FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 4, 2015
More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; firstname.lastname@example.org
NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org
The Message of 220,000 Opt-Outs Has Not Been Heard: Elia Calls Opt-Out Parents “Unreasonable”
and Cuomo Continues Trampling on the NYS Constitution
For over three years parents across New York have called on Albany to substantially change the direction of education reforms built on the flawed Common Core, its intertwined high-stakes testing and fundamentally broken teacher evaluation system.
Despite outrage with the appointment of an education commissioner without a public process, parents initially withheld their concerns with MaryEllen Elia and the reports of her support for Common Core reforms coupled with a heavy-handed, non-collaborative approach that factored in her firing in Florida.
Just a few short weeks into her appointment in New York however, Elia has proven parent skeptics right. She has adopted the “tough-talk” tactics of Andrew Cuomo and Merryl Tisch, apparently as cover for a governor and chancellor who have dramatically softened their education rhetoric to the public. Elia has labeled opt out parents as ‘unreasonable’, opt out supporting educators ‘unethical’ and threatened funding cuts if opt outs are not stopped.
In a press release yesterday expressing “sympathy” for parents, Cuomo called for a review of the Common Core in New York, blaming the State Education Department’s implementation while vowing to revive his Common Core panel to review the mess.
Parents across the state are not fools. They know the problems are hardly limited to implementation of the Common Core, but the actual Common Core itself, its excessive testing, and a fundamentally broken teacher evaluation system.
Parents know that Andrew Cuomo is not part of the solution. Cuomo is the problem.
It is Cuomo who forced his unproven teacher evaluation system down parents’ throats.
It is Cuomo who slashed and underfunded the State Education Department staffing.
It is Cuomo who accepted ‘Big Donor’ campaign money and enabled the build-up of a privatized, unaccountable shadow government within the State Education Department –The Regents Research Fellows—who created the “Implementation” mess Cuomo now blames.
It is Cuomo who repeatedly tramples on the New York State Constitution–which gives a NY Governor NO authority over education policy—with his serial habit of forming pro-corporate education reform stacked panels, complete with Washington lobbyists salivating to eliminate parental consent for data profiling of children.
Parents of New York are outraged and will continue the fight to take back their schools and classrooms from the Albany shenanigans of Andrew Cuomo, Merryl Tisch and MaryEllen Elia.
“In New York, Governor Cuomo and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, teamed up for the past five years to turn theory and promise of the Common Core into a living nightmare for our children and their teachers. Parents see through the ploys and will not back down. We will continue to refuse to participate in the Common Core tests that are destroying our schools and our children’s education. Governor Cuomo’s role in this mess will not be ignored.” – Jeannette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and Long Island Opt Out founder.
“The spirit of our children is being broken. When will Albany start really paying attention and make the changes that parents are asking? We want our classrooms back, we want our teachers to teach, and we want a well-rounded curriculum for all our children. More test prep or testing is not the answer to closing the achievement gap.” –Charmaine Dixon, Brooklyn public school parent and NYC Opt Out member.
“Parents will not stop fighting for their kids. Tests MUST be decoupled from teacher evaluations, state tests MUST be reduced, and student data MUST NOT be shared without parental consent.” –Eric Mihelbergel, Western NY public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.
“The corrupt influence of ‘Big Money’ and ‘Big Data’ Collection in New York has ushered in the most destructive education laws and policies in the nation based on model American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) legislation and “pushed” by the privatized Regent Research Fellows think tank. Parents very clearly see how profit motives are driving the loss of local control in their children’s classroom…and they reject it.” -Lisa Rudley, Westchester public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.
“The results of the recent annual PDK/Gallup education poll are telling. An overwhelming majority (64%) of Americans say there is too much emphasis on testing in schools and a majority of public school parents oppose the Common Core. How much longer will parents in New York tolerate what Albany is doing to their children’s classrooms? The next election cycle will be very telling,” said Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator, and CNY Opt Out founder.
NYSAPE, a grassroots organization with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state are calling on parents to continue to opt out by refusing high-stakes testing starting on the first days of school. Go to https://www.nysape.org/resources.html for more details on how to be part of the Great Opt Out of this decade.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7th, 2015
More information contact:
Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; email@example.com
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 23, 2015
More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; email@example.com
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) www.nysape.org
NYS Ed Commissioner Elia is Misleading Public with Deceptive Common Core Survey
Immediately following the release of NY Education Commissioner’s Maryellen Elia’s Common Core ‘AimHighNY’ survey a few weeks ago, critics sounded the alarm that the State Education Department was preventing the public from offering any comment on the standards that did not adhere to the survey’s arcane format –a complex maze of ‘click here’ boxes for each specific standard.
During this month’s Board of Regents meeting, Commissioner Elia claimed that the survey DID provide the opportunity for general public comment and that she never expected people to respond to each specific standard.
Calls to the NYS Education Department following that meeting revealed there was no opportunity for general public comment in the survey, and feedback NOT aligned with the lengthy and complex standard-by-standard format would NOT be included in the public record.
From the NYSED website, “This [survey] is not a referendum on the standards. Only comments tied to a specific standard will be considered.”
Experts, parents, and educators alike are outraged. Not only is the survey fundamentally flawed, it is designed to silence legitimate criticism and exclude the views of most members of the public, who according to the polls, overwhelming oppose the Common Core standards.
Sandra Stotsky, a leading expert who designed the esteemed Massachusetts education standards, said, “A review of a set of standards, standard by standard, is a dishonest and deliberately unproductive method for the state to ask for because the organization of the standards is the key to their quality and effectiveness, whether in mathematics or English language arts.”
“Members of the public are not fooled. When you ask for ‘Public Comment’ but prevent most parents and teachers who do not have the time to follow your complicated rules, we know that you are really not interested in what they have to say. The survey is designed to block out dissenting voices,” said Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator, and Opt Out CNY founder.
“Elia has declared war on parents who are trying to protect their children from these harmful reforms. This disingenuous survey along with Elia’s ‘fear mongering’ School Administrator Toolkit demonstrates a complete disregard for parents who are choosing not to participate in this failed system,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and Long Island Opt Out founder.
Alan Singer, Hofstra University professor and Huffington Post blogger, wrote in his recent post [link] “… the problem with this bogus survey is not each individual standard. No one is going to vote that we should not teach children to read, write, and think. However, nowhere can you vote that Common Core Standards aligned with high-stakes testing have undermined education in New York State, stressed out students and teachers, turned curriculum development over to test design companies, and transformed schools into test prep academies. These are the real reasons parents and teachers oppose the Common Core.”
Parents know the poorly designed survey is the reason why only 5500 people across the entire state have responded. Elia also reported at the Board of Regents meeting that while most speakers at public hearings have been opposed to the Common Core, this controversial survey shows a different result that so far, 70% of teachers [less than 1% of NY Teachers responded] support the Common Core.
“The Albany Fix is already in. Parents predict Commissioner Elia’s survey press release will likely declare that despite overwhelming opposition in statewide polls and at public hearings, a majority of respondents support the Common Core,” said Lisa Rudley, Hudson Valley public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.
Instead, NYSAPE just released a user-friendly survey to maximize public participation and input, and offer the results to the Board of Regents, Commissioner Elia and the Governor’s Common Core Task Force for their consideration.
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) is a coalition of more than 50 parent and educator grassroots organizations throughout the state.
Demand he speak up and use his influence to get New York’s education system back on the right course.
“The Governor has tried to distance himself from the current uproar by claiming that education is not his jurisdiction. As evidenced in this letter (http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/lettertoBoardofRegents) to Chancellor Merryl Tisch in 2011 regarding performance evaluations for teachers, the Governor has a huge influence over what happens to our schools, and it is his responsibility to protect the children of this state from further damage” says Tim Farley, a parent and a principal of the Ichabod Crane School in Kinderhook, New York.
Phone #(518) 474-8390
Fax # (518) 474-1513.
Here is the Press Release:
The Biden Administration Fails to Put Children First; NYSAPE Urges Parents to Opt Out
In a recent letter released by Ian Rosenblum, Acting Assistant Secretary of Education and former Executive Director of the reformer organization Education Trust NY, the USDOE and the Biden Administration have signaled that testing waivers submitted by the states will be denied this year.
CALL ALBANY LEADERS AND YOUR LEGISLATORS to Vote NO to a Budget filled with Governor Cuomo’s Destructive Education Agenda Reforms. Tell Them, Local Control of OUR SCHOOLS is NOT FOR SALE!