Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Sad Day for Education in NYS

Today is a sad day for the students and teachers of New York. 

The Governor, claiming to be the best advocate for children, has tied inadequate school funding to questionable education reform based on volatile state tests and tied to ethics reform. 

Both the Assembly and Senate, who promised $1.8 to $1.9 billion of increased aid, sold out promised relief in order to ease ethics reform. They fundamentally short-changed the children they claim they care about. 

Huge stacks of printed bill materials shared only hours before the votes last night left little time for thoughtful consideration and stakeholder input. Major educational reforms were ill-considered in the haste to meet a vote deadline.

While NYS PTA appreciates the decision to assign the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) revision to NYSED and the Board of Regents, as we advocated for, we believe the parameters and time frame for consideration are completely inadequate for all stakeholders to provide input and thoughtful feedback. Specifically: 
  •     Parent input was erased from APPR
  •     Questions remain on testing and proportions of standardized testing in APPR 
  •     What formulates student growth is not clear
  •     What elements are part of a new matrix needs to be defined 
  •     How schools will manage the use and costs of outside evaluators is unknown 

Once again, tying release of aid to approval of negotiated APPR elements by November 15, DURING the school year, is indefensible.

The lack of reliability of the current NYS standardized tests along with these hastily adopted education reforms will fuel the already increasing opposition to participation in testing scheduled for this April. 

The unfortunate message to the children of New York: your education and future are not worth the time and collaborative decision-making of Albany legislators.

With this latest state action it is even more urgent that we reinforce the right of every parent to decide what is best for their child, whether to take or refuse the test!


Bonnie M. Russell
NYS PTA® President
Communicate to Advocate!