Another letter to NY Assembly members

I was moved to send another letter to Assemby members Lifton, Nolan and Speaker Heastie again…I think I made the coffee strong this morning.

In communicating with the NYSED regents, and other concerned citizens around this state, I am hearing that some of the regents who might not agree with the new APPR rule might still vote to approve it because they feel obligated to follow the lead of legislators.

This concerns me.
I have a governor who plays whack-a-mole, only poking his head up at times of political convenience to pretend to take a stand, yet blaming everyone else for the collateral damage of a war on teachers and their unions that he has led from day 1. He pushed for this rule, one that is wrong-headed in it’s focus to define and identify “bad teachers”, and I get the impression that our lawmakers are sometimes hostage to the imbalance of powers in our state-leading to the passage of regrettable legislation simply to get a budget and funding wrapped up on time.The governor coming out with “doubts” about common core and “support” is like painting the shutters on a house you’re trying to sell when you know the foundation is crumbling and there’s termites in the walls. He is selling himself, not a real plan for a better path forward.Thank you for your call on his most recent statements, Barbara. Your interest and advocacy is encouraging. But while it is not campaign season, my opinion is that this governor is in continual campaign mode. He’s no dummy-he waits to publicly care until he sees the wave of public care, a potential feather in his cap.
So now the Governer blames SED, the lawmakers blame the governor, and SED regents use legislative lead as the reason to vote against their conscience. Maybe I am over-simplifying things, but what can be done? There is a chance to defeat this rule, and force an opening up of the process for some true collaboration on a better path forward. If you have not seen my letter to the regents (I sent one to all of them as well as the commissioner), I encourage you to look at it (I attached it). The regents need to be empowered to support a system that involves collaborative design over compliance, informed by the profession over targeting the profession, responsive to learners and communities first, not testing and “reform” interests. A system that is intentionally designed to eliminate teachers based on a testing system that has not even been vetted, validated, finalized…who can in good conscience advocate for that (even though the new commissioner and many of the non-profits, charters, business leaders, investors…seem willing to)?
So wrapping up-how can the regents be made to feel free to vote based on common sense, as opposed to the wishes of an unaccountable group of “regent research fellows”, or deference to a pressured legislative lead?
Thank you for all the hard hard work you all do while I sit back and complain. You will help make this world a better place for my daughters and my students-I truly believe that.
Dan McConnell

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