At the Kingston Board of Education meeting on March 4, 2015, Maria Maritsas asked the board the following:
My name is Maria Maritsas from Kingston Action For Education. I am here tonight to ask the board to support the parents in this district. I am asking you to inform parents of their right to refuse or take the Common Core grades 3-8 assessments. Parents in this district are getting conflicting information as to what their rights are. Today, Assemblyman James Tedesco filed the Common Core Parental Refusal Act legislation in the Assembly. This bill will mandate that schools notify parents of their right to refuse. It has over 30 sponsors to this bill.
There is no doubt that the refusal numbers for testing will increase. Parents are fed up with the Governor’s systematic dismantling of our public schools. He is holding the budget hostage by tying aid to proposed changes, we are losing local control of our schools, he is proposing that 85% of the teacher evaluations be taken out of district hands-50% tied to out comes of testing, 35% by an outside evaluator, and a mere 15% by this district. With such an emphasis on testing it most definitely creates a teaching to the test atmosphere. We will be churning out good test takers that aren’t good at much else. The tests are developmentally inappropriate and abusive for our most needy students and we will be losing some of the best teacher with his proposed evaluations. Governor Cuomo is using our children to vilify their teachers.
Enough is enough. I will be refusing the tests for my daughters. I am tired of hearing about planes being built in the air while it’s flying. Our children’s education is not an experiment. The testing was created not to help my child but to evaluate their teacher. That is wrong. The only rabbit we as parents can pull out of a hat is refusal. We need to send a clear message to Albany that our children are not their guinea pigs to use. The tests do not lead to furthering their instruction that school year. Again I am asking the board to consider informing parents of their rights. Thank you.
The Freeman reported on the above statement in this article:
Members of watchdog group Kingston Action for Education have found an ally in school district Superintendent Paul Padalino regarding a possible loss of local control of teacher evaluations.
Padalino has avidly supported using tests to evaluate programs, but said he agreed with the parents group that the district should retain control over evaluations.
“What he (Cuomo) just did was really reinforced or helped the people who want to opt out gain more momentum,” he said.
“I think the tests have value and using the tests to assess what we do and how we do it and how we can do it better in the future is useful,” Padalino said. “I think assessing our students is something we need to do and 80 percent of that assessment is done here locally. That’s an appropriate proportion, but…having 80 percent controlled by someone else, that’s not.”