Make More Noise!

When the NYS legislature passed the Education Transformation Act on April 1, 2015, a tight timeline for the implementation of education reforms was set into motion.  Several of the reforms require action by the Board of Regents and/or the NYS Education Department, specifically the oversight of a new teacher and principal evaluations system.

Regulations to execute the new evaluation system must be delivered by June 30th, 2015 and school districts must then update their Annual Teacher and Principal Evaluation plan by September 1, 2015 so that it can be reviewed and approved by NYSED by November 15, 2015.

According to a memo from NYSED’s Ken Wagner, “As requested by the Board of Regents, a Learning Summit on teacher and principal evaluation will be held at New York State Museum on Thursday, May 7, to include invited (emphasis added) participants from our statewide parent, teacher, principal, superintendent, and school board member organizations, as well as practitioners and experts in the fields of education, economics and psychometrics, with a specific focus on providing recommendations to the Department and the Board in the areas required by the new statute to be addressed through Commissioner’s Regulations…”

Over the course of the past several years, the voices of parents have been continually  ignored by Chancellor Tisch, and an “invite only” event to take place just weeks from nowMake More Noise 4-27-15signals that, once again, there is a desire to discount the parent voice.  It comes as no surprise that the Chancellor prefers to ignore reality following a historic movement in which hundreds of thousands of students refused to participate in NYS grade 3-8 tests signaling massive disapproval of changes to education that came about under her guidance.

The Chancellor is counting on parents to assume that they will once again be ignored and walk away from the most recent egregious reforms in defeat.

We will not simply walk away.  We will make more noise.  

First, we will demand that the Board of Regents restore our classrooms with a well-rounded education and drive testing compliance factory reforms out of our classrooms forever by taking advantage of the opportunity to provide public comments and by contacting our local Board of Regent Member.

Secondly, we will continue to contact our elected officials.  While many NYS legislators ignored constituents’ opinions shared in phone calls, emails, and during face to face conversations and voted in favor of Governor Cuomo’s deplorable reforms anyway, the Mohawk Valley is home to three champions of education with Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D, Utica), Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, (R, C, I New Hartford) and Assemblyman Marc Butler (R, C, I) who voted against the budget and encapsulated reforms in response to the facts and personal stories we took the time to share.  The “no vote” from both Brindisi and Tenney, offer proof that our voices do matter, and that now is not the time to be silent.  

Opt Out CNY calls upon its members to make the following demands known by participating in the public comment period, contacting Chancellor Tisch, your local Regent, and your NYS Senator and Assembly member.  Make it known that parents want:

1. A dramatic reduction of testing in grades 3rd – 8th, along with reasserting New York State’s authority to determine the education of its children by calling on the US Congress to reduce testing requirements and return to grade span testing.

2. The immediate resignation of Chancellor Tisch.

3. An independent review of the NYS career and college ready standards to ensure that standards are research based and appropriate. The establishment of a taskforce including parents, educators, and stakeholders to study the Common Core Learning Standards and make recommendations to adjust and adopt NYS standards.

4. Adherence to a public and transparent process for selecting a new NYS Commissioner of Education.

5.  A fix of the Cuomo budget legislation debacle by passing legislation that decouples student test scores and restores local board of education control over teacher evaluations

6. Pass legislation that REQUIRES parental consent to share ANY identifiable student data beyond school district administrators.

To participate in the public comment period, email: eval2015@nysed.gov

For information on how to contact your Regent, click here.

For information on how to contact your elected officials, click here.

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