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Common Council gets community feedback on Common Core

Mike Desmond / WBFO

The Buffalo Common Council Education Committee held a public hearing Thursday evening on Buffalo Public schools, including the Common Core learning standards that have been backed by the Buffalo school system. Community members who spoke at the hearing in Council chambers said parents have to understand the new rules better.

The Common Council is looking hard at city schools, and has been holding a series of hearings on different issues in the school system. Mayor Byron Brown has suggested a city takeover of the schools, but that issue did not surface at the meeting.

Will Keresztes spoke for the school system. He's an associate superintendent and just finished a short stint as acting superintendent. Keresztes said parents want teachers who are more than testing machines in the classroom.

"Sometimes, we're very data rich and information poor," said Keresztes said, "and it means that we're not really looking at everything that we want schools to be doing with regard to the whole education of our children."

"But, for us as a school system," he added, "we fully embrace the Common Core because we think it's essential that our curriculum be focused on clearly defined standards, that outcomes are measurable."

Retired city teacher Eva Doyle, an activist for African-American history in the classroom, says parents don't know what Common Core actually is. She thinks there needs to be a real education program for parents so they will understand those standards.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.