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Board Aims To Reduce Testing Mandates

In a bold move showing just where they stand on the subject of standardized testing, the Glen Cove Board of Education adopted a resolution last week to request a reduction in federal testing mandates from the U.S. Congress, the Commissioner of Education and the New York State Board of Regents.


Dr. Michael Israel, assistant superintendent for curriculum, read the resolution, which outlines some of the problems with standardized testing, including the implementation of Common Core standards and its reliance on testing and narrowing of curriculum. 


“It is time for policymakers to recalibrate the number, duration and appropriate use of standardized tests so that we can refocus our efforts on student learning,” Dr. Israel read. “We call upon the Commissioner of Education, the New York State Board of Regents and other policy makers to reduce the use of and over-reliance on standardized testing; and we call upon the U.S. Congress and the Administration to reduce federal testing mandates and support the role of and focus on multiple measures of student learning and school quality in accountability systems.”


The letter will be sent to Commissioner John King at the New York State Department of Education.


During the public comment period, parent Kim Velentzas, who is the co-liaison for LI Opt-Out, thanked the board for taking a stand and noted it as a good first step. Regarding the mandates, she acknowledged that the teachers and administrators have to follow the regulations.


“But I don’t believe the board of education’s hands are tied,” she said. “You need to make should expect more students to refuse the test next year.” She added, “We need to know what the children will do -are we a ‘sit and stare’ distri ct?”


She stated that her second-grader will never take another state test, and added that district should have “full disclosure” about when tests are given and why.


Resident Janet Blatt asked if students could opt out of the APPR tests, calling them “flawed” and a “waste of time.”


Superintendent Maria L. Rianna said there is no state code for the exams but that students are encouraged to sit through them and parents learn the procedures for how to opt out. She also said they would be monitoring the number of students opting out and making appropriate regulations throughout the year to determine the best course of action on testing days. 


In other news, the board approved the addition of two new courses at the high school for the 2014-15 school year: stage craft and set design and environmental science. They also approved the fifth payment to Maccarone Plumbing for the high school locker rooms plumbing work, in the amount of $17,844.99 and the third payment to Relle Electric Corp. for the electrical work on the locker rooms, in the amount of $27,989.66, and the tax-exempt lease purchase of 2014 Chevy truck, for $33,994.90. The truck is mainly for snow plowing purposes, and will be financed for five years at a rate of 4.79 percent.


Throughout the meeting, a slide show of pictures for the high school Select Chorale’s trip to Washington DC played on a screen behind the board members. 


Rianna spoke about the trip and said, “The kids were so gracious to everyone. They honored Glen Cove in a way few districts get the chance to do.”