Adequate funding for public schools
Our greatest responsibility is to our children and ensuring each and every one of them is provided a quality education. We must ensure that public schools which are responsible for educating every single child in our community are adequately funded.
Everyone wants to set high academic standards for our children; they deserve the best and it is our responsibility to provide it. Parents and teachers are on the front-lines of our children’s education. They should be a part of the State’s development process not excluded from it. Career politicians in Albany are not educators or experts in the field of education, yet they want to dictate every aspect of the classroom, assume every child learns the same way, and demand that more time be spent on testing than teaching.
We need to go back to the drawing board, but this time we need to listen to our teachers, our parents, and our children about what works, what doesn’t and how we can give our next generation the education they deserve. Together, we can achieve excellence in our schools; we owe our children nothing less.
For years, Albany has underfunded our public school system. To make things worse, the Senate Republicans are redirecting educational funds away from public schools and into the hands of private charter schools that do not have to operate under the same rules.
Our children deserve the best education possible. All of them. State tax dollars should be spent on public school education – not for-profit charter schools.
In 2015, lawmakers in Albany established a law to subject teachers to Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPRs) that would be directly tied to their students test scores on state-mandated exams.
While perhaps well –intentioned, these performance ratings have caused more harm than good. They force teachers and administrators to spend more time “teaching to the test” than actually educating our children. When test scores are used punish teachers and force schools into receivership, educators are left without much of a choice.
We need to get back to helping educators teach our children in an environment that promotes learning, not testing. By allowing teachers to teach, we can foster innovation in our classrooms and develop real growth.
Awarding Alternative Diplomas
Despite Albany’s philosophy to the contrary, not all students are identical. While some students may be able to grasp a subject matter with relative ease, others may need additional support. It’s unrealistic to expect every student to perform exactly the same, and we shouldn’t punish those who do not. While some excel in more traditional learning environments, others may learn more though alternative methods.
By offering students routes to alternative diplomas, we work to maximize each child’s potential to learn, to grow, and prepare for a successful future. Denying students alternative pathways to earning a high school diploma hinders the prospects of many, discourages them from staying focused on their academic career, and may also prevent some from obtaining employment and becoming participating members or our communities.
A student should be rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their education. While we should absolutely recognize the achievements our students that perform above and beyond, that doesn’t mean we should punish those that don’t.