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Good move by state on schools

March 5, 2012
Lake Placid News

To the editor:

An impressive model of collaboration and cooperation was displayed last week by the educational leaders of New York state. This is a wonderful example of prioritizing children's education over bureaucracy.

In 2010, our state was awarded a $700 million grant from the federal government that required teacher evaluations, but the state had failed to produce and implement a system that worked, Thus, putting the federal funding at risk. On Feb. 16, Governor Andrew Cuomo, state Education Commissioner John King and state United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi announced a groundbreaking agreement on a new statewide teacher evaluation system.

I commend the governor's efforts and leadership as shown in his perseverance by bringing educational stakeholders to the table and putting students first. I was impressed to read that Iannuzzi, had said, "Teachers support high standards and accountability for our profession. We believe today's agreement is good for students and fair to teachers. It includes two principles we believe are essential. First, a child is more than a standardized test score. While there is a place for standardized testing in measuring teacher effectiveness, tests must be used appropriately. Secondly, the purpose of evaluations must be to help all teachers improve and to advance excellence in our profession. This agreement acknowledges those key principles. The settlement also reinforces how important it is for teachers to have a voice in establishing standards of professional effectiveness and in developing evaluations that meet the needs of local communities."

This can be seen as one step forward to ensure that every classroom is led by an effective teacher, every school is led by an effective administration.

As we move forward in our own district to work on this years budget and make decisions that will effect the direction of the Lake Placid school district I hope we can learn from the example set by Gov. Cuomo and provide collaboration and cooperation for the benefit of the students. If we can all (board of education, administration, teachers, parents and community members) make a commitment to improve our schools by working together to realign our spending for a common goal to improve student performance everyone will benefit.

Patti Gallagher


Member of Community Alliance for Responsible Excellence in Education (CAREE)



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