Four local assemblypeople just met with our editorial board and they are not happy with the state’s leadership on education.
Interestingly, they aimed most of their criticism not at Commissioner John King but at the body who hired him, the Board of Regents.
“I don’t believe the Regents have any sensitivity” to public concerns, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said. “I have not seen any sensitivity at all.”
Paulin, a member of the Assembly Education Committee, talked about a need to evaluate who sits on the board and whether they eventually should be replaced. The Regents are voted in by the Legislature for five-year terms.
“The Regents hired the commissioner,” she said.
Four Democrats — Paulin (White Plains) David Buchwald (White Plains), Sandy Galef (Ossining) and Ken Zebrowski (New City) — came into our offices today to talk about a bunch of things, but spent a lot of time on education. YOU CAN WATCH A VIDEO HERE.
Assembly Democrats generally take a strong pro-education bent. It was clear that they have each heard a lot of concerns from constituents.
They more or less agreed that the Common Core roll-out in NYS has been a mess and that the inBloom project should be halted until educators and parents get answers from the state.
Zebrowski called the roll-out an “abject failure” and said its continued implementation should be halted. He faulted the state for introducing new tests last year before teachers were ready and criticized the lack of consideration for special education students.
Zebrowski said that neither SED nor inBloom have provided good answers for how they will use identifiable student data. “It’s another situation where I think parents, administrators and teachers have not been included in this process,” he said. “As concerns have started to be expressed, they have not been answered.”
Buchwald said that the implementation of the Common Core “has, to a degree, set us back.” He said that suburbans districts that were already getting good results, in particular, have been hurt by the state’s one-size-fits-all approach to reform.
He said that he, Paulin and Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti did not get a response from SED to an October letter they sent calling for a rethinking of the state’s testing program.
On inBloom, Buchwald said: “I have not yet heard a reason why that system needs to be put in place.”
Paulin noted that while the state wants to collect extensive student data, it will give only limited testing data to teachers. “The teachers don’t get the individual data they really could use to help an individual child,” she said.
Galef said that the entire reform process needs to be slowed so that all parties can get a better handle on what is happening. “It’s hard to know where this is all going,” she said.
The Legislature reconvenes next month. Senate Education Chairman John Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, released his own proposals last week to mixed reviews.