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Governor is clueless on education reform

I was appalled by the inaccuracies and misinformed notions contained within Chris Gabrieli’s Another Voice column reflecting upon the “new” direction of public education and the impact of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regime. Crediting Cuomo for education reform is severely misappropriated.

The prioritization of tested subjects at the expense of other critical subjects in public schools is the direct result of misguided education reforms that new standards and standardized testing support and perpetuate. That these have been forced on teachers who know better, under Cuomo’s threat to withhold funding from districts that refuse to comply, should infuriate parents.

This new plan takes valuable time away from classroom instruction; it bastardizes educational rigor and value as it strips creativity from lessons. Schools have cut programs like music, art, physical education and electives in core subjects because of a lack of foresight on the part of the governor when he implemented an education reform that will, inevitably, fail. Real education reform will stimulate a new economy of creative employment endeavors, turn students into active learners and be embraced by teachers who truly want to empower our future generations. Yong Zhao (“U-turn for Prosperity”) cites studies and articles from the best in education around the world as proof for the decline in educational success in the United States as well as offers concrete suggestions for what we need to do to truly be competitive again. Not one study advocates the use of standardized testing as demanded by Cuomo.

Gabrieli rightfully states that students learn in different ways and at different paces, but then he does not seem to understand that standardized testing and education reform insists that all students will achieve the same levels, in the same manner. This is contradictory.

Cuomo is not an answer to our problems, he is a cause.

Corey Zayatz

North Tonawanda