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NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org
NYS Leadership Falls Short to Reverse Course of the Flawed Regent Education Reforms
On Tuesday, February 4th, the leadership in both the Assembly and Senate called for a two-year delay of the use of Common Core state assessments for high-stakes decisions for teachers, principals and students. The Senate also called for a one-year delay in the sharing of private student data with inBloom Inc., while the Assembly reiterated that there should be an indefinite halt to the disclosure of this information. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo responded that the leadership’s announcement was premature and that he would await the recommendations of a Commission that he has yet to appoint. That Commission would issue its report in June.
The NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) acknowledges the legislature’s efforts, but this delay will not satisfy parents or educators because it falls short of the real change that needs to occur to get our school system back on track. Thousands of parents and educators have testified at hearings and forums calling for a halt to the implementation of the Common Core and its aligned exams, and for the state to immediately cancel its contract with inBloom. A delay in uploading students’ private data or attaching stakes to the exams is insufficient and will merely stall needed change.
“The Common Core Learning Standards remain untested and there is no evidence that they will result in more learning or increased student achievement. Parents are frustrated with the assumption that the standards will be successful if teachers are only provided with more professional development and students with more time. The Common Core Standards are deeply flawed and the proposed moratorium falls short of the mark,” said Bianca Tanis, a New Paltz public school parent and member of Re-Thinking Testing, Mid-Hudson Region.
“For the next two years, children will be compelled to take grueling, inappropriate assessments that rob them of instructional time and force teachers to stick to a prescribed pace of instruction no matter the needs of their students,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Bellmore public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt-Out.
“Parents, teachers, school board members and superintendents throughout the state have testified that they overwhelmingly oppose the state’s plan to share sensitive personal student data with inBloom. We insist that the Regents immediately cancel the contract with inBloom; simply asking for a delay is not good enough,” said Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters and a leader in the fight to protect student privacy.
Not only does the proposed moratorium fall short, it is difficult to ascertain what it will include. "Although we appreciate the efforts of the legislature to be responsive to the concerns of parents and educators, the concept of a moratorium on the consequences of high-stakes testing needs to be defined. Will this, for example, mean a suspension of test scores in teacher evaluations, or simply a prohibition on the dismissal of teachers with “ineffective” scores? How will students be protected from the consequences of testing? Will the legislature prohibit the use of Common Core test scores for purposes of promotion and acceleration? Will they allow young students to be excused from six grueling testing sessions? All must be explained if we are to evaluate whether any real relief would be provided,” said Dr. Carol Burris, South Side High School Principal on Long Island and the 2013 High School Principal of the Year.
Jessica McNair, a New Hartford public school parent said, “Once again the legitimate concerns of New York parents are minimized with the suggestion of a moratorium. This would only allow more time for the damaging NYSED agenda to take hold. In discussing matters concerning children, it is imperative that the state’s leaders do more than simply slow down the train before it crashes. We must put a stop to high-stakes testing and to standards that are developmentally inappropriate. The time for a complete course correction is now, with no pause or delay.”
Education Commissioner John King noted at last week’s budget hearings that he has been meeting regularly with the Governor. “The relationship between NYSED and the Governor’s office must be questioned, especially as Governor Cuomo called a moratorium ‘premature’ as he awaits the results of his own panel's review of the Common Core,” said Lisa Rudley, Ossining public school parent and a founding member of NYSAPE. “We continue to call for the Commissioner’s resignation and the appointment of new Regents, because our children should not have to bear the brunt of a State Education Department whose agenda is out of control.”
The New York State Allies for Public Education represent forty-five grassroots parent groups from every corner of the Empire State, calling for a change in direction and policy, beginning with new leadership at the New York State Education Department and the Board of Regents. See www.nysape.org for more details.