Okay Kingston, Senator Amedore’s phone needs to be ringing off the hook today and throughout the weekend. His phone number is (518) 455-2350 and the local office is 331-3810.
He is a very strong supporter of getting rid of the GEA and we should be thanking him for that. BUT we also need a consistent and predictable Foundation Aid formula put in place that is set in law and runs properly every year.
Apparently the Senate Republicans are under the misguided idea that the majority of Governor Cuomo’s education reforms are a good thing.
UPDATE March 13, 2015 3:30pm: I have spoken with Senator Amedore’s office and have been told that the article stating that the Republican Senators will support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to increase use of state test scores to 50% of the teacher evaluation is not correct. This article in the Times Herald Record from March 2, 2015 quotes Senator Amedore: “I have concerns over the governor’s proposal to base 50 percent off test scores. Not every student learns the same, and teachers need to be able to teach to the ability of their students.” His office said that his primary concern is with how the tests affect children with disabilities. I am now expecting that should anyone within the New York State Senate attempt to associate any additional consequences with high-stakes testing or should they attempt to support Governor Cuomo’s attempt to punish teachers further by placing more emphasis on high-stakes testing, that Senator Amedore will be there vigorously working to ensure that this does not become law. Of course I will be working to totally get rid of the consequences associated with high-stakes testing and will be continuing to urge all parents to REFUSE the state tests in April! – end of UPDATE
According to this article the New York State Senate has released its proposed budget which
- gets rid of the GEA (good thing)
but also supports the following from Governor Cuomo’s reform package (bad things):
- lifting the cap on the number of charter schools as well as increasing funding to charter schools even more than Cuomo proposes (I know many like the charter schools because of ‘school choice’ – for me the problem is the fact that so many fail, unfairness and lots of other issues I have not had time to write about)
- several tax credits/tax deductions (mixed thoughts on this – I could accept some of these as okay)
- using test scores as 50% of a teacher’s evaluation (although this would be part of a separate bill, not part of the budget – regardless have they NOT been listening? High-stakes testing is BAD! Right, of course not, Senator Flannigan had his 5 forums last year and thought all was right with education just like Commissioner King did!) **see UPDATE above**
- teachers will only receive tenure after 5 consecutive years of effective or highly effective ratings (in separate bill) (again high-stakes testing which ratings are based on is BAD!)
- teacher preparation programs will be closed in which 50% of the graduates do not pass the certification exam (in separate bill)
In the article, NYSUT gives credit to the Senate Republicans for at least separating out the bad parts of what they are proposing so that children are not being held hostage. However as a Republican, my feelings are more along the lines of “with friends like these NYS Senate Republicans and Jeb Bush who supports Common Core, who needs enemies?”
Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, please call your state legislators and let them now what YOU think about these educational issues. The legislators are there to SERVE THE PEOPLE, not to line their pockets with donations from the lobby groups or even just to do what they think is in the best interest of the state. It is OUR JOB as their CONSTITUENTS to DEMAND how they VOTE ON OUR BEHALF!!!
While you are making phone calls, give a call to Assemblyman Cahill’s office and thank him for the New York State Assembly budget proposal that boosts education aid to $1.8 billion (not the $2.2 billion that AQE said we should advocate for but better than what Cuomo is offering dependent on accepting the ‘reforms’) and saying ‘No’ to Cuomo’s reforms. Urge Assemblyman Cahill and the rest of the Assembly to stand strong against Governor Cuomo (and now the New York State Senate).