In response to Sigmund

In Steve Sigmund’s Sept. 6 letter, he states that Fred LeBrun “completely misses the mark when it comes to understanding what higher standards and the tests that measure them are all about.” I believe Mr. Sigmund misses the mark.

I didn’t so much read doubt of higher standards or the usefulness of tests coming from LeBrun’s words  It was about Commissioner Elia’s unwillingness to engage with concerned parents regarding: 1) what is wrong with current education policy in New York, 2) how parents have been driven to collective action by unresponsive leaders, and 3) how tests are being given undue respect as the reform tool of choice.

I share these concerns, but am even more concerned about who is truly driving education policy, and trying to clumsily control the narrative. Unwavering deference to tests, the unwillingness of the governor to own up to his responsibility, the apparent powerlessness of the regents to follow through on ensuring opportunity as opposed to enforcing testing and consequences… When a collection of business leaders, charter school-pushing non-profits and political action groups can be amongst the “regents research fellows” embedded within NYSED, I have to wonder whose priorities are represented.

Sigmund also states that: “Opt-out organizers are working to destroy not only the tests, but ultimately higher standards themselves, with no alternative for improving our schools.”

Does he use “organizers” because “parents” doesn’t play so well for reform activists? Does he claim that there is “no alternative” because the best alternatives mean less opportunity for control of funding and policy?

Dan McConnell

Cortland, NY

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