As school year begins, School Boards Association calls for temporary ceasefire in education reform debate
School boards must play role in easing tensions over testing, Common Core, APPR
FOR RELEASE: September 3, 2015
The New York State School Boards Association today urged parents, teachers, administrators and state education policymakers to put aside differences over opt outs, testing, Common Core and teacher evaluations.
"The beginning of the school year should be a time of excitement and promise, as students begin to learn new subject matter, meet their new teachers, and get acquainted with their classmates," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.
"Students should not be worrying about what tests they will have to take next spring or how their teachers will be evaluated. There will be plenty of time for adults to debate these issues going forward. For now, let's put the focus on the excitement of teaching and learning."
Despite rancor in our schools over the Common Core Learning Standards, teacher evaluations, and growing numbers of student test refusals, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about prospects for student progress and achievement, Kremer said.
For example, schools this year will start seeing the fruits of a $2 billion bond act to increase access to educational technology in the classroom; stakeholder groups have a real opportunity to improve state assessments and reduce the number of tests; school administrators will have an additional year to evaluate probationary teachers; and struggling schools will have new tools to support their intervention plans.
As the school year progresses, local school boards can play a role in the resolution of hot-button issues such as testing, standards and evaluations by bringing stakeholders together, said Kremer.
"As locally elected officials, school board members are the natural link between school systems and their communities," he said. "School boards intend to listen, make well-informed decisions and help heal deep divisions."