Cuomo’s strong-arm tactics won’t improve public schools

In the Feb. 6 Another Voice column, Chris Gabrieli suggests that the traditional school calendar simply doesn’t give schools enough time to teach skills necessary for preparing all students for success in college and careers. The reality is, it’s not the lack of time that prohibits this instruction; it’s the new emphasis on endless testing that deters facilitating these skills. The need for enrichment has never been more evident, but how do you keep these wonderful programs when funds for education and teachers are constantly cut?

Teachers do have a concern over time; I do not question that there is a survey out there demonstrating this. But how much time have teachers lost in their classrooms, and how much content has been cut from their curriculum, to accommodate unnecessary training, paperwork and testing?

Parents should be outraged by the political bullying and financial withholding imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He mandates that teachers sign off on an evaluation system or else he will not deliver money for our children in our school districts. I thought public education was for all children. I thought they were entitled to an education. Cuomo’s strong-arm tactics feel more like an attack on teachers and an attempt to deflect blame and vilify educators.

Finally, with regard to time, Gabrieli proposes that more time (i.e. a longer school day and year) will serve as a means for greater instruction, but he completely neglects to address the elephant in the room that is student attendance. Politicians can increase the school year all they want, but if students don’t attend school, that won’t change their performance at all.

Parents and teachers need to be heard. Don’t let this reform handicap our children’s future.

Darlene Senick