NYS Assembly Bill to Rein in “Regents’ Education Reform Agenda” is a Starting Point, but Not Nearly Enough: Incumbent Regents Must Not be Reappointed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  March 8, 2014
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 www.nysape.org

The leaders of the NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of more than 45 parent and educator groups from throughout the state, acknowledge that the passage of Assembly bill A8929  http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A08929&term=2013  is a step in the right direction, but we urge the Senate to strengthen this legislation by significantly reducing the time taken up by testing and cut it back to 2010 levels.

We also urge the legislature to appoint an independent panel of experts to evaluate the Common Core Learning Standards and make recommendations so they meet the varied needs of New York students. Furthermore, we are encouraging the Senate to pass Senator Robach’s stand-alone bill on student privacy S5932-A, http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S5932-2013, that requires parental consent before redisclosing their children’s personal information, and strengthens student privacy rights.  Finally, we also believe that it is imperative that on Tuesday, March 11, the members of the legislature vote “No” on all of the incumbent Regents.

According to Carol Burris, South Side High School Principal and 2013 NY High School Principal of the Year, While we appreciate the Assembly’s efforts to try to unwind the mess that the State Education Department has created, this can only be a first step.  We expect that our legislators will vote against the re-appointment of the four incumbent Regents on Tuesday.  The Regents and leadership at SED need to get a strong message–your lack of responsiveness to parents and your refusal to fix the damage you created will not be rewarded.”

“Even as we appreciate the Assembly making positive change, parents remain very concerned about those who allowed this to happen in the first place.   We have not forgotten that the flawed rollout of the Common Core Standards occurred under the watch of Education Commissioner John King and the Board of Regents.  It is imperative that legislators vote “No” to allowing the four incumbent Regents to remain in their seats,” said Jessica McNair, New Hartford public school parent of two children.  

“I am happy that my child’s privacy will be afforded some protection under this bill, however I am deeply concerned that many elementary school students with disabilities will endure nine hours of testing over a six day period.  This is unconscionable and I hope that an immediate solution can be found,” remarked Bianca Tanis, New Paltz public school parent and special education teacher.

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters stated, “We thank the Assembly for listening to parent concerns by delaying inBloom until at least July 2015, and allowing parents to opt out of data-sharing. We hope the Senate follows up by passing the Robach bill, S5932-A, http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S5932-2013 which has bipartisan support and an even more comprehensive approach to protecting student privacy, by requiring robust security measures of all vendors, penalties for violations, and limiting the inter-agency collection of personal student data.”

“The Assembly bill takes some positive actions, but it does not change the harmful amount of time our children will spend on the state assessments this April.  If the Common Core implementation has been flawed, why put so much pressure on students for higher test scores?” asked Chris Cerrone, Western New York parent of two elementary children.

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