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Common Core Debate Heading To State Capitol Complex Wednesday

HARTFORD — Legislators will get to hear feedback on the rollout of the Common Core Curriculum Wednesday during a public hearing at the State Capitol complex.

The noon event is the result of a move by Republican minority legislators to force the reluctant leaders of the Education Committee to hold a hearing on the bill that would put implementation of the state’s new academic standards on hold.

Two days before the hearing, 52 people have already submitted testimony, most of whom oppose the new standards adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.

“In my 33 years of teaching, I have never felt so unprepared to implement state requirements,” Manchester teacher Kevin Mack wrote legislators.

The state’s largest teachers union — the Connecticut Education Association — recently called the state’s roll out of the standards “botched” and “mishandled.” The CEA says a survey of its members shows teachers overwhelmingly want a moratorium on implementation of the standards.

Supporters meanwhile have scheduled a press conference before the Wednesday hearing.

“We believe that the Common Core will help ensure that all Connecticut students are prepared for college and careers, which, in turn, will help make sure Connecticut thrives,” reads a joint press release from the state organizations representing school boards, superintendents, principals and business leaders.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing confusion and misinformation about these standards that could prevent us from reaching these goals,” the organizations wrote.

House Republican Leader Larry Cafero Jr (R-Norwalk), took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the mid-day public hearing on the bill.

“Despite requests to have Common Core public hearings at a convenient time for teachers and parents, Dem[ocrats] set is for 12 noon,” he tweeted.

The state’s education commissioner has told legislators that districts are expected to move full speed ahead with implementing the new standards by next year, with the exception that he is seeking from the federal government a waiver that the results of the Common Core-aligned standardized tests not affect teacher evaluations next school year.

Members on the State Board of Education affirmed their support of the standards during a meeting last week.

“Our position is clear,” said board Chairman Allan B. Taylor.

Gov Dannel P. Malloy in January announced that he will be naming a committee to oversee the implementation of the Common Core and make recommendations for a smooth rollout. A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said Monday an announcement regarding the committee is expected Tuesday.

(This story originally appeared at CTMirror.org, the website of The Connecticut Mirror, an independent, nonprofit news organization covering government, politics, and public policy in the state.)

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