ALBANY, N.Y. October 17, 2013 - New York State United Teachers and the Alliance for Quality Education announced today that they will host a series of forums for parents and educators to fill the void caused by the cancellations of PTA-sponsored forums by state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.
The forums, to be held in the Capital Region, Long Island, Syracuse and Western New York, will enable parents and educators to share their solutions for addressing the problems caused by the state's rushed implementation of the Regents' Reform agenda at a time when schools have been forced to make significant cuts to curriculum, programs and services.
"These forums will allow the voices of parents and educators to be heard," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "The advancement of higher standards and student learning has been jeopardized by SED's rush to administer tests before the lessons in the new standards were learned. Parents and educators have commonsense solutions for the course corrections needed by the state, and these forums will ensure they have a chance to share their experience and expertise."
"Parents and educators need to be heard, not silenced," said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. "These forums will provide that opportunity. New York State has shifted away from a focus on teaching and learning and onto being overly focused on testing. The promise of the Common Core was that it would raise the quality of the curriculum for every student, but the state has focused on more and harder testing while cutting the quality of the curriculum by starving our schools."
"We think it's essential to encourage conversations among the stakeholders about the state's obsessive testing – and what's needed to get this right," Iannuzzi said.
NYSUT is calling for a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences for students and teachers resulting from the state's standardized tests to ensure that our schools have the time and supports needed to fix the deficiencies in SED's implementation.
Unlike other hearings and forums organized by others, NYSUT and AQE said the forums will be held in the evenings to make it as easy as possible for parents and educators to participate, and the focus will be on listening to their solutions. Locations and dates will be announced shortly.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.