Monday, October 6, 2014

NY Assembly members meet with educators

It was nice to have been in a room with many others from so many different places. I have seen Assemblywoman Lifton in her office on a few occasions, and at SUNY last April. Still, it is difficult for me to wrap my mind around what the Assembly can/is willing to do-or what is the nature of what they have already done. During her appearance at SUNY Cortland this past April, I brought up the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Al Graf(R)-one that included a waiver from RTTT mandated responsibilities,  an end to common core and common core testing, and had language for establishing a panel of twenty-some people appointed by a variety of leaders and educators who would have public meetings in several locations throughout the state. 

I have the text, but believe it's still available online (A8844).

Lifton's response during her appearance was an "I hear your pain, but get more active, write your governor...we are sort of powerless in this..." type response. At Saturday's meeting Assemblywoman Nolan's response was to quickly brush aside bill numbers, describe how they go away and come back with different numbers and ask what is important...I think she knew the bill I was talking about but wanted to avoid getting too far into why good bills get killed by who, and why. It is a management technique (and looks good for a politician) to steer clear of details in the part they play and simply listen to you and let you get your stories off your chest. A person walks away feeling "Wow...they really listened to me!" Yeah, they did....aaannnd?  

Here is a quote from someone who was there the day Al Graf's A8844 died (Cue Don McLean music), followed by a link to the page it is on:

"Then came Tuesday, June 3rd.  The day that Assembly Bill 8844 was put to vote in the New York State Assembly Education Committee, chaired by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. Chairwoman Nolan had been advocating a HOLD on this bill meaning it would die in this legislative session if the vote took that path    I had the opportunity to attend this meeting/vote along with about twenty other parents. We traveled from all over NYS to advocate for the bill one last time. As we know, the bill was killed.  I was heartbroken to say the least. I couldn't believe what had just happened.  After the meeting adjourned, we were given the opportunity for a seat a the table with Chairwoman Nolan.  I thought that was pretty huge.  We were able to go around the table and discuss specific issues.  I had to hold back tears several times.  I do think that Chairwoman Nolan hears us, but for some reason she doesn't think this bill was the answer.  So I wonder, what is the recommendation then?  My kids, and everyone else's kids don't get a do-over with their education.  NO DO-OVER.  This bill would've eased that worry for me.  I'm afraid for today's students, especially those with an IEP.  I was glad that Chairwoman Nolan was listening though."

The Graf Bill, A8844:

An article describing the passing of Nolan's "put it in protected mode" bill

A link to the description of the "truth in testing" bill also sponsored by Nolan, but that she seemed unaware/unfamiliar with when I opened asking about it's status. Having sponsored then overseen the passing of the "on hold for two years" bill after the defeat of the "get rid of it now" bill...this testing related legislation seemed like a decent consolation prize. It calls for more transparency and review of testing companies, practices and results, as well as more access to old test items themselves. Good things, really, if we are to stick with no-bid contracting to testing companies sharing the revolving door between lobbying/policy making/politics:

Sorry, I meant for this to be a simple share-contacts/it was nice to meet you message....but I've been a little steamed since Saturday and came away agreeing with only a few things said: 1) That Tennessee accent is beautiful  2) Our unions have been complacent and 3) We need to form alliances with each other and parents to shake up all the people who think they can get away with forcing this insanity on us, and those who protect the insanity.

Oh-there was one more thing. For the top quality, caring people at that table who hinted at getting out: please don't. Evil only wins when good gives up. Not to be melodramatic but our nation is investing too much in drones and data-mining, and avoiding the real responsibilities-which are then left to pile up on public school educators and the educators of educators. 

So stay, play, fight and find a way. 

You do "...the most important thing on the planet second to parenting." (Jenke, 2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for responding and commenting. All comments will be reviewed, and only vulgarity and off-topic strangeness will be removed.