State Assemb. Al Graf, R,C-Holbrook, has long been a supporter of education reform in New York – especially as opposition to the Common Core curriculum grows.
On Saturday, Graf stood with Comsewogue school superintendent Dr. Joseph Rella at a rally dubbed "Students, Not Scores" in Port Jefferson Station, as more than a thousand people in attendance chanted: "Stop it, fix it, or scrap it!"
State officials have said the Common Core curriculum, a national standard for education adopted by more than 40 states, is designed to boost and measure college and career readiness. In an Aug. 7 statement, Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said: "Our former standards did not prepare all of our students for 21st century college and careers."
However, Rella said the state rushed into implementing the Common Core curriculum and the new, more rigorous state tests without giving enough time for the teachers and students to adjust.
"Any test designed to have 70 percent of the children taking it fail is abusive," Rella saidSaturday.
Sachem parent Sara Wottowa attended the rally, calling Common Core "a product" and saying it has hijacked teaching and learning.
"Our teachers know how to teach," she said. "They don't need another set of standards. We don't need 'Race to the Top.' We need to rise to the top.'"
Graf joined other local and state leaders including Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association president Beth Dimino, state teachers' union president Dick Ianuzzi, former county legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher, and State Assemb. Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, as Rella called for the state to reform or drop the Common Core curriculum and tests.
"Only together do we have a shot at this," Rella said.
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