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Parents Complain Common Core Curriculum Assignments Are Too Challenging

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - There's growing criticism about what's being taught in New York State public schools under the controversial new Common Core curriculum.

As CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, even some parents said they cannot understand some math lessons under the curriculum that's now in place in 45 states.

Homework time is stress time at the Ballato home, they say because of the Common Core curriculum.

" I had 90s and 95s in high school and I see this math. I can't teach fifth grader how to do homework," Michael Ballato told Gusoff.

"To see my fifth grader night after night after night doing math homework," Ilene Ballato added.

They have joined a chorus of complaints, arguing that the new curriculum is not only daunting for kids but too confusing for even parents trying to help out.

The problems involve dividing by first finding the factors of each number, Gusoff reported.

"Why do I have to use the distributive property to solve a simple problem? Ridiculous," Ilene Ballato said.

Some say even the kindergarten curriculum has them stumped.

"Even as parents looking at the work, sometimes I have to scratch my head and I can't even find the answer for them," mother Colette Paul told Gusoff.

"My parents couldn't do the new math. They were frustrated by it because when we would bring stuff home, they couldn't handle it," State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Oyster Bay) said.

Marcellino, a former teacher, said Common Core will take time to get used to just as the new math did decades ago.

He has joined in with some parents calling on the state to slow down its implementation.

"The kids will handle it but they need time," Marcellino told Gusoff.

The issue has become so heated that some town hall meetings on Common Core were called off after shouting matches erupted.

But after public backlash, the state Department of Education rescheduled 12 forums over the next six weeks.

DOE Commissioner John King, Jr. said that's just the first round.

"We want the conversation to rise above all the noise and make sure parents understand the Common Core...and we want to understand parents' concerns," King said in a statement.

As WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported, three lawmakers have called for a change to the Common Core exams.

Westchester Assembly members Tom Abinanti, Amy Paulin and David Buchwald have written to the state Board of Regents asking for an overhaul.

"New York decided to test first, build the curriculum later...and I think in the end, our experience so far indicates that that may have been the wrong choice," Buchwald told Adams. "If you have tests that are too vague in actually meeting those standards then you're doing a disservice because what these tests are doing are building pressure on students instead of instilling a love of learning."

Lawmakers Call For Changes To Common Core Exams

The three lawmakers said they support the Common Core standards, but fear the tests miss the mark and don't mesh with what's being taught in the classroom.

After poor test scores across the board last school year, the Assembly members met with superintendents.

"We raised the concerns that we heard from superintendents, teachers and parents," Buchwald said. "The tests still are much more difficult to match up with the standards. The standard is something that we in our letter say we support."

Adjustments to the curriculum will be considered. Parents say they're needed before some kids give up.

Five of the Common Core forums will be held on Long Island and Westchester. The others that have been scheduled will be held upstate.

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