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Letter: Push to improve education hurts students and teachers

Push to improve education hurts students and teachers

As you may already know, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared war on teachers and has proposed tying public school funding to a state takeover of local teacher evaluations, basing 50 percent of those evaluations on student test scores.

Education has changed drastically over the past five years as the great state of New York’s Education Department, under the leadership of John King Jr. and Merryl Tisch, has botched the simultaneous rollout of teacher evaluations linked to new state assessments, based on the recently adopted Common Core curriculum. This has produced a perfect storm in our public schools as each district attempts to fund training and the purchase of test prep and testing materials. Teacher morale is at an all-time low as they are demonized by the governor and forced to teach to the tests, all the while knowing that this is not what is best for children.

None of this helps them become better students or better citizens. All of the anxiety, red tape, teacher training outside the classroom and focus on the tests themselves are harming our children’s basic education. The answer cannot be more of the same! Teachers are not the reason for the “failing” students and schools. Please look at the bigger corporate agenda and think about who is benefiting from the constant testing, teacher bashing and closing of our public schools. Certainly not our children or our schools.

Let’s make Cuomo rethink his targeting of teachers, students and schools by opting out of all state testing at the elementary and middle school levels. Last year, parents across the state refused to have their children used in the war of corporate greed. Please contact the governor’s office and let him know that we are concerned about his plan to have the state remove the power from our locally elected school board officials to evaluate our own teachers.

Kate Shands Haq