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Upstate New Yorkers: Common Core Rollout Rushed

The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A majority of upstate New Yorkers believe the state's rollout of new Common Core education standards has been rushed, leading to widespread confusion, a poll released Sunday showed.

The Times Union/Siena Research Institute found that 82 percent of those polled agreed the rollout was rushed while 14 percent disagreed.

Don Levy, director of the research institute, told the Albany Times Union (http://bit.ly/SYNn90 ) the results show state officials haven't yet sold the public on the concept or timetable of the new standards.

The Common Core, adopted in more than 40 states, provides standards in math and English that students are supposed to acquire in order to be ready for college and careers. The federal government and business groups encouraged states to adopt Common Core.

The poll was based on 874 telephone interviews in upstate New York from June 1-5. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. Sponsored by Troy-based Gramercy Communications, the survey explored attitudes on a variety of educational issues, including Common Core, standardized tests, teacher evaluations, and the quality and cost of education.

Forty-six percent of respondents rated the current quality of public education as good or excellent; 37 percent said it was fair or poor; and respondents weren't opposed to the idea of higher learning standards.

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"The ultimate goal is an important one. If we are going to be competitive on the world stage, we need standards," said respondent Russell Kratz, 68, who lives in Windham and teaches at Columbia Greene Community College and Inter-American University in Puerto Rico.

When it comes to knowing what's best for students, respondents put the most trust in local teachers, followed by the local school board, the state Board of Regents, teachers unions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Education Commissioner John King and the Legislature.

Almost three-quarters, 71 percent, said the biggest problem facing schools is lack of parental involvement in a child's progress, followed by bullying, poor behavior, and hiring and retaining effective teachers. Respondents also were concerned that schools weren't adequately preparing students for work, with 94 percent in favor of more vocational training.

A majority of 59 percent said they didn't want to pay more taxes to support schools. New York state leads the nation in its average per-student spending level of roughly $19,000.

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Information from: Times Union, http://www.timesunion.com