A Funke Response

In response to a letter written to admonish Senator Funke for his vote to approve Governor Cuomo’s budget, Senator Funke wrote:

“. . . The Governor’s proposal to make standardized student testing count for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation is not part of the final Budget package. Instead, the Budget calls for the State Education Department (SED) to accept input from teachers and parents before making recommendations for final approval by the Board of Regents. . .

. . . this Budget provides an unprecedented increase in State aid to schools in Monroe and Ontario counties. . . I was able to deliver $46.9 million in additional school aid for the 2015-16 Budget year, for an average year to year increase of 8.3% by school district. I also kept my promise to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), as this Budget reduces the GEA to a point where it can be fully eliminated next year.

. . . this Budget . . . includes specific language aimed at reducing the impacts of testing. Page 132 in Education, Labor and Family Assistance (ELFA) (S2006-B/A3006-B):

. . . the Common Core Parental Refusal Act . . . requires school districts to notify parents of students grades 3-8 that such students may refuse to participate in all State testing . . .

I also fought to modify the Governor’s extreme proposals for tenure and receivership . . . we were ultimately successful.

. . . the Legislature made the following modifications:

*Changed the Governor’s mandate that independent observers from outside the district be used for teacher evaluations, and allows district administrators and . . . peer teachers to serve as observers and evaluators of their fellow colleagues

*Reduced Governor Cuomo’s proposed probationary period for new teachers to four years and eliminated the Governor’s plan to restart the whole probationary period if a teacher fails to receive an “effective” or “highly effective rating” during that time.

*Provided both an opportunity and funding to underperforming schools to enable them to improve rather than requiring an immediate state takeover. . .”

As long as the language of education remains the same, the result will remain the same.

Our children deserve a system of education that concentrates on their gifts and talents regardless of tests and teachers.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

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