Lisa Rudley does not consider herself a special interest.
She’s a mother of three, president of Ossining’s special education PTO, and a founding member of New York State Allies for Public Education, a coalition of more than 40 parent groups from Long Island to Buffalo that formed in July.
New York State Allies became widely known Monday after its steering committee called for the resignation of state Education Commissioner John King.
“Parents and teachers are not special interests,” Rudley said. “We want to be heard. The state is railroading these reforms and our voices have been shut down. Canceling the forums was the last straw.”
The move by a fledgling network of parent groups may have captured the growing statewide anxiety over New York’s slate of education reforms. A mix of concern and outright opposition has been building toward new tests, the Common Core, new teacher evaluations, and plans for collecting student data.
Rudley and others have complained that the state Board of Regents and Education Department will not listen to their concerns. Rudley is focused on state plans to collect extensive student information for a cloud-based data system. The information is supposed to be used to fashion programs and software.
“No one is telling us a thing,” she said. “It’s time for the state to answer to the parents and citizens of New York.”
The movement against the Common Core, the testing, the teacher evaluations tied to those tests and the data collection is growing and growing.
The SED and other reformers are now realizing that they have to pay some lip service to public concerns over the Core, the tests, etc. if they want to keep their reform agenda alive, but the reality is, you can't tinker with these reforms because they're all connected.
You cannot have the Common Core without the tests, you can't have the tests without the data collection, and you can't drive home the fear that teachers had better teach the way the reformers want them to teach without the evaluation system connected to the tests.
These reforms as devised by the corporate education reform movement are inextricably linked and cannot be changed a little to address parent concerns.
That's why, in the end I believe reformers will fail with their reform agenda.
They devised it as a sweeping "Take No Prisoner" reform agenda that was meant to radically alter the public education system and the teaching profession.
The problem with creating imposing a "Take No Prisoner" reform agenda which allows for no compromises, however, is that it creates lots of enemies who look to destroy it.
The seeds of destruction are built into the very DNA of the corporate education reforms.