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Education expert critical of Common Core & Regents Chancellor

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A national leader in the 'opt out' movement appeared at an education forum last night at the Niagara Falls High School.  Carol Burris is an award winning retired principal from a Long Island School who now serves as the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education Foundation. Burris appeared in our studio's to discuss her mission with WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley as she speaks out against Common Core and standardized testing.    

Burris appeared in the Buffalo region at the "Public Education Now: ‘Reform,’ Resistance, & Solutions in New York State.”

During a WBFO interview Burris described leaving her role as a school principal when the Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed for student performance to be 50-percent of a teacher's evaluation. 

Credit WBFO News file photo
Outside Lafayette High School in Buffalo.

"That was a real tipping point for me. It was a painful decision, but the right decision," stated Burris.   Burris said she believes the whole idea of evaluating teachers by test scores is 'absurd'. "I think returning the authority to principals, in terms of evaluations, is helpful," said Burris.

WBFO News asked Burris about her thoughts on leadership at the New York State Department of Education and New York State Board of Regents.  "In terms of leadership, I think, it's time for Merryl Tisch to go," explained Burris. 

Tisch serves as Regents Chancellor.

Credit WBFO News file photo
NYS Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch appeared at a Niagara Falls charter school last school year.

"We have not seen the kind of improvements that we need and we need to have someone to lead the Regents who has a new vision," said Burris. "I hope when her term is up, and it will be up soon, that she will not be re-approved by the legislature."

Burris said with the 'opt out' movement across the state, the state Legislature and NYSED needs to listen. There needs to be some kind of a moratorium put on all of that," noted Burris. 

Credit WBFO News file photo
Teaching the Common Core in a Niagara Falls charter school.

Burris also speaks out against Governor Cuomo's newly named Common Core Task Force.  "Most of them are public supporters of Common Core. That's not what parents want," said Burris. 

Burris is highly critical of the decision to have former New York State Education John King serve as acting U.S. Education Secretary. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced he would resign and leave later this year.

King was at the center of controversy when the state, under his leadership, launched the Common Core Learning Standards.  

Credit WBFO News file photo
John King, former NYSED Commissioner, visiting area school children last school year.

Burris said she was 'disappointed' he was named to serve as acting Education Secretary, but was 'not surprised.' 

"He's not connected with the average classroom teacher and with parents. He is certainly full square in support of Common Core, teacher evaluations test scores," said Burris.