Ensuring children have access to a high-quality education is among the most important duties we have as elected officials. This legislative session, I am renewing the call to take a long, hard look at improving New York State’s education system and finally ending the stress and confusion generated by the Common Core program.
Members of our Conference worked diligently to gather information in a series of statewide forums that have provided valuable insight into the struggles of teachers, parents and students. I will continue to push for legislation to enact the solutions derived from those forums this year, as it is extremely important we get New York’s education policy on track. Our kids deserve so much better than they are getting.
COMMON CORE HAS BEEN A SPUTTERING FAILURE
Confusion in New York’s education system is at an all-time high. The Common Core rollout was a failure. The State Education Commissioner has left for a job in Washington D.C. Recently, the Governor vetoed his own teacher-evaluation bill that was the result of complex negotiations between legislators and education professionals. This is just further evidence that there is no clear plan to improve education in New York. Conversations seem to change daily, but students, parents and teachers need action – not more words.
The Assembly Minority Conference has worked tirelessly to fix the broken education system in New York State. At a time when the state of education in New York is at a pivotal crossroads, where the leadership is uncertain and when students and teachers are struggling – the state needs solutions. Our Conference has traveled the state and heard from those impacted by Common Core and stands ready to fight for effective reforms.
A SOLUTION-DRIVEN APPROACH
In December, I wrote a letter along with my colleagues, Assemblymen Al Graf and Ed Ra outlining our concerns to the Governor and other legislative leaders. With the legislative session now under way, we urged them to consider:
- Suspending the Common Core curriculum until the 2016-17 school year;
- Creating a Blue Ribbon Commission on 21st Century Testing and Curriculum to review every aspect of the Common Core standards and make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on testing standards by January 31, 2016;
- Reforming the Board of Regents and the State Education Department to make both more accountable to students, teachers and the public;
- Providing increased funding for professional development;
- Eliminating the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) over two years;
- Reducing the over-reliance on student testing; and
- Reasserting that an Individualized Education Program is the supreme document for the education of a child with special needs.
We cannot wait another day to enact common-sense education reforms. Each day that goes by without meaningful action hurts students, teachers, schools and our future.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.