Tag Archives: New York State Standardized Tests

NYSAPE’s Response to Tim Kremer, Executive Director of NYSSBA

Timothy Kremer, Executive Director of New York State School Boards Association, wrote an article last week to “encourage” parents to allow their children to take the state tests this year. He believes that enough change is under way and that parents should be ready to get back with the program and let their kids take the tests or as he puts it
parents and teachers in New York State should recognize that testing boycotts are not constructive – especially when everyone is bending over backwards to try to make the very adjustments that parents have sought as quickly as possible.
I wholeheartedly agree with NYSAPE’s response to Mr. Kremer.
In a nutshell
Until the changes we have enumerated are CODIFIED IN LAW and we see them implemented in our children’s classrooms, our opt out numbers will continue to grow.  (emphasis mine)
 *****
 Refuse tests because we love our kids Conversation Heart
Full text of NYSAPE’s letter below:

January 27, 2016

New York State School Boards Association

Attn: Mr. Tim Kremer, Executive Director

24 Century Hill Drive, Suite 200

Latham, NY 12110–2125

Dear Mr. Kremer,

This letter is in response to your commentary titled, “Take yes for an answer,” in the January 25th edition of NYSSBA’s On Board. We would like to thank you for recognizing the role that New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) have played in being a “vocal and politically effective group of parents and educators opposed to a ‘test and punishment’ culture.” On behalf of the 50-plus grassroots organizations across the state that we proudly call allies in the fight to reclaim our public schools, we wish to respond to some of the arguments you made.

You state that “although our state has shifted from overdrive to neutral on testing, NYSAPE has declared it’s frustrated that ‘nothing has changed.” You continue with several examples where you believe some changes have been made, such as:

  • The governor has “endorsed the recommendations of his Common Core Task Force….”
  • The Board of Regents has placed a moratorium on the consequences for students and teachers of the 3–8 tests for the next four years.
  • A new testing vendor will play a large role in the state tests next year and according to Commissioner Elia, “teachers will be even more closely involved in the vetting and development process.”
  • “In the near future, New York will once again revisit its learning standards, grade-by-grade.”

Unfortunately, promises of change will not suffice until the governor and the legislature change the law. “Endorsements” and “moratoriums” are not changes in law, they are modifications. Furthermore, they are modifications that do nothing for the students taking this spring’s 3–8 tests — tests that will still be developmentally inappropriate, far too long, invalid measures of student growth or knowledge, and provide third party vendors with personally identifiable information without sufficient privacy protections. Moreover, our teachers will still be rated on the basis of unreliable and often invalid local assessments, which will not relieve their anxiety nor the test prep culture that has overtaken our schools.

You continue, “The point is that the state is taking seriously the concerns raised by parents, teachers, and others. It’s hard to understand why NYSAPE thinks further antagonism through test refusals is their best course of action.” Our response to this is we wouldn’t even be having a conversation if over 240,000 brave parents had not chosen to opt their children out of the 3–8 tests. What you call “antagonism”, we call “protecting our children.” Lastly, you include the veiled threat of federal sanctions if schools do not meet the required 95% participation rate for the 3–8 ELA and math tests. No state has ever lost federal funding due to a testing boycott on the part of parents. Taking Title I money away from the neediest students in order to punish parents who are boycotting a testing system that is out of control is not defensible. Any lawmaker or policymaker taking this course of threatening action would be under extreme political fall-out from the people they serve.

If you would like to see parents become a part of the solution instead of viewing them as the problem, we would welcome an opportunity to meet with you and the NYSSBA Board members to further explain what needs to be accomplished before we opt back into the system. Until the changes we have enumerated are codified in law and we see them implemented in our children’s classrooms, our opt out numbers will continue to grow.

Sincerely,

Steering Committee Members of New York State Allies for Public Education:

Jamaal Bowman, Bronx,

Carol Burris, Queens,

Nancy Cauthen, NYC

Chris Cerrone, Western NY

Jeanette Deutermann, Long Island

Tim Farley, Capital Region

Kevin Glynn, Long Island

Leonie Haimson, NYC

Marla Kilfoyle, Long Island

Jessica McNair, Central NY

Lisa Rudley, Westchester

Bianca Tanis, Hudson Valley

Katie Zahedi, Hudson Valley

CC: ​Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, NYS Education Department

NYS Board of Regents

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Secretary of Education Jere Hochman

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of Assembly Education Committee

Assemblywoman Debra Glick, Chair of Assembly Higher Education Committee

Senator Carl Marcellino, Chair of Senate Education Committee

NYS School Boards of Education Members

Bonnie Russell, President of NYS PTA

John McKenna, President of SAANYS

Karen Magee, President of NYSUT

Parent meeting with Commissioner Elia

Commissioner Elia came to Ulster County on Tuesday December 8, 2015 and I was one of the three parents from the Kingston City School District invited to attend the parent meeting with her.  The meeting was arranged through BOCES and I know there were parents from both Ulster and Dutchess counties.  Not sure if Orange county was represented or not.

Commissioner Elia seemed to be a very nice lady and was definitely more successful at creating rapport with the parents than our previous commissioner, John King. Commissioner Elia spoke for more than half of the hour scheduled for our meeting with her and we didn’t actually start at 1:15pm so only 5 parents had opportunity to ask any questions.  I wasn’t one of those who asked a question this time around (I did get to address Commissioner King when he visited Spackenkill back in 2013).
Commissioner Elia took time to introduce herself and give her background in education.  She then gave a history of Common Core and explained how a lot of people categorize everything as “Common Core”.  She said that when talking about Common Core, we should just be talking about the standards and that there are four “buckets” of things people have issues with:
  • standards
  • curriculum
  • assessments
  • evaluation system

She also noted that we have had standards since 1647 and that the evaluation system has been changed four (4) times since Common Core was introduced.

Commissioner Elia is right that all of the above items/issues get lumped under “Common Core”.  In fact she missed including excessive data collection.  However I disagree with her that the standards are the only part that should be appropriately referred to as “Common Core”.  Each piece of this package is intricately woven together and can not function/succeed without the other pieces so it is indeed appropriate to refer to the package in its entirety as Common Core.

Commissioner Elia talked about the state department of education AimHighNY survey on the Common Core State Standards and reported that 71% of the 10,500 respondents were supportive of the standards.  I thought it was interesting though that she then proceeded to state that comments included statements that someone liked a standard but it should be in a different grade, for example it should be in grade 1 but it is in kindergarten.  My question is: how can the standard be liked/considered good if it is in the wrong grade?  The standard identifies what the children are supposed to know at the particular grade so if the standard is in the wrong grade then the standard is wrong/bad.  This is how some people defend the developmentally inappropriate Common Core State Standards – “they are okay if you just do them a little differently”.  The standards were written so that all states across the country would be teaching students the same things in the same grades and therefore students could move from state to state without missing out on pieces of their education.  If states can just move standards from one grade to another, we no longer have COMMON Core.
Commissioner Elia didn’t talk about it but I want to make sure everyone knows about another important survey.   New York Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) conducted a survey on the Common Core State Standards for one week and received about 12,000 responses.  You can click to read full details about the survey but the key points are:
  • 70 percent oppose the Common Core standards
  • Over 80 percent of respondents indicated that they believe ELA and Math standards in grades K-3 are developmentally inappropriate for many students
  • 91 percent say that the Common Core exams in grades 3-8 are flawed
  • 54 percent indicated that high schools should use the previous NYS Regents exams rather than new exams aligned to the Common Core standards
  • 96 percent say that test scores should not be linked to principal or teacher evaluations
  • 86.5 percent say that the state should abandon the Common Core standards and return to the New York’s former standards until educators can create better ones
The first parent/teacher who spoke was from Ellenville and felt that students spend too many days taking the state tests.  One of the parent’s comments was that perhaps a fixed 90 minute testing time is not appropriate and that perhaps students who were engaged in taking the test should be allowed to finish their test if they desired to do so, even if it took longer than the ‘allowed’ testing period.  I interpreted the comment to be a suggestion that the testing time should not be so regimented.  Apparently Commissioner Elia interpreted it differently because she asked the audience to raise hands if we thought students should be allowed to take longer than 90 minutes to finish their test.
Dr. Robin Jacobowitz, parent and board of education member from Kingston, was in attendance at the parent meeting with me and shared the “Time on Test” report in response to the suggestion to allow children to spend even more time on the standardized tests. Her concern was that even more than the current 4 days of lost instruction time could be lost but Dr. Jacobowitz’s comment was after the hand vote was taken by Commissioner Elia.
I was surprised when Rev. Childs reported at the KCSD Board of Education meeting on December 9 that Commissioner Elia said the department was considering allowing students to take longer than 90 minutes on their tests because Commissioner Elia didn’t tell us the idea was already under consideration when the idea was proposed in the parent meeting.
Concerns regarding testing and special education were mentioned by most if not all of the parents who spoke.
This quote from a parent, who I believe was from Red Hook, summed up the parent comments pretty well – “Someone owes these kids an apology for what they have been through.  It’s really not fair.”

Penalties for Refusing NYS Standardized Tests in 2016?

When parents refused the New York State standardized Common Core tests last spring, there were high hopes that change would be wrought and we wouldn’t have to be talking about refusing the state tests this year.

Unfortunately over 220,000 parents/students refused the tests and yet not much has changed in New York other than the name of the person who is in charge of the New York State Education Department. Commissioner Elia speaks of change but it is mostly in the future and not really in the areas that matter most to parents.

The students will still be taking developmentally inappropriate tests that are excessively long if they do not refuse the 2016 tests.  Even though a new testing company Questar has been hired, the 2016 tests were developed by Pearson.  Fifty percent (50%) of teachers’ evaluation will still be based on testing so testing will be the focus of the classrooms throughout the state.  The ‘official’ word is that a moratorium is being declared on the standardized tests and the results will not be used.  Seems to me like there is no need to administer the tests if the results are not being used.  In fact, for schools in receivership the test scores are being used to determine if the school can get out of receivership so there actually is no moratorium.

NYSAPE Nothing has changed 2016

The question is being asked, are there going to be financial penalties if too many parents/students refuse the state tests in 2016?

You would think we got this settled last year (here and here) but the question raised its ugly head again with a memo from the federal Department of Education in December 2015.  Note that the linked memo is actually an annotated version of the memo including a parental response from Jeanette Deutermann, founder of Long Island Opt-Out and NYSAPE.

According to analysis by FairTest, parents can safely refuse/opt-out/boycott standardized testing without fear of federal penalty to their schools.

In fact, the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) specifically authorizes states to allow parents to opt their children out of exams. ESSA does require 95% of students to be tested — but individual states have the power to decide what actions to take if too few students take an exam.

Some states have passed legislation protecting parental rights. Here’s the rub – New York State has not passed such legislation.

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco introduced the Common Core Parental Refusal Act in March 2015 which would have given New York State parents the needed protection as well as requiring that parents be notified of their right to refuse.  Unfortunately due to party bickering, the majority party decided to introduce their own version of the bill, that lacked the important parental notification requirement, and neither version was passed.

It is now incumbent upon the New York State legislature to pass the Common Core Parental Refusal Act protecting a parent’s right to refuse standardized testing without penalty to the student, teacher, school or school district.

Don’t believe the hype Cuomo and State Ed are spinning! The Common Core Tests are still around to rob children of their love of learning and teachers of their creatitvy. If the changes they are professing to make to Common Core and to the standards are not lived up to, parents need to have in their back pocket a safeguard to opt their children out of the tests without fear of reprisal. Today, I joined my colleagues to talk about education including moving forward with the opt-out movement and codifying into law with the Common Core Parental Refusal Act (A.6025/S.4161) the right of parents to refuse to have their children take the developmentally inappropriate standardized tests without fear of any penalty to the students, teachers or schools. Sign the petition today at www.refusecommoncore.com!

James Tedisco at New York State Capitol.

Support the Common Core Parental Refual Act by signing the petition here.

Also contact your legislators and tell them to demand that the Common Core Parental Refusal Act A.6025/S.4161 be moved out of the Education committee and voted into law!

How much testing is too much?

President Obama issued a statement on October 24, 2015 that testing has gone too far and needs to be reduced to at most 2% of classroom instruction time.

Governor Cuomo followed up with a press release praising President Obama’s Testing Action Plan and detailing what he believes New York has already done to make testing less onerous.

Unfortunately as Diane Ravitch points out based on a piece written by Tim Farley, for states like New York where we already require 2% or less of instructional time to be spent on testing, the new Obama testing policy might increase the time spent testing students.

From Tim Farley:

In New York, as Cuomo has reminded us, we already have a two percent cap on time spent on standardized testing. What does that actually mean? New York requires 180 school days and an average school day runs about 6.5 hours. Do the math and the result is 180 x 6.5 x 2% = 23.4 hours of testing. So, by law, we cannot exceed 23.4 hours of standardized testing in grades 3 — 8.

This begs the question — how much time do kids in grades 3–8 spend on the state tests in English Language Arts and math? If you are a general education student, you will spend roughly nine hours in a testing room for both the ELA and math tests. If you are a student with a learning disability (SWD), and you have a testing accommodation of “double time,” you get to sit in a testing location for eighteen hours. As insane as that seems, it is still 5.4 hours short of the time allowed by law. A 2% cap isn’t a step forward, it’s a giant leap backward. …

How much testing is too much? I don’t know the magic number that will give the state education departments and the U.S. Department of Education the data they supposedly need in order to determine the effectiveness of the schools, but I do know that nine hours of testing is too much for a nine-year-old, eighteen hours is abusive for nine-year-olds with a learning disability, and 23.4 hours of testing for a child at any age is criminal.

 

More teaching less testing

Articles announcing President Obama’s Testing Action Plan:

Additional responses to the federal/New York State statements on reducing testing time:

By the way if you are not a regular reader of Mr. Greene’s posts, ‘BS Tests’ stands for ‘Big Standardized Tests’.

Panel questions effectiveness of Common Core standards

Governor Cuomo’s Common Core task force held their first public meeting on Thursday night October 29, 2015 in New Rochelle, New York.  They heard the following from Principal Jamaal Bowman:

“The state has disempowered the schools and the school districts” with the implementation of the educational standards, said panelist Jamaal Bowman, principal of the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action in the Bronx, to the task force.

The results of those tests and the curriculum within the schools are no longer trusted at the level they used to be, Bowman said. “And the state assessments have driven a wedge between the teachers and the parents.”  – “Panel questions effectiveness of Common Core standards” lohud.com October 30, 2015

The lohud article continues on to report that “while there was much criticism of Common Core, there were still places in the state that it appeared to be working” and that the superintendent of the Schodack Central School District who “credited the standards with driving up graduation rates and students’ college-career readiness” had concerns regarding the reliance on standardized testing.

Local parents advocating for the removal of Common Core were in attendance at the meeting as well.  Stop Common Core videographer Mert Melfa captured Principal Bowman’s presentation and I highly recommend taking the 15 minutes to hear what he had to say to the panel.

Although Principal Bowman is a product of a public school and works at a public school (not a charter), he does not feel confident in placing his currently 18-month old daughter in a public school when she turns five due to “the test-and-punish culture that we have created.”

Principal Bowman made the following recommendations to the Common Core task force:

  • Remove teacher evaluations aligned to state assessments immediately
  • Administer state assessments, if you need to, created by teachers in fourth and seventh grades
  • Begin a statewide focus and conversation around authentic curriculum, instruction and formative assessment (not summative assessment).  Emphasis local assessment not state assessment.
  • Implement a birth to age eight program in our highest need districts.

“I am not anti-testing and anti-standards.  I just want to emphasize formative assessments that meet the needs of individual students and empowers teachers.”

Wappingers Falls Central School District parent and Stop Common Core warrior Deborah Torres Henning shared this report on her facebook page:

I know there are those interested in finding out what went on at the 1st task force meeting. Let me try and summarize: after being required to reserve our spot via sign up, we were told to be there no later than 3:30 for a 4pm start. We were there – the panel wasn’t…until 4:35. There were 65 (SIXTY FIVE) available seats for the audience – huh? Why so limited, and what was the criteria for allowing the audience in? No one on the governors staff could answer that question for me, so I proceeded to enter the room and say hello to familiar faces and fellow warriors.

Then the Task force led by Parsons introduced the members of the Task force panel. The presenters included a panel of 5, 2 of which were wishy washy in their stance for?against? ( Dr. Linda Sturges, Professor of Mathematics & Mathematics and Computer Science Curriculum Supervisor, SUNY Maritime College and Robert Horan, Superintendent, Schodack Central School District ); 1 who must’ve left her pom poms at home for her cc cheerleading and I swore was going to kiss herself bc she thought she was so great (Judy Kelly, English Teacher, Sleepy Hollow High School; English Department Chair, Sleepy Hollow High School & Middle School; President, Local Teachers Union ) and 2 presenters who actually wowed me (Jamaal Bowman, Principal, Cornerstone Academy for Social Action and Lisa Rudley, Westchester County Parent, Co-Founder and Executive Director of New York State Allies for Public Education )

While I may not agree with all of NYSAPE’s or BAT’s approaches to addressing this reform debacle, these two individuals did me proud! They were informed, they knew their stuff and they went to bat against the test and punish culture. Both called for the removal of teacher evaluations linked to testing IMMEDIATELY. Both called for more local control and to bring back creativty, communication, and critical thinking to educating our children, and that we needed to educate the whole child and that just wasn’t being done anymore and its WRONG.

While Jamaal did an outstanding job, and discussed design thinking and problem solving methodology, and something called I-Ready (I have to research that), I wished he had done just one more thing after his presentation – and that was to DROP THE MIKE! It was THAT good!

Lisa was so jarring to their smug senses that they pummeled her in the question and answer portion between the presenters and the task force members. She held her own and didn’t falter. She knew her stuff! One member, Sam Radford, had the audacity to come down on Lisa about what her credentials were and how could we trust her integrity for being the voice of parents…we have NO idea how HE was chosen to be on this task force, and he dares to ask her THAT? He’s a punk, I guess that’s why Cuomo put him on there.

The arrows kept flying at Lisa, but she not only was able to succinctly deflect them with actual information and reason, she had a few of us supporting her the way you would expect us seasoned warriors trying to protect their own – LOUDLY!

The questions the task force asked sounded as if they had never heard any of this before. “how do you know the testing is bad?”, “what evidence do you have to support this?”, “can you get us the data and research to support blah blah blah?” Hey! Aren’t THEY the ones who are supposed to get the research and data??? Grrrrrr….. There was so much more, but I just wanted to get my initial thoughts out before my head burst.

There are 12 of these meetings scheduled around the state – PLEASE make sure that if there is one within a 2 hour radius from your home, you get to one! Our voices and our support is needed for the presenters who are trying to speak out against CC, Testing, Data Collection, RttT and all the other tentacles.

Regional Public Sessions – Friday, November 6th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
One session will be held in each region of the state (total of 10 meetings). Regional meeting details will be available on the Task Force website early next week.
Public Session Two – Wednesday, November 18th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Erie County – meeting details will be announced on the Task Force website as they become available.
The public is also encouraged to submit comments and recommendations to the Common Core Task Force on its website,ny.gov/CommonCoreTaskForce.

 

Additional reporting on the first public meeting:

New Paltz BOE Stands Against Use of State Tests to Evaluate Teachers

The New Paltz Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution against the use of state test scores to evaluate the efficacy of teachers and schools on November 4, 2015.

Read the resolution here.

After seven points about the Value Added Model (VAM), the BOE concludes:

Our conclusion is that the results produced by the current assessment system are unproven, volatile, and lack utility. We call upon the Board of Regents and Legislature to immediately suspend all state assessments that use a VAM or growth theory until there is evidence of efficacy.

The BOE gives four points about APPR and concludes:

Our conclusion is that the current APPR mandates are invalid measures of educator- and school district-effectiveness and present serious short- and long-term risks to the availability of instructional talent.

Finally after three points on the utility of student assessment data, the conclusion is reached:

Our conclusion is that the data produced by the state assessment system provide no value while simultaneously diverting resources away from initiatives that serve districts’ missions.

Based on the conclusions presented, the New Paltz Central School District makes the following recommendation:

The Board of Education of the New Paltz Central School District asks the Board of Regents, State Education Department, New York State Legislature, and Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare an immediate moratorium on the current testing mandates and for that moratorium to continue until such time as a body of evidence for their efficacy in improving instruction has been fully established. We also request that no Smart Bond funds are expended to computerize an evaluation system based on the Value Added Model. – New Paltz CSD Board of Education Resolution Regarding Value Added Model

Note the request to not use any of the Smart Schools Bond fund money for testing.  A concern of many of those who advocated against passage of the Smart Schools Bond Act was that it would be used to cement testing/Common Core within the schools.  We need to make sure that does not happen while everyone is still ‘deciding’ what is to be done about Common Core/testing.

The New Paltz BOE will send their resolution to the Board of Regents, including our local Regent Josephine Finn, for consideration before the Regents meeting on November 16, 2015.  The New Paltz BOE also asks that the resolution be shared widely so that other New York parents and school districts can contact the Board of Regents to show support of the resolution.

Editorial: Finally, testing obsession is under review

This editorial from lohud is an excellent summary of the state of testing and Common Core in New York right now with a bit thrown in about President Obama’s about-face on testing last week.

At the first public meeting of Gov. Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force on Thursday, a Bronx principal named Jamaal Bowman displayed a picture of his young daughter on a big screen and said he would not send her to a public school in New York because of our “test-and-punish culture.” The task force members, including state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, sat impassively at the College of New Rochelle as Bowman, an invited speaker, decried an overemphasis on standardized testing at the expense of innovation, creativity and richer methods of measuring student achievement.

Read the rest of the article here.

I would like to highlight the following points where parents have made a difference as noted by the editorial staff:

  • Cuomo’s task force is charged with reviewing New York’s testing program and its close ties to the Common Core standards by year’s end.
  • Cuomo just named Bedford Superintendent Jere Hochman his deputy for education. Hochman has sharply criticized New York’s focus on “high-stakes” testing and has called for the state’s widely disliked teacher evaluation system, tied to student test scores, to be torn up and replaced.
  • Longtime Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who has overseen the state’s test-centric “reform” agenda, will leave the board when her term is up in March.
  • The state Education Department is also reviewing individual Common Core standards — but not the role of the Core itself.
  • The Board of Regents plans a serious review of the teacher evaluation system, which Cuomo and legislators have essentially taken control of in recent years.
  • Congress is trying —struggling, really — to rewrite the federal No Child Left Behind law to reduce the federal role in education while maintaining accountability measures for school systems.

The battle for the education of our kids has been long and hard and there is still much to do.  We don’t know yet if those in charge of ‘education’ are really going to start listening but we can hope that this is a step on the path to dealing with the testing mess and Common Core.  Do not despair and continue to do what is best for the children.

It’s debatable how much Obama’s new posture will help. But he knowingly gave a shot in the arm to parents, teachers and others who are fed up with federal and state prescriptions for saving our supposedly failing schools.

Have no doubt that New York’s opt-out movement forced Cuomo, legislators, the Regents and newcomer Elia to reconsider testing and related policies. Tisch and Elia may condemn opting out as counterproductive, but when 1 in 5 bubble sheets are not filled out, which is what happened in New York last spring, you’ve got a big problem on your hands.

******

In case you can not access the lohud editorial, here is a PDF containing the article – Editorial_ Finally, testing obsession is under review

 

Board of Regents approves 50% of teacher evaluation based on state test scores

The Board of Regents voted 10-6 to approve the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system that bases 50% of the evaluation on the test scores of the students sitting in the classroom.  The current evaluation system is not just bad for our teachers; it is bad for our students!

I am getting tired of the ‘heavy hearts’ and ‘nose holding’ but still going along with what Governor Cuomo wants. The state legislators did it in March (read here and here). The board of Regents did it in June and again today. I want someone in Albany to have the guts to stand up and tell Governor Cuomo that his education plans are BAD and New York says No!

Regent Tilles talks of a ‘lack of confidence in the current evaluation system’ but he still voted for it.

“We have to express a lack of confidence in the current evaluation system,” said Regent Roger Tilles of Long Island, who voted for the rules. “We have to express a lack of confidence in the current growth model. We have to … call for changes to the evaluation system as it currently exists.”  – “After debate, Regents pass teacher-evaluation rules”  Democrat & Chronicle September 15, 2015

I KNOW I have a lack of confidence in 10 members of the Board of Regents who voted to continue the current teacher and principal evaluation system that places 50% of the evaluation squarely on the shoulders of the students sitting in the classroom.

Diane Ravitch got it exactly right in her blog on September 16, 2015:

Today, the New York Board of Regents will vote to approve the harsh and punitive educator evaluation plan that Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through the Legislature last spring as part of a budget bill.

In doing so, the Regents will abandon their Constitutional authority over education policy. The New York State Constitution grants full control over education to the Board of Regents. It grants none to the Governor. The Governor does not appoint a single member of the 17-member Board of Regents. The State Legislature selects them. The Governor does not appoint the state Commissioner of Education. That is the job of the Regents.

Today the Regents will approve Cuomo’s plan to tie 50% of educator evaluations to student test scores. The Governor’s plan was shaped in his office, without benefit of hearings, public discussion, public debate, or expert testimony.

The Regents have the power to reassert their Constitutional authority. But they are weak. They will fold to the will of a Governor whose determination to rule is greater than the Regents’ commitment to the State Constitution. Or to the children, or to the educators, or to the best interests of education in New York.

Parents have been ignored throughout this charade of the Governor flexing his political muscle. They will have a chance to be heard next spring, when the tests are administered. More students will opt out, more than the 220,000 who refused the tests in 2015. Will it be 300,000? 400,000? This is parents’ only means to be heard. They will be heard.

I will be doing everything I can to make sure that the 10 Regents who voted in support of the continued emphasis on state testing today will NOT be re-appointed.  Ulster County representative Regent Josephine Finn is one of the 10 who voted to continue the teacher evaluation system that is harmful to our students, teachers and local public schools.

Regents APPR vote 9 16 2015

Regents Rosa, Cashin, Chin, Collins, Johnson and Ouderkirk voted against the teacher evaluation system in June and again today. Please thank them for taking a stand for the children.

I will also be encouraging parents to continue to REFUSE the state tests for grades 3-8.  Apparently 220,000 test REFUSALS were not enough to let New York State know that the tests are unsatisfactory to the parents of New York so I guess we will have to have more REFUSALS.

Test refusal letter links:

 

Diane Ravitch response to the widely expected (and disappointing) “vote” by the NYS Regents today making Cuomo’s attack on public schools permanent. Again, no surprise that the weak Regents bowed to a bully Cuomo, but the blatant ignoring of over 20,000 written appeals to vote NO is appalling. The Regents, Legislature and Governor are all begging parents to Opt their kids out of this mess (oh.. And they’re renaming Common Core – same problems, different name).

All 6 votes against we’re women, all men voted yes joined by 3 women and Brown from Rochester was absent. Nice.

“Today, the New York Board of Regents will vote to approve the harsh and punitive educator evaluation plan that Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through the Legislature last spring as part of a budget bill.

In doing so, the Regents will abandon their Constitutional authority over education policy. The New York State Constitution grants full control over education to the Board of Regents. It grants none to the Governor. The Governor does not appoint a single member of the 17-member Board of Regents. The State Legislature selects them. The Governor does not appoint the state Commissioner of Education. That is the job of the Regents.

Today the Regents will approve Cuomo’s plan to tie 50% of educator evaluations to student test scores. The Governor’s plan was shaped in his office, without benefit of hearings, public discussion, public debate, or expert testimony.

The Regents have the power to reassert their Constitutional authority. But they are weak. They will fold to the will of a Governor whose determination to rule is greater than the Regents’ commitment to the State Constitution. Or to the children, or to the educators, or to the best interests of education in New York.

Parents have been ignored throughout this charade of the Governor flexing his political muscle. They will have a chance to be heard next spring, when the tests are administered. More students will opt out, more than the 220,000 who refused the tests in 2015. Will it be 300,000? 400,000? This is parents’ only means to be heard. They will be heard.”

Call Board of Regents today 9/16/15 BEFORE 3pm!

The resolution to make the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system permanent is on the Board of Regents agenda for 3:15pm today September 16, 2015.

Contact Ulster County Board of Regents member Josephine Finn and tell her to vote NO on making the evaluation system permanent.

Josephine Finn (518) 474-5889  Regent.Finn@nysed.gov

 

Also contact the at-large Board of Regents members and tell them to vote NO.

Merryl Tisch  (518) 474-5889   Regent.Tisch@nysed.gov

Lester W. Young, Jr.  (718) 722-2796  Regent.Young@nysed.gov

James E. Cottrell  (718) 270-2331  Regent.Cottrell@nysed.gov

Wade Norwood  (585) 436-2944 (when you get his work # its 110 NOT 111)  Regent.Norwood@nysed.gov

If you are not familiar with the problems associated with the evaluation system and why it is bad for STUDENTS and teachers, click on the APPR topic in the right sidebar to read more.

Contact the Board of Regents today!

Contact Ulster County Board of Regents member Josephine Finn and tell her to vote NO on making the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system permanent at the Regents meeting next week (September 16-17, 2015).

Josephine Finn (518) 474-5889  Regent.Finn@nysed.gov

The current evaluation system (temporarily approved by the Board of Regents in June 2015) is not just bad for teachers.  It is bad for our students.

This evaluation system bases 50% of the evaluation on the test scores of the students sitting in the teacher’s class.  Talk about a heavy weight on those students’ shoulders.  Such a heavy emphasis on the tests also promotes teaching to the test and narrowing of the curriculum which adversely affect students’ education.

You can read further on why the tests are bad for teachers AND students here.

Call and email Regent Finn now!