand against all things Common Core. But there are aspects of this education debacle that should concern us all and I welcome any discussion because the end result is involvement, and I think greater involvement at any level is key to being a part of helping create the educational experience our children need and deserve.
So please, look for answers as to why 400 data points of your child’s personal information will be shared in a cloud and available to third parties. Think about the beloved teacher whose career could hinge on the results of one test. Decide why six days filled with 70 minutes of testing that does not hold a grade and whose details are not shared with the teacher, are worth the stress & pressure to children as young as eight. Research whether or not the curriculum is appropriate. Or is it just the botched implementation? Wonder why your elementary children barely get any science or social studies, let alone meet state requirements for PhysEd or the arts. Think on what it does to special education students who are taking the brunt of developmentally inappropriate curriculum, or to the honors student with a 95 average all year who winds up with AIS services because of the score on one misbegotten test. Then ponder why most Long Island districts have been successfully turning out high percents of graduates who go on to college successfully, yet we’ve had to pay for the privilege of an entirely new and unproven curriculum. Or why as a result, like everywhere else in New York, test scores plunged last year and 70 percent failed. Realize this is what we’ve paid the high taxes for. Ask why so many of our legislators and others across the state and country are pushing bills to delay components of Common Core or scrap it entirely.
Please, don’t take my word for it. It is my opinion after all, but an opinion shared by tens of thousands across the state. Look into it so you can make your own opinion based on knowledge. Come to the Board of Ed meetings. As parents, teachers, principals, and taxpayers, it’s your right and duty to help shape the direction of our educational system. Don’t assume it will continue to be great because it always has, because there are things going on above the jurisdiction of our school district that are currently, and will continue, to enforce change that may not be needed or relevant to our community. And until we make our voices heard at the local level, we can’t expect those who we voted in to leadership positions to make their voices heard at the next level.