Skip to main content

New York educators have mixed feelings about the CCSS

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2013 10:48 AM

New York numbers among the states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Just as in several other states, teachers in New York are approaching the CCSS with a combination of excitement and concern, according to The Hechinger Report.

Mixed emotions
Many of the teachers who work in New York schools understand how important the Standards are to education in the Empire State. For example, John King, New York's education commissioner, told the news source that the CCSS are "key" and will bridge the gap between where students are and where educators would like them to be.

At the same time, there are those who believe the transition to the Common Core is a lot to take, especially while school is still in session.

"The general apprehension is palpable," Don O'Shea, a middle school English teacher at the St. Joseph School in Kingston, N.Y., told the news outlet. "I think we're getting a lot thrown at us and we're expected to rise to the challenge, which we will, but there's a sense of there's a lot going on and how do we digest that and how do we translate that for our students."

New ways to learn
Common Core-aligned materials that are slowly being introduced to classrooms throughout the state highlight the benefits and challenges of the CCSS. For instance, an Algebra I quiz that many New York high school students are taking this month reflects what pupils should be learning, according to the Standards.

On the quiz, students are asked how much water is used in the world's tallest skyscraper in 24 hours. As no exact measurements are given, high schoolers need to estimate numbers to solve this question. Essentially, there is no correct answer, the news source reported. 

This particular question serves as an example of how students will be required to think critically and go deeper than they did before the creation of the CCSS. At the same time, it shows how jarring the transition to Common Core-aligned questions can be for some pupils.

Trouble adapting
Ultimately, it is essential for New York educators to prepare for the CCSS to the best of their ability, as many students in the state are off to a rocky start. This past August, the New York City Department of Education released the results from new and rigorous state tests.

Overall, 29.6 percent of test takers were deemed proficient in mathematics, while 26.5 percent of students were proficient in English. As these assessments were aligned with the Common Core, it is clear there is much work left to be done.