Op Ed: An Uncommon Plan for Our Schools
Published on January 31, 2014 · Filed Under Uncategorized
Assemblyman Ra represents the 19th Assembly district. For more information, visit Assemblyman Ra’s website.
(Long Island, NY) Over the past twelve months, there has been one education issue that stands out above all others: the flawed roll-out and implementation of Common Core. Children, parents and educators alike have all spoken out about the high stress, frustration, anxiety and difficulty that have arisen in the wake of these new standards and curriculum.
As Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Education Committee, I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with many parents and educators on these topics. Beginning this past October, I held a series of eleven statewide forums to address Common Core. My colleagues in the Assembly Minority and I invited parents, teachers and administrators, the stakeholders in our children’s education, to testify for the public record on their experiences with Common Core and share their thoughts on how we could correct these mistakes.
Now, we’ve taken this testimony and put together a comprehensive package that would halt Common Core in its current incarnation and replace it with a system that would provide a top-notch education for our children. It’s called the Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Launching Excellence, or APPLE, Plan. The plan consists of the following points:
- Put the current slate of high-stakes testing and implementation of a rushed curriculum on hold until a comprehensive review of Common Core is performed,
- Achieve funding equity by eliminating the Gap Elimination Adjustment that devastated school budgets,
- Provide stronger professional development to help train teachers and give them the tools they need to succeed,
- Get teachers involved by implementing and independent teacher panel to review, assess and develop age-appropriate curriculum and tests,
- Restrict the use of student data by requiring parental consent before any child’s private information is turned over to a third-party vendor,
- Provide equity for special-needs students by working with a special education student’s IEP team to decide on the best course of action and ensure the IEP plan is not trumped by Common Core’s rigidity,
- Create 21st century pathways for students by better funding the BOCES program and incorporating career and technical skills in the classroom and
- Revamp the State Education Department by making its commissioner an appointee of the governor and make any potential new unfunded mandate imposed by the Board of Regents subject to approval from the governor and the Legislature.
Our children and educators shouldn’t dread school; each day should provide new opportunities for students to grow as individuals and teachers to assist in that process. Due to the current standards imposed on schools by Common Core, this just isn’t happening. What we need is a plan that puts our students and teachers first, as opposed to arbitrary standards and exams put forth by people with no stake in our children’s future. The APPLE Plan is that plan and I encourage anyone interested in learning more to visit bit.ly/educationalcrossroads or bit.ly/APPLEplan.