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Edgemont and the governor’s reform agenda

GetItRightNYDear Parents and Guardians,

In Edgemont, we strive for excellence for each and every student. Ours is a broad definition of excellence and is captured in our strategic goals which set the direction for the entire Edgemont School District. Recent events at the state level are threatening our local leadership decisions.

On Tuesday, June 9, I will ask our Board of Education to pass a formal resolution opposing the way the state and federal governments are micromanaging testing and teacher evaluations. In doing so, the Board of Education and I join with 40 other regional superintendents and boards in calling on the governor and legislature to amend the educational regulations that were hastily attached to the annual budget bill in an eleventh-hour press to pass the budget on time. Although some legislators have called for delaying the regulations, the fact is that a delay will not fix bad rules.

Four Ways Your Children Will Be Affected
I believe that if the legislation is not amended, our students will be negatively impacted in four ways:

  1. The current culture of high stakes over-testing will become permanent.
  2. Good teachers who are successful in Edgemont, or have the potential to be successful, will be fired despite our principals’ and my own opinions of their work. The new rules are that Albany will decide who is fired based on a statewide formula applied to student test results.
  3. Local control and authority over our schools’ management will continue to be taken away. I find it difficult to believe anyone thinks that Albany’s management of Edgemont could possibly improve our performance.
  4. Loss of local school control means that districts like ours will be “drawn toward the average.” While the homogenization of schools throughout the state may help the worst schools, it will make it very difficult to maintain the high performance that many suburban homeowners chose when they bought property in our communities.

What You Can Do
You can help by signing a petition. More than 14,000 individuals have already signed the electronic petition. Most are from Long Island and Westchester. I hope you will take a moment to check out the link and consider adding your name. I would like to note that this message and the petition are solely the product of a group of superintendents.

The petition can be found at: http://bit.ly/GetItRightNY

Thank you for your time and your continued support,

Victoria Kniewel
Superintendent of Schools

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