I'm writing today about New York State Assembly Bill A8844. The Bill was originally introduced by Assemblymen Al Graf and Edward Ra, with many co-sponsors. The purpose of the Bill was to reform the Common Core, calling for immediate three year suspension of the implementation of Common Core. It also called for the suspension of APPR and AYP scoring. Here is a summary in a message from Al Graf: This is a child-based bill that puts children first, ALL children no matter their differences. During those three years, A8844 creates a Blue Ribbon Panel, with a specific makeup including special education and early childhood educators to thoroughly examine the standards. This panel will ensure the standards will be age and developmentally appropriate and will make a recommendation on whether NY wants to "Stop it, Fix it or Scrap it." During this evaluation it will give us time to continue to inform, equip and empower parents and teachers across the state of this inside-out, upside-down reform that is NOT appropriate and was not designed with children in mind. During this period we will then continue to call for full repeal."
When I first read this, I was absolutely thrilled. I thought, this is a dream plan and there are plenty of Assemblymen and Senators that get it. In the interim, I kept moving along, with thousands of others throughout New York and beyond.....trying to educate anyone that will listen, sharing information between ourselves, attending forums, rallying, working with our BoEs and school administrations, trying to get more Senators and Assemblymen to listen, doing anything we can.
Then came Tuesday, June 3rd. The day that Assembly Bill 8844 was put to vote in the New York State Assembly Education Committee, chaired by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. Chairwoman Nolan had been advocating a HOLD on this bill meaning it would die in this legislative session if the vote took that path I had the opportunity to attend this meeting/vote along with about twenty other parents. We traveled from all over NYS to advocate for the bill one last time. As we know, the bill was killed. I was heartbroken to say the least. I couldn't believe what had just happened. After the meeting adjourned, we were given the opportunity for a seat a the table with Chairwoman Nolan. I thought that was pretty huge. We were able to go around the table and discuss specific issues. I had to hold back tears several times. I do think that Chairwoman Nolan hears us, but for some reason she doesn't think this bill was the answer. So I wonder, what is the recommendation then? My kids, and everyone else's kids don't get a do-over with their education. NO DO-OVER. This bill would've eased that worry for me. I'm afraid for today's students, especially those with an IEP. I was glad that Chairwoman Nolan was listening though.
Well, let's pick ourselves up and continue the fight. I will not be deterred, I'm determined. And so are tens of thousands of others in New York. We are educated, informed, diligent and united. Our voices are being heard, I am confident about that. There is strength in numbers and our numbers are growing. This journey will continue and may be long but so be it. We will not give up. I will continue alongside my fellow warriors locally and in Albany for however long it takes. I am in the company of awesome people. I acknowledge the courage and perseverance of every person involved. On June 17th we will be heard loud and clear in Albany. I'm looking forward to that day! Then there's Senate Bill S6604 thanks to Senators Ball and Zeldin. This Bill also places a three year suspension on CC and addresses excessive high stakes testing among other things.....please show your support for this bill...our kids' educational future is depending on it....to be continued....