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New York State Parents Reject Proposed Legislation that Does Nothing to Protect Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7th, 2015

More information contact:
Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) – www.nysape.org

New York State Parents Reject Proposed Legislation that Does Nothing to Protect Students

Recent legislation proposed by both Senator Flanagan and Assemblywoman Nolan is a far cry from the changes demanded by over 200,000 families who chose to opt their children out of harmful state tests and test driven public education. Parents in New York State will not be satisfied with legislation that does nothing to correct the Governor’s efforts to double down on testing and fails to protect our children. Senate Bill 5124 and its companion bill in the Assembly merely provide a one month delay of a deplorable teacher evaluation system that hurts students and will continue to diminish the quality of instruction in our public schools.

While this bill has bipartisan support, it fails to amend the ill-conceived policies that have been foisted upon NYS public schoolchildren, policies devoid of any research, evidence or expert knowledge. Parents demand that those in power rescind the flawed and invalid use of test scores to judge teachers and takeover schools. As today’s Learning Summit will prove, the disastrous education policies voted into law by our legislature leave little discretion for the Board of Regents to reduce the use of draconian test and punish strategies and neither does the Nolan/Flanagan bill.

“I am outraged by the disregard for the way in which our children are being robbed of the education they deserve in favor of test prep, test driven instruction and a narrowed curriculum. It does nothing to address the unthinkable burden placed upon young students who must sit for hours and hours of tests with the full knowledge that their unreliable scores will be used to evaluate their teacher. It is clear that our elected officials are either not listening or are unwilling to put our children ahead of politics,” said Lisa Rudley, a Westchester County public school parent and Co-Founder of NYS Allies for Public Education.

Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent said, “Education policy should be created by those who have experience teaching children, not those who rarely set foot inside a classroom. Would you bring your car to the dentist for a tune up? It’s time for our legislators to stand up to the Governor. Our children deserve an education governed by research and evidence, not political vendettas. Until the tests are decoupled from high stakes, parents will continue to refuse these tests.”

“The current legislation prohibits student work samples, parent communication, and lesson plans from being used to evaluate teachers. This is clearly absurd and illogical yet Nolan and Flanagan’s proposed legislation does nothing to fix these egregious lapses of common sense,” said Jessica McNair, Oneida County public school parent.

Jeanette Deutermann, a Nassau public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out said, “As parents we are tired of disingenuous attempts to placate us. Absent from this legislation are truly independent and scholarly studies of the Common Core Learning Standards and the appropriateness of test passages and questions. Leaving this analysis in the hands of the Commissioner with token educator input is akin to leaving the fox in charge of the hen house. This bill is nothing more than political smoke and mirrors. Until they get it right, we will continue to refuse the tests beginning on the first day of school.”

Until policy and lawmakers ensure that public education in New York State is driven by thoughtful, research based policies, New York State Allies for Public Education urges parents to continue to opt out of harmful education practices.

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