Parents spoke for over two hours at a board meeting on Oct. 30 asking the Miller Place Board of Education to consider changing the implementation of the common core curriculum.
Although parents seem on board with the common core standards, many complained that the modules, also known as lesson plans, that are being used to teach students are too confusing, that parents can’t even understand them.
As part of the implementation of Common Core, the New York State Education Department provided curriculum modules for both ELA and math that can be adopted or adapted locally in a district. Miller Place has chosen to adapt the modules and use them as a new teaching method for students. However, parents say this new way of teaching is not working, specifically for the math classes.
Janine Scheuermann, Miller Place resident and special education teacher in Half-Hollow Hills, said her second grade twin daughters, who have always excelled, are now tanking due to the modules.
“It takes us a really long time to sit with our second graders and do math. They are struggling…this is a kid who loved school and I am upset because this is a kid who wanted to be a special education teacher and now no more,” said Scheuermann.
“My daughter got a 6 out of 17 on an exam. I wrote the teacher a note and I didn’t get a response. Then I went into my daughter’s backpack, she hid it, saying she would do better. This is very sad. I am asking if there could be a change.”
Sound Beach resident, Michelle Grant, agreed saying the district needs to throw out the modules. “I am unable to help my daughter do her math homework. I came here tonight because of the increasing frustration with not being able to help her with her homework and the energy and effort that has gone into that,” said Grant.
“I don’t understand any of the modules…I don’t know what to ask of the board except to speak out as a parent and a community member to ask for something.”
Also voicing his opinion was Sound Beach resident, Neal Hymowitz, who said the new teaching method is killing the children. “Tonight my daughter had to do [homework] where she had to figure out the ratio between ounces of coke and the amount of sugar in it. She figured it out in two seconds because she knows from us showing her the real way to do math,” said Hymowitz.
“Then she had to draw this double number line thing and extrapolate it out on the side of the page and zoom in on a subset, to show her work the proper way…this doesn’t make sense we need to make a change now and not wait until next year.”
Superintendent Marianne Higuera addressed the communities concerns. “I have taken notes, I think all of us up here have. We understand your frustration and we share some of that. We are working on this and figuring this out as you are. I too have an MBA and did not know what number bonds were before September,” said Higuera. “We don’t expect to have all of the answers here tonight…but we will be discussing the comments we heard.”
Board president Michael Unger thanked the community for their comments and said the board has a lot to digest. “Tonight we wanted to sit back and listen to what the community had to say,” said Unger. “There were a lot of great suggestions and we will have to see what is possible and what is not.”