The Common Core has been one of the educational and political struggles of the year, with the fights over its standards and the tests used to study how well students are doing with its material. Not all schools use the Common Core, among them Park School in Amherst, N.Y.
Public and charter schools are required to use state curriculum and tests. That does not apply, however, to parochial and independent schools.
According to Chris Lauricella, Head of the Park School of Buffalo, they are getting an increasing number of calls about how his school deals with the state standards.
Lauricella saidPark has standards. Somewhat similar to the Common Core in focusing on critical thinking, Lauricella says at Park they are taught differently and flexibly.
"It's hard to measure critical thinking with a multiple choice test," Lauricella said.
"They want to measure critical thinking. So, a common sense approach to measuring critical thinking is asking kids what they think. There's no room in the state assessment to sit and ask kids what they think and spend some time, really widening the questions out so you really get a good sense of what a child thinks."
Park held a forum last night to compare and contrast what the Amherst school does with schools using the Common Core. Featured were school administrators and Park parent and UB Assistant Professor Corrie Stone-Johnson, talking about public and independent education.