imageOur Erie County public schools and tax dollars are under attack, and it comes in the name of “Race to the Top.”

Currently in New York State our classrooms are being forced to perform lesson plans and “modules” that are only being written a couple weeks in advance.  Students are being forced to prepare for a test that their teachers have not seen and whose parents have no idea how to help.  School districts are forced to take on more unfunded testing mandates that waste valuable tax dollars that could be spent on field trips, arts and music programs.  In some cases, our community is forced to close neighborhood schools in order to alleviate the burden of the costs associated with the new tests and their preparation.  As a result tax payers are forced to pay more for less education.  The worst part of this scenario is that “one size fit all “approach to testing is neither age nor developmentally appropriate.

As a veteran educator and parent, I’ve witnessed the profound abilities and leadership qualities of our students.   Unfortunately, their potential is often underutilized and over tested when they come to school.  Skill and drill becomes our mantra and imagination and creativity the casualty.  Worse, far too many are left wanting for basic skills that are needed to be successful in the workplace and school.  More can be done to support the well-being of these future soldiers, teachers, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

Having trained as an Educator, mentor, and coach for the past fourteen years, I have learned the skills necessary to engage students and the community. Applying this experience to support our students and their families at home is a focus of my campaign for Erie County Legislature.  Within 100 days of taking office I would call for a resolution that Erie County Government calls on NYS to place a moratorium on new testing to alleviate the burden on our schools and the tax payer.  Though as a County Legislature we cannot directly change the actions of the Board of Regents, The Chancellor, or the Governor we can certainly influence their decisions.

On a final note, I am not saying I am against standards or testing.  I am for age and developmental appropriate standards and testing that place the emphasis on students and not tests.  I understand that change is hard, but childhood should not be this difficult.