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King defends Common Core learning standards

Photo by Eileen Koteras

State Education Commissioner John King staunchly backed Common Core learning standards during a live forum in Buffalo Thursday that aired live on WNED-TV and WBFO Radio.  He said he is aware of the strong criticism from many educators and parents across New York.

Credit Photo by Eileen Koteras / WBFO News
Protesters against Common Core protest in snow and cold outside WNED/WBFO.

The snowy weather conditions held audience numbers down at first, but the room filled in as the evening went on. The event allowed audience members to submit questions regarding the Common Core standards, teacher evaluations, and other reform initiatives. King was not allowed to see questions prior to the forum.

A Buffalo educator asked why the roll-out of Common Core was happening so quickly.  But King responded he believes implementation process is not happening quick enough.

"The Regents adopted the standards in 2010.  The class that entered high school this year will take Common Core Regents exams in 2017.  That's a seven year phase-in," said King. 

King said Common Core is all about learning standards and not more tests. 

King says he worries that each year the roll-out is delayed, students will graduate without the skills that they need.

Outside the WNED studios, about three dozen opponents of Common Core held a protest in the snow and cold. 

"Do we want to test English language (skills) of those who don't even know how to speak English?" asked State Assemblyman Sean Ryan.  "What good is caused by telling people who can't speak English that they're a failure?"