NY Local 10 Testifies for Regents Reform Agenda

Woody Brandy, vice president of the Buffalo Council of Supervisors and Administrators, listens to testimony Oct. 16 against the Regents Reform Agenda.

Woody Brandy, vice president of the Buffalo Council of Supervisors and Administrators, listens to testimony Oct. 16 against the Regents Reform Agenda.

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

While the Regents Reform Agenda seeks to increase standards and measures for accountability, members of Local 10 were there advocating for doing so in a way that most effectively improves education for students. In its Oct. 16 testimony, BCSA emphasized the detrimental outcome of a fast-paced implementation for the new Common Core Standards, which require educators to teach standards they are not sufficiently trained in. Additionally, BCSA members called for a review system for New York’s newly developed teacher evaluations, and for more research on the link between teacher evaluation scores and student performance.

Concern for English language learners was another major topic of testimony. Acknowledging Engage NY as a powerful online resource for the Common Core, BCSA expressed concern for ESL students, their families and educators. Principal Naomi Cerre of Buffalo’s Lafayette High School testified thusly:

“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 raised again is, 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!”

Those testifying 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 [must be] 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.”