City Schools Bracing for Big Reforms

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The city's more than 1,700 public schools are gearing up for two major reforms when the new year starts on September 6. They're expanding the use of new learning standards known as the Common Core. At the same time, principals of zoned schools are being asked to serve all local children with special needs, instead of sending them to other schools with specialized programs and teachers. The city's special education reform also aims to put more children with disabilities in inclusive settings, alongside other children.

But is this too much to absorb at once? And how are teachers being prepared?

WNYC's Beth Fertig and Yasmeen Khan explain the new reforms on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show. They also took calls from teachers, who fear there hasn't been enough professional development or funding. Thomas, a nine year-old a student from Brooklyn, called in to complain about too much test prep at his elementary school. He said he had to write too many essays before this year's fourth grade exams. And he also said he doesn't have enough opportunities to run around during recess.

What are your concerns about the coming school year? Do you think the schools are ready to emphasize more critical thinking skills with the Common Core, so students will be better prepared for college and work? Will schools be able to provide the balance the needs of students with learning and emotional problems with the needs of typical students? Let us know. You can also email us at