The primary objectives of the round table style meeting were to reinforce the connections between policy-makers and practitioners and to renew a shared vision for public education as the gateway to a prosperous and humane civil democracy. Meeting participants urged Regent Philips to support the course corrections that NYSUT is seeking including a three-year moratorium on high stakes testing, and to restore the funding and the focus of education on teaching and learning.
Regents Phillips Calls for Civil Disobedience!
(written by Janine Gibney, Yorktown Congress of Teachers)
In a meeting with parents, educators, and union leaders, Regent Harry Phillips resounded the cries of public school teachers and parents from across New York. “We botched this,” Regent Phillips said, describing the Danielson rubric as “impossible,” the current testing of special education and ESL students as “cruel” and SLO’s as “stupid.”But mostly, Regent Phillips listened. The 13 year member of the NYS Board of Regents spent nearly 90 minutes with representatives from NYSUT, Hudson Valley United and Citizens Action on Monday discussing concerns about the implementation of The Common Core Learning Standards, APPR teacher evaluations, the under-funding of public schools, the over-reliance and unreliability of standardized tests, the powerful influences of corporate and private interests in New York’s classrooms, the use of arbitrary cut-scores for diploma eligibility, and the current direction that the New York State Education Department has taken. It was undoubtedly a productive afternoon, which included Regent Harry Phillips noting that the “cruel testing of SWDs and ELLs without accommodations calls for civil disobedience” to resolve.
The meeting, which was chaired by Janine Gibney (a middle school English teacher, officer of the Yorktown Congress of Teachers and HVU member) and Carla McLaud (a high school math teacher, president of Pine Bush Teachers Association, member of HVU and Director at Large for NYSUT ED13/14) was part of the American Federation of Teachers Day of Action, an initiative to mobilize parents, students and teachers to “reclaim the promise of public education.” Meeting participants included Marc Laffer, the Regional Staff Director of the Tarrytown Regional NYSUT office; Anthony Cardinale, an elementary school teacher in Carmel and member of HVU; Miriam Longobardi, an elementary teacher in Chappaqua, an officer of the Chappaqua Congress of Teachers and HVU member; John Wedvik, a high school science teacher, the president of Clarkstown Teachers Association and HVU member; Paul Ellis-Graham, a high school social studies teacher in Monroe-Woodbury and the Director of NYSUT ED 14; Jeff Yonkers elementary physical education teacher in Mt. Vernon and president of MT Vernon Teachers Association and NYSUT Director for ED16; Karen Magee elementary teacher and president of Harrison Association of Teachers, a member of TRS Board and NYSUT Director ED15; Pat Puleo, art teacher and president of Yonkers Federation of Teachers, NYSUT At Large Director ED15/16 and member of the NYSUT Executive Committee; Vince Crescenzo, Citizen Action member; and Sherry Svec, Citizen Action Member.