An Open Letter to Our New Commissioner and The Board of Regents
Dear Commissioner Elia and
Members of the Board of Regents;
I was delighted to meet and listen to our new Commissioner at the
Rural Schools Conference held in Cooperstown earlier this summer. I
left the conference optimistic that we are turning a corner in New
York State. In my opinion, for too long, we have had a confrontational
relationship between the Commissioner/Board of Regents and the public
school educational practitioners across the state. My feeling after
encountering Commissioner Elia is that "she gets it." I feel like
there is someone serving as our Commissioner who understands what
happens and needs to happen in our public schools. It is my most
sincere and deepest hope that I am right about this change.
In order to further encourage dialogue around this change, I refer you
to the article below that was published by the Washington Post on
August 15, 2015. This post illustrates the primary problem with the
current teacher evaluation system. It illustrates the non-common sense
approach that parents and our school communities are revolting
against. Educators and public school communities do not view the
attachment of student standardized test scores to educator ratings as
reasonable. Change this and we can make this system work and work
well. Don't change it and nothing good will come of the movement to
reform our learning standards. This statement may seem simplistic.
However, I believe it is a fair and accurate assessment of where things
stand. The "Opt Out Movement" to dismantle the Common Core Standards
and assessments has serious momentum. We need to make allies and
partners of our public school families and teachers. That effort has
been woefully lacking up to this point.
In closing, allow me to state that I, and my public school colleagues
around New York State, stand ready to join you in implementing
rigorous and appropriate Common Core State Standards and assessments
that are utilized to accurately determine if our students, schools and
districts are meeting those standards.