Top School Stories of 2013

A roundup of some of the top education stories in the region.

State Ed Commish Slammed in Common Core Forum

A crowd of 1,200 people filled the auditorium of Ward Melville High School for a two-hour long event that harshly criticized the Common Core curriculum, its implementation and high stakes testing. Commissioner John King, in three, five-minute answer sessions attempted to address the concerns of the sometimes unruly crowd.

Tilles: State Ed Standards Will Take Time

Regent Roger Tilles thinks theCommon Core standards make sense but have negatively impacted what should never have been linked to teacher evaluations and test scores.  Addressing about 150 people at the Port Washington Public Library in October, Tilles, a Great Neck resident who represents Long Island on the state Board of Regents, said he supported the Common Core academic standards. He said the Common Core “makes kids think” and is “pretty well-received by teachers.”

STEM Program Takes Off in Huntington

Huntington and South Huntington school districts took major steps to strengthen their STEM programs. South Huntington celebrated its designation by the Long Island STEM Hub as the first middle school STEM career academy. A robot, business leaders, educators, scientists and hundreds of students, along with Teq's Nao robot, participated in the May celebration.  In September, Huntington reopened a closed school building, rechristening it the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School, with primary students, selected by lottery, taking classes infused with lessons in science, technology, math and engineering. 

Common Core Forum at Mineola High School

New York State Education Commissioner John King hosted an educational forum at Mineola High School in the school's auditorium. 

Bionic Man Takes a Bow at Harbor Hills

Rex the Bionic Man and his creator came to Half Hollow Hills East on Wednesday for a demonstration of his mechanical skills and the potential for robots to change the world. Inventor Rich Walker and social psychologist Dr. Bertolt Meyer brought Rex and a deep enthusiasm for robotics to the school through a program sponsored by Cablevision's Power to Learn program and the Smithsonian Channel. Several robotics students from the district's high schools, State Sen. Carl Marcellino and many others attended the program.

Parents Petition State to Stop Sharing Student Data on inBloom
Citing concerns over confidential student data, two Port Washington mothers with children in the public school system have created a MoveOn.org petition entitled “Protect New York State School Children.” The petition aims to “Stop the New York State Education Department (NYSED) from sharing confidential information without parental consent and violating the privacy rights of students and parents.”

Johnson: Common Core 'Insanity' Must Stop

The superintendent of Rockville Centre schools warned that “we can’t lose a generation of kids” by allowing the “insanity” of New York’s implementation of Common Core to continue. Dr. William Johnson, long an opponent of the new standardized tests and state implementation of the federal standards, said, “It’s embarrassing for me to tell our state education officials that they don’t know what they’re doing.”

NYS Education Commish 'Suspends' Common Core Forum
After emotions run high at debut Town Hall in Poughkeepsie John King calls off remaining meetings, including on Long Island.

Parents: Common Core is 'Hijacking Our Kids'

Smithtown school district parents tore apart the controversial Common Core curriculum and state assessments, blaming it for creating students fear and avoid schoolwork. 

Commack Schools Schedule Common Core Workshops

The Commack School District has scheduled several workshops to introduce the new Common Core Standards to parents. Common Core Standards aim for children to read more non-fiction, develop a bigger vocabulary through English language lessons, and in math, work more deeply in fewer topics and spend time practicing and memorizing math facts.

Interim Syosset School Superintendent Named

A former Great Neck educator has been named interim superintendent of the Syosset school system. Dr. Ronald L. Friedman, a resident of Huntington, will serve in the position until June 30, 2014. He takes over for the retiring superintendent, Dr. Carole Hankin, whose salary of more than $400,000 brought both criticism and support.


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