Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address in late January, during which he outlined his 2015 Opportunity Agenda, the district’s Board of Education and administration have publicly expressed concern with his proposals for public education. As the state’s budget deadline of April 1 draws nearer, the district encourages all residents to make their voices heard on these issues and implore their elected officials to “Stand Up for Public Education” by delivering a budget that is fair and supportive of our schools.
A form letter, which can be copied, personalized and emailed to officials, is located below. In short, it takes umbrage with the following matters, which the district feels would negatively and irrefutably diminish the quality of education that Three Village students receive:
- The Governor’s plans to base 50% of a teacher evaluation on students’ state assessment scores.
This 30% increase from the current value would create a single, inadequate measurement device to determine teachers’ effectiveness and unnecessarily impede the educational process.
- Uniformed changes to APPR
– ex. Shifting the responsibility for classroom observations to an outside evaluator, one who is unaware of the district’s teaching techniques or instructional goals.
- Withholding state aid increases unless lawmakers comply with the Governor’s education reform plan.
This unprecedented action is especially troubling as the district is working to craft a proposed budget for the 2015-16 school year. Under the proposal, increases could range from 1.7% to 4.8%. In Three Village alone, this represents a swing of $645,000 to $1,820,000 in revenue.
Contact Information for Our Local Officials:
SENATOR JOHN J. FLANAGAN'S CONTACT INFORMATION
Email address: email@example.com
ASSEMBLYMAN STEVE ENGLEBRIGHT’S CONTACT INFORMATION
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO’S CONTACT INFORMATION
I am writing on behalf of the students, parents, staff and community members of the Three Village Central School District. Our community is deeply saddened by the educational reforms outlined in the Governor’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda and are joining together with thousands of families statewide to “Stand Up for Public Education.”
The outlined budget and policy proposals have the potential to seriously and irrevocably impede the work of our teachers, slow their progress and limit our student outcomes, all while costing our taxpayers far more than their fair share.
Our school district has a long and glowing history of success: We have a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon elementary school, several buildings deemed Reward Schools by the state, and our students regularly outperform their counterparts in the region and the state. We also have the second highest number of Master Teachers on Long Island – a program devised by the Governor to recognize the “best of the best” educators in the fields of STEM.
While our accolades are plentiful, they were not achieved overnight, nor were they stumbled upon; they are the direct result of the hard work and dedication of our teachers, parents and community. And while we do believe in continuous improvement, we also believe that the reforms before you were designed to dismantle, not enhance, the public education system. It is our hope that you will reevaluate these items and provide the support necessary to allow our teachers to continue to be effective, creative and inspirational.
Release the projected state aid runs for 2015-16.
Our district’s work to create a proposed budget that supports the needs of our students and falls within the confines of the state’s imposed tax cap has been crippled this year by the withholding of these figures. By challenging lawmakers to adopt his educational reform plan and tease a state aid package that increases between 1.7 and 4.8%, the Governor is using our children’s education as a pawn in a very serious game of chess. How is our district expected to deliver an efficiently managed budget when it can’t precisely predict if it will receive a state aid increase of $645,000 or $1,820,000?
Support local control of our classrooms.
Our community is not in support of a system that relinquishes local control of evaluating educators on their performance within the classroom. The proposal to base 50 percent of a teacher evaluation on students’ state assessment scores and have classroom observations completed by an outside evaluator not only demeans our talented educators, but also compromises our programs. Testing has value as one element in the evaluation process. However, it is just one small measure of student growth. Putting a greater emphasis on this element would create a single, inadequate measurement device aimed at producing skewed data to inform broad decision-making.
As a community, we have come together to support our schools. We hope that you will deploy your power to protect our children and the quality education they are entitled to receive.