The Cuomo Commission held only one short hearing in NYC, despite the fact that we are the largest school district in the country with more than one third of the state's students. We are urging them to hold another hearing in the fall, in the evening when more parents and members of the public could attend. We are also asking that they have balanced panels, with a wide array of views.
Despite the fact that NYC has the largest school district in the nation, and our students make up more than one third of those in the state, your meeting schedule reveals that you intend to spend only one tenth of your time listening to parents, students, educators and advocates in NYC.
Moreover, the selection process has resulted in imbalanced panels. In particular, nearly every individual on the ‘teacher quality’ panel that began the hearings represented an organization which blames the dysfunction of our schools on poor teaching, and supports the same agenda of evaluating teachers primarily based on test scores, and/or weakening tenure and seniority rights. Meanwhile, many parents and educators who submitted testimony in advance but who didn’t have an opportunity to speak believe that the problems facing our schools are far more complex, and that the increased emphasis on testing is damaging rather than helping our kids learn.
We urge you to hold another hearing in NYC, in the fall and in the evening, when more parents, teachers and other concerned citizens with regular daytime jobs could attend. We also ask that from now on, your panels represent a more balanced array of viewpoints. It would be unfortunate if the public received the impression that these hearings are devised merely to re-affirm a pre-ordained and narrow set of proposals, and that your members are not genuinely interested in hearing from a broad array of individuals, especially those of us whose children attend public schools or who work in the schools every day.