November 16, 2015

The Governor’s task force for 2015 held public hearings around the state in October and November.  At each meeting two members from the task force solicited comments from educators, parents, and community members on Common Core, testing and curriculum.  Noticeably absent from the Governor’s directive is teacher/principal evaluation.  The deadline for their recommendations is December 31st.  The task force recommendations will be included in Governor’s 2016 education legislation.

Commissioner Elia has established a SED task force that does include teacher/principal evaluation as well as Common Core and standardized tests.  Commissioner Elia will report her findings to the Board of Regents.

Bob Ungar, our lobbyist, and I have been meeting with legislators to discuss CAS’s views on the same topics.  This communication urges every CAS member to email their views to their Assemblyperson and Senator on the topics.  You can locate your legislator by clicking on http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ and http://www.nysenate.gov/senators-committees

Below are recommended topics on which you may want to elaborate.  Select one or two topics:

  • The implementation of the new standards was rushed and lacked teacher/principal/parent input.
  • Testing time for Grades 3-8 students is excessive and reduces teacher/student contact time.
  • Teachers are teaching to the test. Enrichment and creativity have been stifled.
  • The arts and exploratory subjects are no longer a priority.
  • There should be a moratorium on “high stakes” student assessments until the curriculum and assessments are properly coordinated.
  • Standardized tests need to be reduced and decoupled from the teacher and principal evaluations.
  • VAM is a debunked evaluation system. A teacher/principal can be highly effective or effective one year and the next be developing or ineffective.
  • Student assessment scores along with teacher and principal evaluations mirror lack of resources and adverse socioeconomic factors. Poverty is the real overriding issue, not poor teachers and principals.
  • Test questions are, at times, ambiguous, not age or grade appropriate, poorly designed and designed for students to fail.
  • The aspirational levels for “college and career readiness” are inflated and need to be reexamined to insure transparency and fairness.
  • Parents and practitioners have little confidence that student assessment scores provide a meaningful opportunity to constructively reflect on student achievement or teacher and/or principal performance.

Your emails will support the efforts of Bob and me with the legislators.

Do not forget to donate to CAS/PAC.  We are requesting $50 per member per year.  You can donate by sending a check to our offices at:

CAS/PAC

490 Wheeler Road, Suite 280

Hauppauge, NY  11788

Or by filling out dues deduction form and giving it to your district office.

You can also contribute by PayPal by clicking on the icon below.

Your PAC donations affords Bob and me a greater opportunity to dialogue with legislation.

Sincerely,

Anthony C. Laurino

CAS Legislative Liaison