January 27, 2016 Mr. Tim Kremer, Executive Director New York State School Boards Association 24 Century Hill Drive, Suite 200 Latham, NY 12110-2125 Dear Mr. Kremer,
This letter is in response to your commentary titled, “
,” in the January 25th edition of NYSSBA’s
. 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 ha
You continue with several examples where you believe some changes have been made, such as:
The governor has “
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
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 l
aw, 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 refusal
s is their best
course of action.” Our response to this is we wouldn’t even be having a conversation if over 240,000