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Education

Bennett teacher creates anti-Common Core rap

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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A Bennett High School teacher, disgusted with the state's forced implementation of the Common Core, has created a music video.  WBFO'S Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says it's titled 'We're Teaching' and is an anti-Common Core rap that's gone viral.

Frustrated with current state of the education system, Bennett High math teacher Jeff Grossi is the featured rapper in this video that delivers a controversial anti-Common Core video.  http://youtu.be/FqYQNvP7OTI
                    

"I created this video to really inform educators, teachers, parents, students and basically all members of our community education needs to change and we need to really modify the Common Core Learning Standards and the way we are testing students in this city, in this state and in this country," said Grossi    

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Credit Photo from Jeff Grossi's webpage.
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Jeff Grossi, Bennett High School teacher, calls himself MC Zill in his rap work.

Grossi has been teaching the last 12-years at Bennett.  He points to the difficulty  of Common Core math for his  students.  He said educators need to be more aware of what Common Core is supposed to do, but teachers were not taken into consideration when it was implemented. Bennett High School is among four failing city schools that is in jeopardy of shutting down.

"I'm frustrated with being labeled, and my students be labeled as quote, unquote 'low performing'. I hate that phrase," stated Jeff Grossi, Bennett High School math teacher.

"I'm frustrated with being labeled, and my students be labeled as quote, unquote 'low performing'. I hate that phrase," stated Grossi.
 
Bennett has continued to suffered declines in its graduation rate.  State Education numbers show that  in 2014 it was only at 37-percent.  95-percent of the more than 700- students are minority. Many students also come from impoverished families.  82-percent of Bennett students eligible take a free lunch.

"Nobody knows the struggles and hardships that my students deal with and when they come to school, they try their hardest," said Bennett High School teacher Jeff Grossi.

"Oh poverty plays a major contributing factor to what's really going on. Many of my students come from single parent households, or live with a grandmother, aunt or uncle or even in foster homes," said Grossi. "Nobody knows the struggles and hardships that my students deal with and when they come to school, they try their hardest." 

But Grossi noted that students should not be given a pass for their difficult life situations when it comes to learning.  WBFO News asked him what's happening at Bennett with students, now considered a troubled school. 

"When I first started at Bennett it was under great leadership and we had great programs. We had magnet programs. Those programs have been diminished and taken away," said Grossi.  "You take away wonderful programs and what are you left with -- you're left with a bare bone curriculum for our students who need more."

Grossi telling WBFO in his 12-years at Bennett he has watched past school board members and superintendents 'chip away' at the vision of Bennett by eliminating those programs. 

"Where the vision of Bennett High School wasn't shared," said Grossi. 

Friday morning the Buffalo Board of Education could vote on the final proposals that would decide the fate of Bennett and three other failing city schools.

"They want to shut down public education and they want to privatize it," said Grossi.  "It's labeled now in society that public education is failing. Is it really failing, I don't think it is I think we are just led to believe 'oh my God' there's a crisis with public education."