Educators at CNR Graduate School Weigh in on Common Core

Walter Sullivan, director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership at The College of New Rochelle; and Estee Lopez, assistant director of the center, are quoted extensively in an article on school reform and the Common Core in the Journal News and

Sullivan was part of a team of New York educators who set out to create new standards for schools throughout the state, a project that was abandoned in favor of the Common Core, a national standard.

"It was a healthy, democratic approach to a mega-project," said Estée Lopez, then director of bilingual education for the New Rochelle schools, who led efforts to address English proficiency in the new standards. "We did not only create standards. We wanted to create the conditions for new standards to work."


Cohen and Sullivan put together teams of teachers, administrators and professors to get to work. They also signed up the nation's top experts on standards and several cutting-edge agencies including Achieve Inc., which, ironically, soon would be put in charge of developing Common Core. Funding for the project was $300,000 — a relative pittance.

Sullivan, director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership at the College of New Rochelle, wanted teachers and parent advocates to support his team's work, so he sought opinions and feedback. His steering committee held six public forums around the state and collected the views of 1,000 people.

"The Common Core was developed behind closed doors, but our New York standards were the work of extraordinary teachers and educators from the local level," said Bonne August, provost of New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, who co-chaired a committee that worked on the ELA/ESL standards. "We did things the right way, so teachers would buy in. Teachers are frustrated by the Common Core because they don't see themselves in it."
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