While spending the better part of the last five months at home in our districts, we have listened to feedback from our constituents—particularly on the topic of education. This has been part of an overall effort over the past three years to reform educational policies which included the release of our Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Learning Excellence (APPLE) Plan in January of 2014. Now that parents, teachers and students have spoken, we must act upon their recommendations and represent their best interests during this legislative session.
That is why Assembly Republicans on Monday unveiled “The Next Step” 2016 Education Agenda — a package of reforms which will increase funding equity for Long Island schools; curb over-testing and usher in expert- and research-based protocols for evaluating the success of our teachers and students.
We stand with our colleagues who support convening a panel of experts who will revise our current standards and replace them with developmentally- and age-appropriate metrics.
We also stand firmly in support of state testing reform. We must have an open discussion with education experts to determine the best way to test the growth of our students and the effectiveness of our schools. This includes, but is not limited to: repealing the test-heavy teacher evaluation plan and placing responsibility for teacher standards in the hands of the Board of Regents, so that they may create a new system based on research and input from stakeholders.
These much-needed reforms will safeguard local schools from micromanagement by Albany bureaucrats, promote cooperation between experts and educators, and give greater control to those who know their diverse student populations best—local teachers, school leaders and parents. Together, we will prepare our children for success in higher education, the workplace and in life.