King’s Buffalo ‘Forum’ A Staged Charade

To The Reader’s Forum:

NY State Schools Commissioner John King was in Buffalo to provide updates to the Regents Reform agenda this past Thursday (Dec. 12) evening.

The supposedly unbiased forum was highly calculated, right down to who was invited and what questions were asked. I hope parents can see through the political spin and make informed decisions to take action and expose the truth about the excessive focus on testing that’s standardizing and damaging public education in New York. The media isn’t making it clear that our educators are not opposed to testing, but rather advocating for meaningful and appropriate testing.

Did you know that our teachers are not even permitted to view or discuss results from state tests? How does anyone besides test making corporations like Pearson benefit from such foolishness? The numbers don’t lie as mentioned in the Amherst Bee last week. In the Williamsville district alone, taxpayers already spent over a million dollars implementing the changes, yet the government provided only $70,000 to facilitate change. In addition, teachers are increasingly out of classrooms to create and score these secure tests.

Taxpayers are yet again footing the bill for these unfunded mandates by our political leaders. Remember, as parents we can send a message and make our concerns heard by opting our children out of state testing. I’m reminded of a bumper sticker that said, “Those who can teach, teach. Those who cannot, pass laws about teaching!” Politicians and those with minimal classroom experience should not be exclusively calling the shots. Let’s demand our school administrators and teachers minimally have a seat at the decision making table in Albany. Our future economy depends on the education we are providing today!

Russell Payne