State Rep. Melissa Ziobron: Let’s review Common Core

By State Rep. Melissa Ziobron - 34th District
Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton - posted Mon., Jan. 27, 2014
State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R) represents the 34th District, which includes Colchester, East Haddam and East Hampton. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

In recent weeks, I have been hearing from parents, teachers, students and Board of Education members who are concerned about the implementation of Common Core standards. As a mother to a high school student, I am also concerned.

Recently I attended a CEA Regional teachers meeting, where I met with teachers from around Middlesex County. I heard first-time teachers tell their story – that they might be giving up on teaching because they are losing the excitement they once had for changing kids’ lives. Instead, excitement has been replaced with stress over “observation sequences,” and they are afraid of bringing forward new ideas for fear of not making the grade in their evaluations.

Now, instead of taking hours to prepare new and exciting material in their classroom, they are spending four to five hours preparing lessons that encompass 45 minutes of teaching time which are dedicated to testing. Teachers with 20 years of experience are telling me they feel trapped, because it is too late for them to change careers. Guidance counselors are spending more time counseling teachers, instead of students. BloomBoard has begun to be the focus of their preparation time, not child-centered learning. Music teachers are spending time developing writing goals for their students and less time on music. PE teachers are going to the library once a month with their kids to evaluate their writing skills, which means less time on personal fitness. Administrators are getting crushed over the amount of paperwork needed to evaluate teachers and are spending less time on mentoring them. I am fearful of what effect this has had on the students, and parents are sharing that same concern with me.

I want you to know I am listening. I am also preparing legislation that may affect the implementation of standards in Connecticut. I am not alone; my friend and colleague, state Rep. Marilyn Giuliano (R-23) has scheduled informational forums on Common Core in her district, which I will be attending with some parents from East Haddam. I will be bringing a similar community conversation to the 34th District in the next month as well. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will do what I can to support legislation that helps our students and those that we trust to teach them.

I recently learned the superintendent of East Hampton schools will be hosting a “Superintendent’s Forum on the Common Core & Smarter Balance Assessment,” which will be held on Jan. 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the East Hampton Middle School and it is open to the public. I will be attending and I encourage you to as well.

I have until Feb. 7 to propose legislation and, in the meantime, I will be doing additional research and listening to you. If you have any questions or additional information that you think would be useful to me, please don’t hesitate to contact my office by calling 860-240-8700 or sending an email to

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