Hundreds and, possibly, thousands of your NYSUT brothers and sisters are lobbying their lawmakers in their home district offices. Above are photos from a group of southern tier activists who met with Assemblyman Chris Friend, R-Big Flats yesterday.
Bonnie Strope teaches second grade in Odessa-Montour schools. She spoke against high-stakes standardized tests for students in kindergarten, first and second grades. A member of the Odessa-Montour Teachers Association, she recounted witnessing kindergarten students line up to enter a computer lab so they could learn the skills needed to complete tests by computer. “This is far too young!” she protested. Matt Hill, president of the Haverling TA and a member of NYSUT’s Board of Directors agreed, listing the wide variety of skills kindergartners need. Friend agreed and added “learning how to tie their shoes.”
Margaret Smith teaches eighth grade in the Elmira schools. She joined spoke about the need for the public to find out all the “costs” of testing.
“I teach social studies — Civil War to the present. I have done 30 days of testing so far. I am a month behind. I don’t know if my students and I will even get to the civil rights movement this year,” the Elmira TA member told Friend.
Money spent on overtesting of students especially rankles school districts as budgets go up against the irresponsible tax cap, said Jim Jacobus, a Horseheads retiree who coordinates political action efforts for the region. He thanked Friend for voting against the law that severely, and NYSUT says in a lawsuit, unconstitutionally limits local school districts’ control over the programs they can offer and undermines basic democracy.
Numerous appointments are set up for today across the state. Some are also next week. You can help your brothers and sisters by calling or faxing your local lawmakers on any of those issues above or below, and the Member Action Center makes that easy.
If you need any talking points on testing, here’s a handy website. (It also allows you to contact your lawmaker.)
Here’s a list of topics:
- Truth About Testing legislation
- Prohibiting non-diagnostic testing of students kindergarten through second grade
- Tax cap reform
- Equitable funding for special education schools
- Vouchers for non-public schools (in opposition to)
- Educators’ rights
- Foreign language in elementary schools
- Students’ due process rights
- SUNY/CUNY Foundation accountability
- Unemployment insurance Equity for part-time higher education employees
- New York state DREAM act
- Workplace Bullying and violence prevention
- Gender expression non-discrimination
- Farm workers fair labor practices
- Safe patient handling
- Green schools
- Binding arbitration