NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org
New Yorkers Moved the Needle on the Board of Regents Vote & Process, but Not Enough
The leaders of the NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of more than 45 parent and educator groups throughout the state, are dissatisfied that despite the nearly universal criticism of the Regents Reform agenda, three of the four incumbents were re-appointed by the legislature. Although there was strong pushback by those who either voted no, or voted for another candidate, the status quo has prevailed. High stakes testing, data privacy, and the lack of scrutiny of the Common Learning Standards are of great concern to our parents and teachers. According to NYSAPE, a change in leadership and course is needed.
The vote for the Regents was both well attended and contentious, with members making impassioned pleas for change from the floor. Nearly 40% of voting members either voted “No” for the incumbents, or supported another candidate. The soon to be published NYSAPE’s scorecard will include the vote as well as pertinent quotes from legislators. NYSAPE will shortly share its scorecard with members and the press.
“The fight is far from over. I am grateful to all the legislators from both sides of the aisle who had the courage to vote “No” to all the nominated incumbent Regents. I am disappointed in the legislators who voted for the incumbent Regents who support policies that put our students at risk every day. Real change is still needed and the parents, educators, and community members of New York will continue to fight to significantly reduce high stakes testing, inappropriate data sharing, and demand that an independent analysis be done on the Common Core Learning Standards,” said Lisa Rudley, Ossining public school parent & founding member of NYSAPE.
Jessica McNair, New Hartford public school parent stated, “The result of the joint legislature’s vote on Tuesday yields great disappointment as once again an opportunity for true change was forgone. At the same time, it is notable that this time, the reappointment of Regents has not gone largely ignored. The vote should be viewed as a clarion call to parents, teachers, and community members to continue forward with their efforts to effect change on behalf of the students of New York State.”
“The deep frustration I feel as a parent that our educational leaders have continually failed to hear our concerns increased when too many legislators also turned a blind eye and did not take this unique opportunity to influence change and instead supported the status-quo. I am outraged about business as usual! If our educational and political leaders are unwilling to enact change, then we will. I call upon every parent to exercise your parental rights and send a strong message by refusing the upcoming NYS grades 3-8 tests,” said Danielle Boudet, Morris public school parent and founder of Oneonta Area for Public Education.
Said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters, “We achieved a partial success in that one unresponsive Regent member was replaced, and we educated parents and the wider public as to the selection process for the first time. Next year, when the terms of five Regents members will be up, we will redouble our efforts to increase transparency, accountability, and public input in the selection of these powerful officials.”
NYSAPE sends its sincere appreciation to all legislators who cast their votes in opposition to the incumbents. We hope that Senators Skelos and Flanagan, who both made strong statements against the status quo, will now work with all of their colleagues to pass a companion to the Assembly bill A8929, with amendments to reduce testing time back to 2010, appoint an independent panel to scrutinize the Common Core Learning Standards to ensure that they are high quality and appropriate for all students. Also, to protect student privacy with robust provisions to ensure data security and parental consent.