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AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR CUOMO March 23, 2011

Posted by lizrosenberg in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far
  • AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR CUOMO: (since I can’t find a way to post it on his Facebook page!)Your cuts to education, and your blaming of teachers for deep-seated societal problems are horrifyingly short sighted. I can agree that superintendent salaries should be lower than yours, since you hold the highest office in the state. I do not agree that we should end the last-hired first-fired system. It is not infallible, of course, but no system ever is. The alternative–  to measure teacher’s BY THE SUCCESS OF STUDENTS ON FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED TESTS– is wrong-headed

  • Come spend a week in a classroom here in New York. My husband is a public middle school teacher– a great and inspiring one. You will see 13 and l4 year olds who can’t afford to buy glasses, who are the family’s designated babysitter, translator, caretaker and cook. You’ll see kids whose only nutritious meals are the ones they get at school. Kids for whom school is a safe place in a dangerous world. But unless we address that dangerous home world, don’t expect the schools to undo all the damage done.

  • The tests you value and in which you place so much stock are fundamentally flawed. For one thing, not every child does well in a  test situation. Humans are individuals, not standard. Worse still, and far more damaging across the board, the ground is leveled for “standardized” testing as it never is in life. Special needs kids, disabled, developmentally delayed kids with IEPs, who gets aids and special accommodations all year long find all of that taken away on test day. How can you be surprised at  high failure rates? The constant barrage of testing sets those kids up for failure. It  strangles the schools trying to help these kids succeed. And then, to add insult to injury,  the schools and teachers are measured by these same tests. It’s NOT No Child Left Behind. It’s No Child Left Untested.

  • Teacher creativity is stifled by these endless  tests– even in second grade!  They must teach to the tests or risk having their competence questioned, risk a “bad report card” in the newspaper, risk all kinds of ramifications. Teachers know so much about education and how to make it work, but too little of that knowledge is ever tapped. Instead you turn– again and again— to standardized tests. There are better ways to measure education. Better ways to foster genuine education. It takes creativity. It takes individuation. It takes smaller classes. It takes resources, and care and it takes time.

  • The educational system is broken, not the teachers. Do you want to understand how public education really works and what it needs? Talk to the teachers. Talk to the kids. Educate yourself, for heaven’s sakes!

  • We keep our daughter in public school because we believe in public education.  I teach at a public university for the same reason, and my husband teaches at a public middle school. We’ve both have had offers to teach at private schools, but we believe in the idea of public education. A great public educational system is the best resource any community can have. Parents understand this. Children and educators do. In Florida, the citizens proved  it by voting in sane and humane laws that every governor since has tried to evade.

  • For the same reason you feel yours should be the highest salary in the state, I’d hope that your belief in NY public education is at least as great as ours. Very sincerely, Liz Rosenberg

 

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