Sunday, January 17, 2016

Education reform must move in a different direction

I was provided with the opportunity to provide phone testimony with several other parents and educators to Governor Cuomo's Common Core Task Force.  My presentation was focused on alternatives to the current student and educator assessment system.

Here is why a continued boycott of the state assessment system must occur:
"It was my hope that the Common Core Task Force would listen to the voices of students, parents and educators from across New York State. We have reached a precipice that requires serious change in direction in education policy in our state and nation. An unprecedented event took place last spring when over 220,000 students boycotted the grades three through eight state assessments. Small, cosmetic or superficial changes in our education system will not satisfy the families across the Empire State who have brought their concerns to local and state officials. It is time for change in our schools. We are not asking to reverse course, but head in a different direction that will provide a challenging, appropriate education for all children."

Please read the rest of my op-ed here:

Do Not Be Fooled: Opt Out Continues in 2016

Once again my friend Jeanette Deutermann, the leader of Long Island Opt Out, nails it.  The reality is little has changed despite minor tweaks proposed by the Cuomo Common Core Task Force and enacted by the Board of Regents and NYSED.

Parents should continue to boycott the state assessments until all harmful reforms are removed from our children's public schools.

Here is Jeanette's advice:

For those of you new to this page or the opt out movement, first, welcome!! All of the information on here can seem overwhelming and "too much". There are key facts to stay focused on:

1. Opt out has been the ONLY vehicle that has produced change and continues to be the only factor to continue the changes.

2. We are a long way from winning, but we have swung the door wide open to these changes.

3. Your district will NOT lose money if you have high opt out numbers. Threats have been made and uninformed administrators may even tell you this. These are simply empty threats that we have heard every year for four years with no financial loss to any district ANYWHERE. Not a single dollar.

4. Although state test scores will not be calculated in this year's teacher evaluation scores, THE TESTS ARE STILL THE SAME, WRITTEN BY PEARSON, CLOSE TO 9 HOURS LONG, 18 HOURS FOR SPECIAL ED STUDENTS, 6 DAYS, ALMOST 2 WEEKS OF INSTRUCTION LOST, SCHOOLS STILL BEING GRADED, RANKED, AND SORTED BY STATE ASSESSMENTS. In other words, as far as our children are concerned, nothing has changed. As for the State talking shorter tests, they have shaved a few minutes off the 9 hours.

5. The law to make assessments count as 50% of the evaluation score (which encourages test prep and a test focused curriculum) that our legislators pushed through last year is still in place with Cuomo expressing that he will not allow it to be changed. While this law is in place we will always have test focused classrooms.

6. If parents opt back into the state test this year, the changes will stop, and any progress made will most likely reverse course. 

7. Deals will be made for various organizations to convince parents that everything is fine now. We will see commercials, ads, and other marketing strategies to convince parents to comply.