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Leaders of the Opt Out movement are disgusted by Governor Cuomo’s appointment of a commission that ignores parents of the 220,000 children who opted out of state testing. Does the Governor expect to get fresh thinking or a serious curriculum review from the chairpersons of the Senate and Assembly Education Committee? Or from the President of the State University of New York, who has a full-time job (and is a strong supporter of Common Core)?
Here is a full list of Commission members.
Jeanette Deutermann, leader of Long Island Opt Out, did some research on some of the educators and parents who are members of the Cuomo commission. She was assisted by parent leader Michele Trageser.
She shared it with me and allowed me to post it here.
The chair of the Commission is Richard Parsons.
Richard Parsons – appointed chair of the task force. His bio states he is Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, in addition to being senior Advisor of Providence Equity Partners. He left Citigroup in 2012 to focus on a new jazz club an Italian vineyard, and various board memberships. He has been CEO of the LA Clippers since 2014. Mr. Parsons was also head of Cuomo’s previous Education Reform Commission in 2012. You know the one that recommended expanding charter schools to Pre-K. The one that said NY should “promote increased access to educational opportunities by encouraging school district restructuring and consolidation. He must like Charters considering he spent time on the advisory board of Deborah Kenny’s Charter network, Harlem Village Academies.
Here are sketches of some of the other members:
Mr. Geoffrey Canada – founder of Harlem Children’s Zone and who was the “star “, along with his ed reform agenda of Waiting for Superman. A New York Times Article called the Harlem Children’s Zone, “One of the most ambitious social policy experiments of our time”. In April of 2014, Governor Cuomo appointed Mr. Canada as one of three members of the Smart Schools Commission, who were charged with advising the state on how to best invest the $2 billion Smart School Bond money.
Constance Evelyn – Superintendent of Valley Stream District 13 on Long Island. Ms Evelyn has made no secret of her love for Common Core up until now. In a piece on the engage NY website on December 2013, she states that the implementation has been difficult, but is worth it. She then proceeds to state what teachers and students say they the like and are different (aka better) with common core. She claims teachers say that with common core, students “read like detectives”, “respond to difficult text with details and dig deeper into the text”, and “collaborate with peers and think critically”. Again, are they saying that these things are because of common core, and that they didn’t happen before? In a response to a memo from John King, Ms Evelyn stated “ We must challenge our students differently than we have in the past. The Common Core represents a necessary and dramatic shift that strengthens both the call and case for rigor. These standards focus our attention on learning targets that systematically integrate skills in reading, literacy, writing, and higher order thinking. I’m excited about the doors that will be opened by the new standards for my child and every student that has the good fortune of living in a state that made the decision to adopt them.”
Ms. Heather Buskirk – . In addition to being a national Board Certified Teacher of physics and math , she is one of the 2015 America Achieves NY Educator Voice Fellows: The people who get paid a stipend to promote Common Core . The Fellowship website states the educators in the fellowship need to write and publish op eds, and utilize social media to “positively communicate and elevate the conversation in support of college and career ready standards” aka the Common Core Standards.
Carol Conklin Spillane – Principal of Sleepy Hollow High School. While she has spoken out against linking student performance to accountability , it was more along the lines of it happening too fast. She stated, “In my opinion, the move to Common Core is a good initiative that is unfortunately mired in the multiplicity of political agendas (Race to the Top).
Kishayna Hazelwood – third grade teacher from PS 156 in Brooklyn. No info aside from her task force bio is available.
Carrie Remis – listed as Rochester area parent. A former Catholic School administrator and head of the Parent Power Project. She also served on a member of Cuomo’s previous Education Reform Commission. She also serves on several boards including the Opportunity in Education Coalition, the National School Choice Week Coalition, and the Center for Educational Justice. The Opportunity in Education Coalition lobbied alongside Campbell Brown for the Education Investment tax credit this past spring. The National School Choice week partners include Students First, The national Alliance for Public Charter Schools, The Fordham Institute, etc… In her testimony as head of the Power Parent Project before the State Senate Ed Committee hearing in October 2013, she stated that she believed parents opposed to the Regents Reform Agenda were in the minority. (Her son at the time was a sophomore in “one of the best” high schools and given his age was not ever affected by Common Core ). She also stated that “special interests-namely the New York State United Teachers and their surrogates——are expertly taking advantage of parents who feel excluded, amplifying our concerns and distorting the truth”. She also said that school district officials were deliberately misinforming parents about Common Core so that it seemed Common Core was “replacing NCLB as the new education boogey man”.
Sam Radford – Buffalo parent. Head of the District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo. In the past he has said that teachers should be evaluated on student growth or lack of it. “ A teacher should be evaluated on some scale for every student they teach”, he said in an interview. A February 2014 article featuring him in the Buffalo news said people either see him “as a champion for educational equality and accountability, or as a self promoting dissenter more focused on causing trouble than finding answers”. Mr. Radford is married to an “educator who runs a charter school.” His 14 children have attended public, Catholic and charter schools. He “pushes for the rights of parents to transfer their children out of struggling schools and into better ones, be they public, charter or private.”
Like Fox News might say: Fair and balanced.