Category Archives: Common Core

New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), Long Island Opt Out, New York BATs, NYC Opt Out and Stronger Together Join Forces

Commissioner Elia & NYSED Untimed Testing Policy Violates Law: Parents & Educators Demand Board of Regents Intervene

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 11, 2016  nysape
More information contact:
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) www.nysape.org
Commissioner Elia & NYSED Untimed Testing Policy Violates Law:
Parents & Educators Demand Board of Regents Intervene

Despite efforts by NYS Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia and others to suppress refusal numbers, it appears that the opt out rate for the NYS Common Core ELA tests in grades 3-8 matched or surpassed last year’s figures. As a result of Commissioner Elia’s unilateral decision to implement a policy of untimed testing, some 8, 9, and 10-year old students sat for hours trying to finish these exams, in some cases taking 4-6 hours per day for three consecutive days.

Not only does the practice of untimed testing for young students violate the generally accepted standards for test development as per the American Psychological Association, parents and educators contend that it is breaking the law.  In 2014, New York State passed a law placing a 1% cap on the amount of instructional hours that could be spent on mandated state testing. As a result of Commissioner Elia’s new untimed test directive, many students have spent more than 4 times the amount of time on state testing than New York State law allows.

Parents and educators are demanding the Board of Regents put a stop to a policy that was not only implemented by the Commissioner without a Board of Regents’ vote, but is unsupported by research, violates the 1% test cap law and ultimately, results in cruel and grossly inappropriate testing conditions.

Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator and technical advisor to the Task Force said, “It is outrageous that despite the Common Core Task Force’s recommendation that the state undertake a formal review of untimed testing, Commissioner Elia, a member of the task force, chose to forgo her own recommendation and essentially experiment on our children by implementing an untimed testing without formal review or a vote by the Board of Regents.”

“These tests teach children to hate school and establish bad memories associated with testing which will persist for decades. Once again, policy makers have shown that they do not understand children or schools. We will not allow New York state to abuse our children’s sincere desire to do well. Until we see radical change, opt outs will continue to grow,” said Charmaine Dixon, Brooklyn public school parent, PTA President PS 203.

“Not only did the Commissioner bypass any formal review, under her leadership NYSED failed to require school districts to maintain any data regarding the number of students testing beyond the suggested end times, let alone how long students worked for.  This sloppy oversight reflects a gross lack of concern for the many young children who sat for up to 18 hours of testing over the course of three days last week and will make it more difficult for parents and policymakers to have a true understanding of how much instructional time has been lost to testing and whether or not the state law has been broken. One can only hope that this oversight was not intentional,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent and educator.

“Without any oversight or monitoring of its impact, this policy is directing schools to violate the 1% test cap law. The failure of the NYSED to keep any official records of how long individual students are spending on these tests is neglectful at best. At worst, this is a blatant attempt to evade the law and deceive the public under the guise of reducing test anxiety for children,” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

“There has to be a better way forward for our children. Students are working incredibly hard to do their best and are sometimes testing for 4 hours in a single sitting. For students with special needs, English language learners, and those who aren’t developmentally ready, these untimed tests are akin to torture. We must pivot toward a holistic education system where kids are inspired to share their brilliance and do their best, as opposed to our current poorly designed top down test and punish system. Neither the SAT, GRE, or LSAT, take as long to complete as the current 3rd grade ELA exam. We have to do better,” said Jamaal Bowman, parent and Bronx educator.

In a recent interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal news, Commissioner Elia stated “We’re going to look to try to get it down from three days (of testing) to two, maybe we won’t be able to … we’re going to review it.” Clearly there is no end in sight to developmentally inappropriate state assessments that waste valuable instructional time and violate the state’s test cap law.

NYSAPE, a grassroots coalition with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state, is calling on parents to continue to opt out by refusing high-stakes, inappropriate testing for the 2015-16 school year. Go to www.nysape.org for more details.

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KPCTA: Changes are a good step in the right direction, but not sufficient enough to remove the concerns surrounding the State tests.

The following was posted on the Kings Park Classroom Teachers Association’s Facebook Page.  Please consider sharing with your friends.

Over the last couple of years, parents have become increasingly aware of the high stakes associated with State standardized tests administered in 3rd through 8th grade in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Many parents are looking towards their child’s teacher for advice and guidance. First and foremost, it would be inappropriate for any individual teacher to advise you on whether or not to refuse the test for your child. As President of the Kings Park Classroom Teachers Association (KPCTA), however, it is my job on behalf of all our teachers to point out the difficulties with these exams.

NYS recently enacted some small changes for this year’s tests. It is our opinion that these changes are a good step in the right direction, but not sufficient enough to remove the concerns surrounding the State tests. Students who sit for the exams will still encounter tests that were made by a test vendor who has no idea who your child is, let alone their individual strengths or weaknesses. The State has said that the tests will be shorter, but as you look closely, in many cases the difference is only a few questions compared to the number in prior years. Students will still be spending many hours over multiple days taking these tests. Additionally, teachers continue to be under pressure to provide “test prep,” as the assessment data from these exams is still reportable to NYS. All of this translates to undue stress on the students and an unnecessary loss of instructional time. The KPCTA is strongly opposed to the usage of high stakes standardized tests to evaluate students and teachers.
If you determine that your child will not take these tests, it is imperative that they refuse the entire “battery” of the ELA, Math, and/or Science tests. If they take a portion of the test on one day and then refuse on the remaining day(s), their test will be scored on the portion of the test they completed, producing a lower than normal score which could have a detrimental effect.

As for the procedure to indicate a test refusal, I encourage you to notify your child’s teacher as soon as possible. The NYS Allies for Public Education (www.nysape.org) along with the Kings Park Advocates for Education (www.kpae.us) both have sample letters posted on their websites available for you to use in indicating a test refusal for your child.
Protecting the educational, social, and emotional wellbeing of all students is what brings individuals into the teaching profession. We will continue to be strong advocates for a safe, appropriate, and healthy learning environment for all of our students. It is our hope that in the future both the Federal and State Education departments leave curriculum and assessment decisions in the hands of the professionals in the field – your teachers!

Sincerely,
Christopher Philp, President

NYSAPE: Obama & Cuomo’s Education Statements Offer NO Testing Relief or Reduction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 26, 2015
More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org
Link to release: http://www.nysape.org/nysape-pr-response-to-obama.html

Obama & Cuomo’s Education Statements Offer NO Testing Relief or Reduction

This weekend President Obama’s administration acknowledged its role and responsibility in the massive expansion of testing in schools, and declared US Department of Education would be part of the solution. The “solution” proposed, is a non-binding recommendation to cap the tests at 2% of instructional time.

Parents of New York are not fooled.  They know the cap recommended by President Obama actually is higher than the 1% cap passed by the New York State Legislature in 2014 – a “cap” already violated by the duration of the New York State tests themselves.

Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the Obama announcement this weekend declaring, “I agree with President Obama and Secretary Duncan that we must reverse the overemphasis on testing.”

Parents of New York do not agree with a solution that is NO SOLUTION from President Obama, his outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan and replacement, embattled former NY Education Commissioner John King.  Their statement this weekend keeps excessive testing exactly where it is and does NOTHING to reduce the tests that parents have cried out for.

President Obama, Governor Cuomo, and new NYS Commissioner Maryellen Elia continue to advance an agenda aligned with their donors and fail to heed the warnings of parents.  Opt-Outs will continue to be necessary until the following policies are implemented:

  1. Student test scores are decoupled from the professional evaluations of teachers.
  2. The Common Core is replaced with the “lost” New York State Standards that were held up to public scrutiny before Race to the Top’s incentive scheme forced the NY Standards to be abandoned.
  3. Parental Consent is required for data profiling of students to be shared beyond local community school districts.

Jeanette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out, “I can already save my own kids from the 2%. It’s the other 98% that revolves around testing that I can’t save them from”. And “after 4 years, the acknowledgement of their policies unintended consequences is little consolation to my children whose entire elementary school careers were defined by testing”.

“If the Obama administration expects parents to find comfort in their latest acknowledgement over excessive high-stakes testing – this certainly isn’t the first – they are sorely mistaken. Their proposed remedies are nothing more than tweaks to a test-and-punish regime that remains fundamentally unchanged. Nothing short of a full stop will satisfy parents because our children only get one shot at a K-12 education. The Bush-Obama-Gates grand experiment with public education needs to end – now,” said Nancy Cauthen, parent of two high school students in NYC.

“At the end of the day, both Governor Cuomo and President Obama continue to ignore an indisputable truth- the use of test scores to evaluate the efficacy of teachers and schools corrupt both teaching and learning. Under our current system, inappropriate assessments end up setting the pace and content of instruction rather than the needs and interests of students.  A cap on time spent on testing does nothing to ameliorate this,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent and special education teacher.

“It is not enough to talk about reducing the presence of testing, laws must be changed and policy revised in order to protect our children from the consequences of the failed test and punish agenda.  In failing to make real change, these leaders have only fueled parents’ desire to push back against reforms and protect their children,” said Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator and founder of Opt Out CNY.

Katie Zahedi, Dutchess County principal and parent, “This test-based policy distortion could not have occurred in our public schools without collusion between politicians and corporate supporters since the legislature is charged with oversight of public schools. The question is: are our representatives going to take responsibility for the harm to our students and schools along with the waste of public funds that they now acknowledge. If not, are they at least prepared to assure that they will never act with such cavalier arrogance again?”

“The policies of Cuomo and the Obama Administration have ruined the education of my son, a child with disabilities, who has had to endure five years of their failed policies.  They have also ignored the peer reviewed research on what we need to do to make schools better for our neediest children. We have lost a generation of children, due to their ignorance, egos, and failed policies,” Marla Kilfoyle, Long Island public school parent, educator and BATS Executive Director.

Get your test refusal letter here: http://www.nysape.org/2015-2016-nys-refusal-letter.html and exercise your power NOW to say no to these harmful policies and take back your kid’s classrooms.

NYSAPE Meeting with Commissioner MaryEllen Elia Recap

This was sent via email from our friends at NYSAPE.

On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, NYSAPE steering committee members Carol Burris, Nancy Cauthen, Jeanette Deutermann, Leonie Haimson, Jessica McNair, Lisa Rudley, Anna Shah, Bianca Tanis, and Katie Zahedi along with Diane Ravitch sat down with the new Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia. Also in attendance was SED Chief of External Affairs, Dennis Tompkins.

The purpose of this meeting was to introduce ourselves to the new Commissioner and inform her of our position and our views of troubling NYSED policies. Commissioner Elia was cordial and spent a great deal of time listening to our concerns.

Our meeting confirmed what many have already surmised, Commissioner Elia is deeply committed to the Common Core standards and the test based accountability system that has led to the widespread opt out movement.

Of note, NYSAPE learned that NYSED will still be using the fired testing company Pearson’s ELA & Math tests this spring with Questar assessments beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.

We informed Commissioner Elia of parent concerns and assured her that the opt out movement will continue to grow until changes to laws and policies are made. This document was presented to Commissioner Elia.

NYSAPE may meet with the Commissioner and members of her leadership team in the future as she expressed an interest in keeping the lines of communication open. We will be sure to update you about further developments.

Click here to see the letter sent by NYSAPE to Commissioner Elia

Marla Kilfoyle and Bianca Tanis: Chancellor Tisch Must Take Responsibility for Causing Harm to Students with Disabilities and Pushing Admittedly “Incomprehensible” Tests on New York’s Most Vulnerable Children

The following article was posted by Marla Kilfoyle and Bianca Tanis, both vocal critics of the NYS Regents Reform Agenda.  Diane Ravitch has also written a summary on her blog.

By Marla Kilfoyle and Bianca Tanis

For some time now, the parents of New York have been in full revolt over the testing requirements set down by both federal and state leadership. Parents of children with special needs have been extremely vocal about the fact that Common Core state tests in grades 3-8 are abusive and inappropriate for their children. You can read examples of parents informing Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch that these tests have harmed their children with special needs here, here, here, and here. Despite anecdotal stories of children engaging in self-injury and soiling themselves during state testing, Merryl Tisch blatantly ignored parent concerns and allowed testing abuses to continue. As a result, New York is experiencing the largest parent test revolt in education history.

One of the most public examples of parents voicing their concerns was in the fall of 2013 when Chancellor Tisch listened to hundreds of parents speak out about the harmful effects of New York’s new Common Core tests on their children with disabilities. At first it seemed that some of what she heard at a series of town hall style meetings and forums had made an impact. Shortly after the forums, Chancellor Tisch announced that the state would be requesting a waiver for students with special needs from federal No Child Left Behind testing mandates that she called “cruel and unusual.”

But the Chancellor’s concern was short-lived. Despite calling these tests “cruel and unusual”, Chancellor Tisch spent the next eighteen months attempting to convince parents and the media that any attempts to opt children out of state testing would deprive parents and educators of the meaningful data needed to help struggling students.

In fact, just a few months ago, Chancellor Tisch penned an editorial in which she criticized parents who planned to opt out of state assessments by asserting that opt out hurts the neediest children, characterizing opt out as “putting blinders on.”

In her editorial, Chancellor Tisch states:

“It used to be easy to ignore the most vulnerable students….Without an objective measure of their progress, it was easy to deny special education students and English Language Learners the extra resources they need. Obviously we still need to do more for those students, but now is not the time to put blinders back on.”

Tisch went on to minimize the concerns of parents who refuse state tests by writing:

In short, test refusal is a mistake because it eliminates important information about how our kids are doing. Those who call for “opting out” really want New York to “opt out” of information that can help parents and teachers understand how well students are doing. We cannot go back to ignoring the needs of our children. It’s time to stop making noise to protect the adults and start speaking up for the students.

In April of 2015 Chancellor Tisch continued to downplay parental concerns,  painting the opt out movement as a “labor dispute” between teacher unions and the Governor.

Yet on Monday, July 20th 2015, the very same Chancellor who chastised parents for opting out of assessments made the following public statement:mistake10n-2-web

“Personally, I would say that if I was the mother of a student with a certain type of disability, I would think twice before I allowed my child to sit through  an exam that was incomprehensible to them.”

For parents who have spent years working to raise awareness about the harmful effects of high stakes testing, especially for students with disabilities, this statement was baffling. And in light of the Chancellor’s continued failure to respond to parental concerns, this statement was infuriating. While the Chancellor supported a federal waiver that would offer a modicum of protection for some students, she failed to make even a single change at the state level that would spell relief for students with disabilities.

As Chancellor of the Board of Regents, Merryl Tisch is keenly aware of the fact that a current 5th grade student with a disability who receives a testing accommodation of extended time may sit for as long as 9 hours over the course of 3 days for a single exam. Despite being aware of this and other egregious examples of abuse, the Chancellor has done nothing to lessen the duration of testing or to mitigate the harm to students. Rather, she has overseen changes to the New York State testing program that have doubled and in some instances, tripled the length of testing and allowed the inclusion of reading passages years above grade level.

While many parents have been able to protect their children by refusing the state tests in grades 3-8, a handful of districts still require that a student verbally refuse the test themselves, despite the fact that some of these children are unable to verbally refuse due to the nature of their disability. So while the Chancellor claims she would “think twice” before opting a special needs child into these tests, she has failed to exercise the power of the Board of Regents to enact a regulation requiring school districts to not only recognize, but inform parents of their right to refuse “cruel and unusual” testing mandates on behalf of their children.

The implications of Tisch’s most recent statement go beyond test refusal….

CONTINUE READING

NYSAPE: No Relief in Sight; Parents Will Continue to Opt Out Until Fundamental Changes are Evident

The following is a press release from our friends at NYSAPE.  KPAE is a strong supporter of this organization.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 16, 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   

                                     No Relief in Sight; Parents Will Continue to Opt Out Until Fundamental Changes are Evident

The end of the Albany legislative session in June brought no relief for parents of New York seeking to reduce the most excessive testing regime and reverse the most destructive education policies in the nation.

However, parent efforts, while not sufficiently rewarded, nysapehave led to shifting winds of change in the Empire State.  For the first time in recent memory, massive spending by ‘Big Money’ donors were beaten back by the voices of the people and the Assembly, who resoundingly shut down Governor Cuomo’s unconstitutional attempt to illegally divert public dollars to fund private schools through his proposed Education Tax Credit based on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Similarly, attempts to increase the cap on charter schools by the GOP-led Senate were rejected.

After the close of session, the independent Board of Regents, fired embattled school testing giant Pearson corporation.  That change coupled with several leadership departures at the State Education Department (NYSED) and an exodus of ‘Fellows’ in the privately funded Research Regent Fellows program offered glimpses of light for outraged parents.

Left untouched however, was Governor Cuomo’s unconstitutional education mandate to link his politically motivated teacher evaluation system to student test scores, a centerpiece of his ‘Big Money’ donor’s agenda.  A Siena poll this week shows that three out of four New York voters believe Cuomo’s education agenda is not working to help students.  Parents in this supermajority of New Yorkers will not rest until the harmful, inappropriate high-stakes testing linked to teacher evaluations is reversed and real fundamental changes are made to the educational landscape.

The Opt Out movement will continue to grow until parent control of student data privacy is restored, school districts regain local control, and test prep factories are driven from their children’s classrooms forever.

“We have seen the departure of the Commissioner of Education, Deputy Commissioner, numerous SED officials, a data collecting system, inBloom and now Pearson, the infamous testing company.  This in the end does not change the foundational issues with education policies in New York or bring relief to students.  Damaging laws, poorly designed education policies, a bullying governor, and an unresponsive Regents’ majority are the underlying problems.” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

“Parents across New York showed their force by opting out of harmful practices of high-stakes testing to reclaim their children’s classrooms and many were elected their school boards to advocate for their children.  Parents will be showing up in droves to refuse high-stakes tests and deny the data this coming year and casting their ballots in 2016 only for legislators that are truly advocating for our children,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Nassau County public school parent and found of Long Island Opt Out.

“In the end, even the legislature did little to protect our kids. Despite all of their promises, nothing was done to reduce time spent on testing or the secrecy surrounding inappropriate test questions. Legislation enabling teachers to discuss already released test questions is absurd. It is the un-released questions that often hold the most egregious examples of inappropriate content,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent, educator, and founding member of NYSAPE.

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters added, “The Education Tax Credit, an unconstitutional backdoor voucher system, was stopped in its tracks despite the ‘big money’ lobbying and relentless efforts of ‘mega donors’.  While the number of charter schools to be added in NYC doubled from 25 to 50, the Senate Republicans made sure that this would not affect their districts.”

“While six Board of Regent members took a bold stance in formulating a plan that would have provided some much needed relief from these harmful policies, they were defeated by the balance of the  board who opted to maintain the status quo,” said Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

NYSAPE, a grassroots organization with over 50 parent and educator groups across that state, are calling on parents to hand in their test refusal letters on the first day of school to reclaim their children’s classrooms and to stop the destruction of our public schools.  Updated 2016 test refusal letter coming soon.

NYSAPE: Albany Continues to Ignore Parents Ensuring the Opt–Out Movement Will Grow

F​OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 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

Albany Continues to Ignore Parents Ensuring the Opt­-Out Movement Will Grow

With the secretive appointment of MaryEllen Elia to the post of  NYS Commissioner of Education, the Board of Regents has ensured that the opt-out movement will continue to grow. The Board of Regents blatantly ignored the concerns of parents and entrusted the education of New York State’s three  million children to a vocal proponent of high stakes testing, evaluating teachers based on student test scores, merit pay, and career advancement based on test scores.

Praised by Arne Duncan and Jeb Bush, MaryEllen Elia (former recipient of a 100 million dollar Gates Foundation grant) is the wrong choice for New Yorkers who have become increasingly more opposed to high stakes testing and the Common Core.  Although union leaders and some advocacy groups have inexplicably praised the appointment of the new Commissioner, this  violation of the public trust reaffirms the obligations of  parents to protect the children of New York by refusing harmful high stakes tests.

“It is very disappointing that the selection of Ms. Elia was debated behind closed doors without public knowledge or input.  If the Regents want to repair the lack of confidence in our state education department, they should be listening and partnering with all stakeholders,” stated Chris Cerrone, school board member from Erie County.

Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent concurred, “Given Elia’s history of compromising the rights of students of color and special education students, the hasty decision to hire her is of deep concern. Tuesday’s appointment demonstrates that there should be greater checks and balances between the Regents and the public to assure accountability.”

Rockville Centre high school principal Carol Burris said, “Just last week members of the Board of Regents roundly criticized the new law mandating the increased use of test scores to evaluate teachers, going so far as to call the practice ‘indefensible’.  Yet this week the very same Board of Regents appointed a commissioner of education who openly supports not only high stakes testing but also merit pay and evaluation based on test scores. Clearly the message of opt-out was not heard–parents and rank and file teachers want child-centered, not test-centered schools.”

“Parents and civil rights leaders in the Tampa area were understandably concerned about the  disproportionately high rates of suspension of African American students during MaryEllen Elia’s tenure. It is disturbing that we now have a Commissioner of Education who was not only fired from her last job but who also generated criticism for strict disciplinary policies and racial disparities,“ said Nancy Cauthen, a New York City public school parent and a leader of Change the Stakes.

Bianca Tanis, an Ulster County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE said, “It is a sad day when the leadership of organizations like NYSUT, UFT, and AFT are willing to throw our children under the bus for a seat at the table with a new commissioner who clearly supports the harmful testing policies and practices that Karen Magee, Michael Mulgrew, and Randi Weingarten claim to oppose. Rank and file teachers are appalled by the behavior of the current union leadership.”

Jeanette Deutermann, a Nassau County public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out said, “The leadership of these organizations no longer represent the teachers in our classrooms that we know and love, the teachers who are willing to stand up for our children.  Parents will continue to lead this movement and urge teachers to demand new union leadership that puts children before politics.”

“We don’t have a communications problem as parents fully understand what is happening in their children’s classroom. Despite a half a million opt-outs & letters, Chancellor Tisch and Governor Cuomo are clearly full steam ahead with their corrupt school privatization agenda at the expense of common sense and amid the  outrage of the public school parents they serve,” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

Beth Dimino, Chair of the Stronger Together Caucus, a caucus within NYSUT, said, “It is the hope of ST Caucus that Ms. Elia will reverse her past positions on Common Core, high stakes testing, and teacher evaluations as her positions do not align with those of ST Caucus and those shared by the Board of Regents at their May 18th meeting.”

“During her first school visit, Elia told teachers, ‘Opt-outs are no good for teachers and no good for parents.’ It is concerning that she would make such a judgement prior to reviewing New York State Common Core tests or exploring why the resistance to those tests has been so strong.” said Ruth Quinn, a school board member from Ulster County.

The appointment of MaryEllen Elia represents a concerted effort to diminish the rights and concerns of public school parents. Her appointment ensures that the test refusal movement will grow as NYSAPE members continue to advocate for the elimination of test driven reforms that fly in the face of research and best educational practice.

NYSAPE is a coalition of over 50 grassroots parent and educator organizations across the state.

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Kings Park Advocates for Education Announce BOE Candidate Endorsements

Dear Kings Park Community,

The Kings Park Advocates for Education (KPAE) Steering Committee is excited to announce our endorsement of Diane Nally and Kevin Johnston for the Kings Park Board of Education.

Diane Nally

Diane Nally – KPAE Endorsed Candidate for Kings Park BOE

We are in an era of an unprecedented power struggle, in which the Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) and the New York State Board of Regents are on one side and local school boards, administrators, teachers and parents are on the other.  New York State has increased unfunded mandates, reduced local control of staffing decisions and instituted a 2% tax cap, all while reducing education funding to bridge state budget gaps.  This has left local districts scrambling to cut budgets and layoff staff which is causing the elimination of important programs and higher class sizes, especially for our most vulnerable children.  To make matters worse, local districts are currently being bullied into meeting unrealistic contract and budget deadlines under fear of losing even more funding.

Kevin-Johnston-2015w

Kevin Johnston – KPAE Endorsed Candidate for Kings Park BOE

This spring, 50% of Kings Park students were opted-out of grade 3-8 state testing by their parents.  Parents have clearly said,“enough is enough!”  We are confident that Diane Nally and Kevin Johnston represent the best candidates to advocate for our children, protect our schools from harmful policies, put education back into the hands of educators, and prevent our tax dollars from being squandered on unproven mandates.   We feel they are the best candidates to ensure an education system that is nurturing and focused on the whole child.

KPAE urges its network of students, parents, and community members to vote and advocate for Diane Nally and Kevin Johnston in the upcoming election.  Together we can begin the process of taking back local control of our schools and fight against the harmful “reforms” being foisted upon our children and our budgets.

Thank you for your anticipated support.

Yours Truly,

 

The Kings Park Advocates for Education Steering Committee
Katy Cardinale, Bill Claps, Debbie Danley, Shala Pascucci

KPAE