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Editorial: Tough Choices

Mention the term Common Core and not surprisingly, you’ll generally wind up with a visceral reaction. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the Garden City Board of Education opened a work session up to the public with Common Core being the topic discussed. Dr. Teresa Prendergast, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, wound up moderating and delivering a thoroughly comprehensive Common Core presentation with handouts and slide, during which time she dispelled myths and rumors about this highly controversial state-mandated program. One of the primary points she made was the fact that much of what Common Core is teaching has been getting covered by the district’s current curriculum. By all accounts, administrators and teachers are doing a yeoman’s job in trying to work with state mandates and making sure that Garden City’s students are comprehending the material and putting their best foot forward.

During the public comments section of the meeting, many alarmed parents voiced their concerns about the emotional effects these tests are having on their children. A few even wanted to know why the board of education didn’t merely opt out of Common Core. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that state aid is tied into the program and if districts choose to pull out, they risk losing this monetary infusion. Given that between 3 to 5 percent of the school budget comes from New York State, already high taxes would become obscenely onerous should this money disappear. By all means, residents should continue to write letters to the State Board of Education and local representatives voicing their objections to how Common Core is being implemented, but in the meantime, understand that this program is not going anywhere. And should the Garden City Public School District choose to opt out, the anxiety and stress resulting from the resulting tax hike will far outweigh any student anxiety.­

 — Dave Gil de Rubio