Monica Kennedy Kounter and I attended a “Tea and Conversation” with Assemblywoman Fahy in Guilderland on Friday June 6, 2014. Assemblywoman Fahy is not my assemblywoman but I have seen her at an event or two because she has worked with Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and I found it very interesting to hear her thoughts on a variety of topics.
Assemblywoman Fahy said that education is very near and dear to her heart and she talked quite a bit about education funding. She said that she believes the Assembly did not go far enough with regards to dealing with over-testing. She seems to be okay with the Common Core standards however.
When Monica and I asked her before the group discussion started ‘What can parents do?’ (with regards to Common Core), her suggestions were:
- Get to NYSUT (to get the union to support/work with parents)
- try to get pieces of the bill A8844 that was held through the assembly
- Fahy was not familiar with Dr. Stotsky when told about Common Sense Education Lobby Day but when she heard Dr. Stotsky was from Massachusetts, she suggested the following: King refers to Massachusetts as his model all the time – have Dr. Stotsky write an invitation to Commissioner King, since she wrote the Massachusetts standards, to attend the rally on June 17/her presentation and then publicize the invitation
- King keeps playing the race card – Fahy thinks we need to make our group (those speaking against Common Core) more diverse, get into the urban areas more
Notes from audience group discussion with Assemblywoman Fahy:
- education investment tax credit – she has worked a lot to fight this, Cardinal Dolan supports – $675 million tax credit to private schools and charter schools; she isn’t necessarily opposed to charter schools and she is Catholic but doesn’t support up to a 90% tax credit for someone making up to a million dollars – shifting their tax into a foundation, Cuomo has this as a top priority (to pass) for this year
- Fahy has a bill to give superintendents flexibility to assign community service (instead of other punishment) to students. It has passed the senate but stuck in committee in the Assembly. She believes she is being punished for standing up on other issues.
- Do e-mails/letters make a difference? YES! faxes are a pain in the neck – don’t send. e-mails are good, mass e-mails are effective, mail is very slow at the federal level due to anthrax checking/calls are better, no anthrax checking at state level, numbers really do matter, 13,000(Stop Common Core in New York number of members) isn’t enough for the Common Core issue.
- Monica’s question – bill regarding assessment piece doesn’t help youngest students. what would you like to see if partisan problem was gone? answer: immediate need is dealing with teacher evaluation. need to take growth rate provision out, reduce the number of tests tied to teacher evaluations (including SLOs) Guilderland superintendent said their school wants way to lift burden of the assessments. Fahy says dealing with teacher evaluation helps students because teachers are testing the very young kids (SLOs are being administered even in kindergarten). superintendent suggestion – rather than having teacher growth targets for each teacher/class, have school growth targets. says they believe student progress in grade 3 is connected to how they did in earlier grades so school growth goals are appropriate.
- New York over-relies on property taxes to fund local government and education. Have not seen mandate relief that was talked about with tax cap introduction. Fahy does not believe that tax cap will go away because property owners like the relief and the rebate will probably stay as well because they will like getting the check.
- discussion of confidential managers (not even exactly sure what that is but seems to be a particular group of state employees not being treated very fairly) who have received no pay increase for 6 years. the only reason I include this is because Fahy said it is hard to get any action on this because most of the managers are concentrated in the Albany area so only about 3 Assembly people affected so hard to get any support for bills to deal with the situation. This seems very unfair to a segment of the state employees (who can not even unionize) and is similar to the minority who lost out on bill A8844 in education committee. My personal question for us to think about: How do we stop having things have to be treated as ‘pet projects’ in Albany and really take care of what needs to be dealt with?
After I posted my summary of Assemblywoman Fahy’s comments and my assessment that she seemed to be okay with the Common Core Standards, Anna Shah, administrator of Hudson Valley Against Common Core, shared that
In Fall, I spoke to her and she informed me that she was staunchly opposed to CC bc it had an adverse impact on ELL and special needs students among other things. In deed, she also said the same remarks in a radio interview – that she is against CC completely.
Anna posted the following recordings of interviews from Assemblywoman Fahy. I do not want to inaccurately represent Assemblywoman Fahy’s views and my statement above that ‘she seems to be okay with the Common Core Standards’ is my inference rather than something she specifically said so I leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions unless anyone can find a more definitive statement from Assemblywoman Fahy.
Assemblywoman Fahy speaks starting about 39 minutes into this recording.
Here is Pat Fahy’s radio appearance from October 2013 where she states CCSS are rife with problems and she believes they are not conducive to ELL, special needs et al. Concededly, she discusses “implementation” problems w CC; she doesnt state that she is against CC per se, but she doesnt sound like she supports them either. – Anna Shah