Dear Parents and Educators Letter

Dear Parents and Educators:

I am sure that our state’s public schools are extremely important to you, your family, and your community. Parents and educators across New York State are facing the harsh realities of education reform measures that impact our children. Excessive high stakes testing, APPR tied to student assessments and the collection and sharing of our children’s data is a grave concern. The untested and developmentally inappropriate standard known as Common Core has been forced on our school administrators and teachers resulting in a very skewed and unreasonably challenging curriculum.

By now some of you may be aware of recent events surrounding NYSEDs latest bombshell indiscretion. Commissioner King/NYSED has endorsed offensive material as fun Common Core test preparation resources for our children on its official Student Support Services website page and Engage NY. These materials have been endorsed by NYSED on their website and made available to our children for over 1 year.

The Washington Post and Carol Burris addresses the most recent NYSED indiscretion and Common Core concerns:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/11/common-core-chaos-ny-state-website-sends-kids-to-offensive-test-prep/

Class Size Matters, public education advocates, addresses these concerns among others:
http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2014/01/fred-smiths-ode-to-pineapple-engageny.html

Despite the growing body evidence, some parents and educators are still having a hard time believing that NYSED would endorse and offer explicit and inappropriate material to children on their website. Many people trust NYSED because they assume that NYSED will do their job to monitor and provide quality resource materials and instruction to our children. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, NBC News Manhattan covered this story just last night in an effort to alert parents and educators across the State of these disturbing facts:
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/I-Team–Quizzes-on-State-Education-Website-Outrage-NY-Parents/239692261

As you heard in the NBC new piece, NYSED claims that they simply cannot monitor or guarantee the quality and integrity of every single link and/or resource on its webpages. This too is very disturbing.

Parents and educators across the State have a right to know and should be made aware of the type and nature of offensive material that was and is probably still available on NYSED/EngageNY endorsed pages. These resources were provided to our children by NYSED to use as Common Core/testing preparation resources. It is clear that the content and quality of resources being provided by NYSED/EngageNY are questionable at best. Based on this most recent bombshell, parents and educators have very good reason to be wary of using NYSED/EngageNY materials and resources. The fact that NYSED refuses to guarantee the quality of these materials and that they are appropriate speaks volumes.

NYSED has made it clear that they are not looking out for our children. Therefore, it is incumbent on us as parents and educators to do so.

I hope you are concerned about this most recent bombshell and will choose to get involved.

For those interested, Senator Greg Ball has advanced a petition challenging Core:
http://www.nysenate.gov/webform/petition-stop-common-core-new-york-state

We also need to make sure that every legislator understands and pushes for meaningful legislation to protect student data and privacy.
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/protect-new-york-state

There are also advocacy groups that seek to hold NYSED accountable and to facilitate sound educational policy in our State on behalf of students and teachers.

Together, parents and educators can take back our schools so we can stop providing offensive and useless curriculum and test preparation materials to our students and get back to real and meaningful teaching. Every child in New York deserves our best efforts.

Please share and pass this information along.

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