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Teachers, parents rally at home of NYS Regent

Ashley Hirtzel

The Buffalo Teachers Federation Teachers led a picket outside Regent’s Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett’s home in Tonawanda Monday afternoon.

More than a dozen teachers and a few parents rallied around high-stakes standardized testing associated with Common Core.

The group was calling on Regent Bennett to advocate for a moratorium of Common Core until it’s perfected. Teacher Kara Capozzi says she believes in testing, but she does not believe in over testing students.

“They sit during the common assessment test for several hours, they sit through new curriculum for several hours, and then they sit through state tests for several hours. So, when you’re testing for that long it takes away from time that we should be teaching, so it’s actually doing our students a disservice,” said Capozzi.

City Honors teacher and parent Melisa Holden says her 4th grader was so anxious about state exams that she didn’t want to go to school anymore. Holden says that’s when she decided she didn’t want her daughter taking the tests at all.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News
Protester rallies around data taken from students exam scores.

“We are really very upset with the way things are going in terms of public schools in New York State and I feel that the regents have a lot to do with this. I’d rather have her sitting quietly and reading a book rather than taking those tests, because they don’t really mean anything,” said Holden.

BTF president Phil Rumore says he believes Bennett means well, but Common Core is destroying student’s joy of learning and teacher’s joy of teaching.

“It’s important for us to be here, because Regent Bennett is one of the members of the Board of Regents that is setting these policies that are ruining our kids. They’re over testing our kids and that’s the bottom line. Let’s get it right first, let’s train the teachers and teach the students before we implement this,” said Rumore.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News
Parent and City Honors Teacher Melisa Holden rallying against Common Core along with her husband and daughter (Behind her).

Regent’s Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett wasn’t home during the protest, but said the rally doesn’t change his position on the Common Core learning standards. He maintains that New York State testing has not changed in 10 years.