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Kings Park Board of Ed Looks to Take Stand on High-Stakes Testing

Trustee Diane Nally calls for the board to draft resolution to support community's concerns.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Kings Park Board of Education is willing to consider joining a growing number of school districts in making a public statement against "high-stakes testing" and other educational mandates under the state's new Common Core curriculum. 

Trustee Diane Nally asked the board of education to draft a resolution that would express the district's concerns and stance against high-stakes testing at Tuesday night's meeting. 

"Even though we might not be able to change a lot of what’s happening, I think we need to state publicly our feelings about these issues," Nally said. 

She said the new testing make students' performance on new tests make up a large part of teacher's APPR evaluations" putting stress on the students." While not against teacher evaluations, she questioned - like many parents - if the new state testing is the right way to do it.   

Nallly brought copies of resolutions from several neighboring school districts who have already sent resolutions to New York State Educational Department, including Smithtown Central School District. 

Tom Locascio, vice president of Kings Park Board of Education, said he would be in favor of taking a look at those resolutions and drafting something expressing Kings Park school officials and community's concerns. 

"It’s a matter of striking balance in whatever language that sends the proper message to the community and our kids," Locascio said. 

Superintendent Susan Agruso suggested the board should carefully read the Nov. 5 letter written by Western Suffolk BOCES, representing 18 Suffolk school districts, to the state Educational Commissioner John King Jr. 

Western Suffolk BOCES letter makes several suggestions to the state to slow down the implementation of Common Core to make sure it can be implemented effectively. Some of these suggestions include "modification of grade-level assessments to include a more reasonable expectation of Common Core material" and "Reducing 'over testing' and eliminate the duplication of testing.' 

Agruso said New York State Educational Department has announced there will be some changes made to shorten the spring mathematics and ELA testing. 

However, Nally and Kings Park parent Debbie Danly have expressed concerns about the impact the high-stakes testing are having on children betweens the number of assessments and practice tests. 

"We are trying to send a clear message to our teacher that we don't want to see a lot of test prep," Agruso said. "We should not be seeing test prep where every single day they're practicing test questions just for the sake of doing test questions."

The superintendent encouraged parents who are seeing constant test-prep materials should contact their children's school principal. 

Kings Park Board of Education agreed to further discuss the matter, read over the resolutions and bring it up at a future meeting date. 

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