Gov. Cuomo Continues to Avoid Addressing New Yorkers on Public Ed

Via NYSAPE, of which the PJSTA is a member…

Governor Cuomo Continues to Avoid Addressing New Yorkers on Public Education

Parents, educators and community members are deeply disappointed by Governor Cuomo’s failure to address widespread concerns regarding the disastrous implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards, excessive high stakes testing and the collection and sharing of private student data. In recent weeks, Governor Cuomo has remained silent on these harmful reforms and today’s State of the State address confirms that the Governor has failed to fulfill his promise to “put students first.” NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) is dismayed that while he once called himself the “lobbyist for students,” Governor Cuomo has joined the ranks of those in power who have dismissed the voices of tens of thousands of informed parents working to protect their children, their schools and their communities.

One year ago, Governor Cuomo reminded us that, “the purpose of public education is to help children grow, not to grow the public education bureaucracy.”  However, today the governor has confirmed his commitment to political ambition and corporate interests over the millions of students that he was elected to represent and protect. Lori Griffin, Copenhagen public school parent says, “When parents started to seek answers and ask for help, this Governor stayed in the shadows and ignored our pleas to examine the state of public education and the effects on New York’s children.”

Rather than delivering the honest leadership that NYS students and parents deserve, the Governor used his remarks to distract from what will go down in history as an abysmal track record on public education. “We don’t appreciate his thinly veiled diversionary tactics by attempting to shift the attention to medical marijuana, instead of on these abusive and onerous reform initiatives. Cuomo needs to keep his promise that he is the students’ lobbyist” stated Tim Farley, a parent and a principal of the Ichabod Crane School in Kinderhook, New York. Regarding Governor Cuomo’s refusal to address parent concerns, Eric Mihelbergel, a Buffalo public school parent and co-founder of NYSAPE says, “Governor Cuomo needs to either step up or step aside.”

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters says, “Though the Governor has called himself the lobbyist for students, he has refused to take any position on the state sharing personal student data with inBloom and other vendors without parental consent. With 8 out of 9 states having pulled out of inBloom or put their data-sharing plans on hold, New York is now the worst state in the country when it comes to protecting children’s privacy. Leaders of both parties in the Legislature have spoken out against inBloom, called for a moratorium and have bi-partisan legislation to protect parental rights and student data. It is deeply disappointing that in his speech today, the Governor again failed to show leadership on this critical issue.”

“It’s very telling that while Governor Cuomo not only supported and endorsed the State’s rushed adoption and implementation of these so-called reforms, he now seems to want to wash his hands of any responsibility for the botched initiatives. The fact is, it is well within the Governor’s power to slow down their implementation through legislative means” says Bianca Tanis, New Paltz public school parent and steering committee member of Re-Thinking Testing, Mid-Hudson Region.

New York State Allies for Public Education represents forty-five grassroots parent groups from every corner of the Empire State. The organizations are proud to stand with the parents, community members and fellow educators in NYSAPE to call for a change in direction and policy beginning with new leadership at the New York State Education Department.

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