The Governor’s Common Core Task Force released a list of recommendations last Thursday, Dec. 10th. The recommendations while a reflection of the parent and educator voices around the state do not alone restore trust in Albany. How the recommendations and other issues get addressed is the key and parents are watching this very closely.
Until there is a halt of the Common Core standards, repeal of the Education Transformation Act, major changes to the state tests, a reduction of unnecessary testing, protection of data privacy, and local control restored, parents will continue to Opt Out in large numbers.
The recommendations deliberately state that Governor Cuomo’s ‘signature’ legislation that enforces many of these harmful policies doesn’t need to be touched. On the contrary, this law is the prescriptive blueprint to these harmful policies that was passed by the legislature as part of the budget last spring.
One of the recommendations to put a 4-year moratorium on evaluating teachers based on the flawed Common Core state tests was officially voted into emergency regulations by the Board of Regents at today’s board meeting. Until the law is repealed, this moratorium does not reduce testing it actually does the opposite, increases testing and further puts a strain on school districts’ budgets to comply.
NYSAPE is calling on parents to Opt Out of state tests and any local tests that are linked to this corrupt and invalid evaluation system that clearly doesn’t provide value for the students, educators or schools.
“The task force recommendations have opened the door to change. Much of these harmful policies came in through our legislature when they passed the Education Transformation Act against the will of the people they serve. Our State Assembly and Senate must now reverse this harmful legislation so that changes will be meaningful and substantial. Parents will be vigilant in following these changes every step of the way. We will continue to refuse to allow our children to participate in this system until ALL harmful reforms are removed from our classrooms,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out.
"Until specific laws and policies regarding standards, student assessment, teacher evaluation and school ranking are changed, parents will continue to boycott any system that ties high-stakes to standardized assessments." Chris Cerrone, Erie County public school parent, educator, and school board member.
Jamaal Bowman, Bronx public school parent and middle school principal said, “Although I consider the task force recommendations to be a step in the right direction, it is merely a single step. At this point, there is too much uncertainty to get excited about where we are headed in our public schools. Until we know how the recommendations will be implemented, and by whom, and until the law tying teacher evaluations to test scores is revised or repealed, we will not be able to move forward and properly meet the holistic needs of our children.”
“How the Common Core, testing, and other education policies are revamped to be in the best interest of the children will be watched very closely by parents. I will not be opting my children into any unnecessary tests including local assessments that do not provide important feedback for my children,” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.
"While there is much talk of high standards, there is little discussion of the non-curricular resources required to ensure that all students can succeed in the face of poverty and lack of adequate funding. It is disappointing that the task force failed to raise the question, if disadvantaged students were struggling prior to the implementation of the Common Core, how will simply raising the bar increase student achievement," said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent, Rethinking Testing member and educator.
“After so much time and money has been wasted in forced implementation of flawed policy, students and educators of New York have been hurt and trust has been broken. We must repeal the APPR imposed by politicians who did not understand the domain. Scholars in schools of education and professional educators should design the best systems to achieve goals for public education,” said Katie Zahedi, Dutchess County, principal.
Marla Kilfoyle, Long Island public school parent, educator and BATS’ executive director said, "Teachers and parents do not trust NYSED, the ‘Tisch’ Regents’ majority, the legislature, or the Governor to be in charge of education. What they have done to our public education system and to our children is unconscionable. I have been an educator in NY for over 25 years and the mass destruction their policies have caused will take years to repair."
NYSAPE, a grassroots organization with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state, is calling on parents to continue to opt out by refusing high-stakes testing for the 2015-16 school year. Go to www.nysape.org for more details on how to affect changes in education policies.