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It's time to Create a True Opportunity Agenda for NYS Children

This petition had 343 supporters


 Dear Governor Cuomo (and Senators and Assembly members):

I do not agree with many points of your Opportunity Agenda.

 1. Sufficient aid must be given to schools and your high-end proposal of an increase of $1.1 billion is too low. With funding so low, my property taxes will continue to rise. At least a $2 billion increase, recommended by the Board of Regents, is needed, in addition to ending the Gap Elimination Allowance and restoring Foundation Aid.

 2. Test scores on standardized tests, especially on the grades 3-8 Common Core test, should not count towards 50% of teachers' evaluations. The tests remain unvalidated and the "value-added" formula that processes the score has been strongly criticized, notably by the American Statistical Association. And it is detrimental for children to have their performances determine such a large part of their teacher's review

 3. Observations of outside evaluators should not be used for 35% of teacher's evaluations, if at all. Those within the school are best situated to observe, and they can do so multiple times, insuring a more accurate observation -- at no extra cost to the taxpayer. The cost is likely yet another unfunded mandate that will make my property taxes rise.

 4. Receivers should not be brought in to takeover "failing" schools. The definition of "failing" is troubling to begin with, as it can be based on test scores, which are unreliable, as mentioned above. Also, many "failing" schools are in fact schools that are woefully underfunded, as a result of the state's failure to pay schools what they are legally due. Moreover, local boards of education should determine how best to help schools; they represent the community and are familiar with their concerns, unlike a state-appointed receiver, who is not elected by or accountable to the local residents. And again, the cost of the receiver is likely another unfunded mandate that will make my property taxes go up again.



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