Local 10 in Buffalo, NY Testifies At Public Hearing for The Regents Reform Agenda

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Vice President of BCSA Woody Brandy and Dr. Tamara Alsace listen to Wednesday’s testimony

The Buffalo Council of Supervisors and Administrators (BCSA), AFSA Local 10 recently testified at a New York State Senate Education Hearing on the Regents Reform Agenda, which includes the implementation of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE), and Data-Driven Instruction (DDI ).

While the Regent’s Reform Agenda is focused on increasing standards and measures for accountability, members of Local 10 were there advocating for doing so in a way that is most effective for improving education for students. In their testimony, BCSA emphasized the detrimental outcome of a fast-pace implementation for the new Common Core Standards, which require teachers to implement standards they are not sufficiently trained in. Additionally, BCSA members called for a review system to be put into place for New York’s newly developed teacher evaluations, and for more research to be done to better understand the link between teacher evaluation scores and student performance.

Concern for English language learners was another major topic of BCSA’s testimony. BCSA members ackowledged Engage NY as a powerful online resource for educators implementing Common Core Standards  but discussed the need for more support for ESL students, their families and educators.  As stated in a testimony from Principal Naomi Cerre of Lafayette in Buffalo,

“Students are not tested in their own native language as a true baseline before entering the school system. Some arrive speaking in their native language; but cannot read or write in their native language. The question is raised, again without native language supports how can students move to levels of fluency and proficiency in English as well as meet commencement levels. Tailored supports must be in place!”

They also called for increasing preschool services for both bilingual and ESL students as well as more overall training for educators.

In conclusion the BCSA’s testimony stated,

“School reform has to cease being a blame game, but instead a real conversation about student success. We need a different conversation, and we need your help.

We must begin a dialogue as to how to support our school leaders as we implement reforms with limited funding. We have to talk about recruiting talented people into the profession. Great schools begin with great leaders.  It is our mission to equip them with the tools they need to succeed.”