June 28, 2012

Education leaders: 'Building an airplane in-flight makes the passengers nervous' (audio)

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

As educators move forward to implement a new teacher evaluation system, introduce Common Core lessons and prepare for a new generation of tests, there's simply not enough time or funding to get it all done and meet State Ed's ambitious timelines. That was the consensus of three expert panelists, including NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira, on Susan Arbetter's Capitol Pressroom radio show today.

Neira was joined by Phelps-Clifton Springs Superintendent Mike Ford and Mary Louise Haley, principal of Denton Avenue Elementary School in the Herricks School District on Long Island.

"We're building this plane in-flight," Ford said. "It feels good to the engineer, not the passengers."

"It makes the passengers nervous," Arbetter said. The panelists heartily agreed.

Neira called for the state to slow down, push back the aggressive timelines and focus on getting it right. She said implementing a comprehensive evaluation system will put a great deal of stress and strain on educators - and it will take time, support and mid-course corrections along the way.

Arbetter said it sounded like New York was getting a lot of money under Race to the Top, but Haley put it in perspective. Her Nassau County district will receive $28,000 over four years, or $7,000 per year, divided by the five schools in the district. That means Haley's elementary school will receive $1,400 this year to implement dramatic changes. The new evaluation system will also be time-consuming to do in in a thoughtful way.

NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira joined Phelps-Clifton Springs Superintindent Mike Ford and Principal Mary Lousie Haley to talk Race to the Top, teacher evaluations, standardized tests and school aid with Capitol Pressroom's Susan Arbetter.

The audio of the program is now available online.

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