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OpinionLetters

Letters: School anger bubbles over

New York State Education Commissioner John B. King

New York State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. listens as presentations are made during the Board of Regents meeting at the State Education Building in Albany. (Oct. 21, 2013) Photo Credit: Skip Dickstein

The article "Scaling back tests" [News, Oct. 26] is simply the latest insulting and ineffective sop to parents and educators who want true reform, starting with Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.'s resignation or removal.

Citizens groups like the New York State Allies for Public Education and Opt Out Long Island have recognized myriad problems. They include data mining of our children's personal records; untold unfunded mandates on tax-capped districts; sweetheart deals with charter schools; funding schemes like Race to the Top so New York school districts can spend $40 for training and compliance for every $1 they get in funding; injurious fictions created to raise "cut scores," causing chaos, confusion and further demoralization; and King's support for the erosion of hard-fought labor protections under the guise of annual professional performance review.

Make no mistake, parents are organizing to starve the beast of its precious data by refusing to have our kids be guinea pigs in this endless cycle of harm and abuse that every day saps the joy of learning for teachers and students.

Michael Bruno, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Coalition of Plainview Old Bethpage Parents & Educators, an advocacy group.
 

The words that have recently forced their way into education -- "standardized" and "common" -- must be examined. They reflect the needs of the business world but seem horribly out of place in a child's classroom.

Try to write an inspiring inscription for a child's graduation card using these words. How can a standardized or common child be college- and career-ready when we face a future that is uncertain but will certainly require uncommon approaches to new challenges?

Discussions of education should be centered on words that evoke the parental, humane and compassionate nature of the people inside schools. Words like "honest," "inspirational" and "transformative" need to come from decision-makers.

Anthony Griffin, Brookhaven

Editor's note: The writer teaches at Central Islip High School.
 

Thinking of becoming an educator? Want to work hard, inspire, make a difference? Be forewarned. You'll have to do that knowing that parents today can't wait to see you fail.

This entitled vigilante breed must stand in judgment. It is hanging back, watching your every move and just waiting for you to provide the bait. Nothing brings parental satisfaction like discovering that the district or school or teacher has disappointed. These parents will feign disgust, but in reality you will have given them a reason to feel alive and show their importance.

Karen Nissen, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer is a public school teacher.
 

I put a very worried and anxious second-grade girl to bed tonight. My daughter was worried about her first Common Core math test. We've spent the last two weeks learning her math work. I say we, because I have had to learn it as well, even though I am a certified teacher.

All I want is for her to go to school happy and come home happy, and the rest will fall into place.

At each open-school night, I hear about the importance of the home-school connection. Now a totally new math curriculum has been thrust upon us. My daughter continually comes home and tells me "the state" wants the math work done a certain way. She will be marked wrong if she does it "the parent way."

Ellen Fusaro Dove, Hauppauge

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