FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2014
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NYSAPE Urges Legislators to Cast No Vote for Incumbents at Board of Regents Election if Nominated
New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of 45 organizations from around the state, is urging New Yorkers to contact their Legislators to attend the joint Legislative session on Tuesday, March 11 during which four Regent board members will be selected. Although the four Regent incumbents, Cea, Cottrell, Jackson, and Norwood have applied to retain their seats, parents, educators, and community members are asking their Legislators to vote “No” to any incumbent who is re-nominated. NYSAPE will be keeping score of how each Legislator votes at www.nysape.org
Parents across New York State have expressed outrage at the Board of Regents’ failure to respond to the concerns of both parents and educators. The incumbent Regent candidates have failed to take action to amend current policies or speak out against them. The recent recommendations of the Regents’ Taskforce Report did little to address the critical problems associated with the Common Core standards, the flawed modules, high stakes testing, or student data sharing. According to South Side High School principal Carol Burris, “The so-called delay in full implementation of high school graduation Common Core standards was a political ploy. First, the Common Core Regents exams were not delayed—students will begin taking them this spring. Second, the new “passing scores” had never been established—and with good reason. If those two scores (75 on the English Regents and 80 on a Math Regents) were put in place, our graduation rate would plummet to 35%.”
Last week, the State Education Department also announced that they plan to upload sensitive, personal student data to inBloom, starting in July. New York is the only state of the nine original inBloom participants not to pull out completely or put their data sharing plans on indefinite hold.
In recent weeks, Legislators had the opportunity to interview both new applicants and the incumbent candidates for the four open positions on the Board of Regents. “It is inconceivable to think that Legislators would vote for an incumbent simply out of deference to his or her previous service. I watched the interviews, I read the Regents Taskforce Report. I know that the Regents Cea, Cottrell, Jackson, and Norwood are not the best candidates for the job and do not deserve to be re-appointed. The future of public education in this state hangs in the balance and this vote will help influence how thousands of parents in turn cast their votes come November,” said Bianca Tanis, parent and co-founding member of NYSAPE.
"I would urge our Legislators to show up and vote,” said Eric Mihelbergel, Ken-Ton public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE. “They are more than aware of parent concerns and as elected officials, I am hopeful that members of the Senate and Assembly will carry out the wishes of their constituents to use this election as an opportunity to exert their influence to bring change to current policies and safeguard our children’s education.”