Children Voice Concerns About Common Core At Forum

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Students attend a forum about the Common Core held at Cooper Beech Middle School on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Eighth- and ninth-graders voice their concern about the Common Core. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Sixth-graders said the Common Core has made school less fun. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- There might be one group that dislikes the Common Core more than politicians, parents and teachers: children.

Kids aired their grievances about the Common Core at a forum hosted by State Sen. Greg Ball at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School on Tuesday night.

Students said that teachers can no longer be creative, they are teaching to a test and that the material is taught too fast, leaving little time for students who might be falling behind.

"Everything we learn is just preparing you for the regents," Jenna Pressman, an eighth-grader, said. "Teachers feel they can't take their time, they have to prepare for the test."

Stephanie Hurwitz, a ninth-grader, said she has up to three hours of homework a night and is frequently being tested. 

"It has gotten really sped up," Hurwitz said.

Ryan Moore, a ninth-grader, said he has trouble balancing drama club with the demands of the school

"It's hard to learn in such a quick time," Moore said. "I'm struggling."

While it's normal for high schoolers to feel pressure, the third-graders at the roundtable said they were nervous about their upcoming math and English assessment tests. Parents complained about having to hire tutors and being unable to understand a lot of material.

Sixth-graders at the forum said their teachers have turned into robots, fearful of having their students fall behind.

"It's so overwhelming," Emma Anderson said. 

Anderson and her friend Nicole Guadagno complained that those in Albany who set these standards don't know what works best for kids and teachers in Yorktown.

"They just have us learning from these textbooks," Guadagno. "They have taken the creativity out of it."

Kaitlyn McCardell complained they don't learn anything that will help them in the real world situations. Alex Mendel said students don't understand what they are learning.

"We just learn it so we can do well on a test," Mendel said. "We just learn what the state wants us to learn."

The kids didn't blame their teachers who they say are doing what they are told.

"School used to be more fun," Anderson said. "Now we're stressed and overworked."

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