Public Hearing - September 17, 2013

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       1      BEFORE THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE
              STANDING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
       2      ------------------------------------------------------

       3                         PUBLIC HEARING

       4       THE REGENTS REFORM AGENDA: "ASSESSING" OUR PROGRESS

       5      ------------------------------------------------------

       6

       7                       Suffolk County Community College
                               Grant Campus
       8                       1001 Crooked Hill Road
                               Brentwood, New York 11717
       9
                               September 17, 2013
      10                       10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

      11

      12

      13      PRESIDING:

      14         Senator John J. Flanagan
                 Chair
      15

      16      SENATE MEMBERS PRESENT:

      17         Senator Philip M. Boyle

      18         Senator Kemp Hannon

      19         Senator Kenneth P. LaValle

      20         Senator Carl L. Marcellino

      21         Senator Jack M. Martins

      22         Senator Lee M. Zeldin

      23

      24

      25







                                                                  2
       1
              SPEAKERS:                               PAGE  QUESTIONS
       2
              Ken Wagner                                10      20
       3      Associate Commissioner - Curriculum,
                   Assessment, and
       4           Education Technology
              Nicholas Storelli-Castro
       5      Director of Governmental Affairs &
                   Special Projects
       6      Dennis Tompkins
              Chief of External Affairs
       7      New York State Education Department

       8      Roger Tilles                              66      80
              Regent
       9      New York State Board of Regents

      10      Jeanette Deutermann                       90     110
              Parent
      11      Bellmore, New York

      12      Marianne Adrian                           90     110
              Parent
      13      Levittown, New York

      14      Stephen Allinger                         113     123
              Legislative Director
      15      New York State United Teachers

      16      Nadia Resnikoff                          113     123
              President, Middle Country
      17           Teachers Assoc., Selden, New York
              Member of NYSUT board of directors
      18
              Robert Vecchio                           133     157
      19      President, Board of Education
              William Floyd Union Free School District
      20
              Jim Gounaris                             133     157
      21      President, Board of Education
              Herricks Union Free School District
      22
              Dr. Donald James                         166     194
      23      Superintendent
              Commack Union Free School District
      24

      25







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       1
              SPEAKERS (Continued):                   PAGE  QUESTIONS
       2
              Dr. Tom Rogers                           166     194
       3      Superintendent
              Nassau BOCES
       4
              John Hogan                               207     222
       5      Superintendent
              West Hempstead Union Free
       6           School District

       7      Claudine DiMuzio                         225     238
              Pines Elementary School Principal
       8      Facilitator for the Hauppauge
                   Parent Advocacy Group
       9
              Michelle Marino                          239     258
      10      Principal, Southdown Primary
              Huntington Union Free School District
      11
              John Nocero                              239     258
      12      Representative
              Council of Administrators & Supervisors
      13
              Arnold Dodge                             258     266
      14      Professor, CW Post, LIU
              Chairperson of the Dept. of Educational
      15           Leadership and Administration

      16
              Lisa Rudley                              267     275
      17      Representative of
              Autism Action Network
      18

      19

      20

      21

      22

      23

      24

      25







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       1             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  All right, thank you very

       2      much.

       3             Now, I'm hoping that everyone can hear well

       4      enough.  I'm told that the microphones are hot and

       5      sensitive, so...

       6             Good morning, Senator Boyle.

       7             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Don't encourage him.

       8             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Anyway, welcome to

       9      Suffolk Community College.

      10             And let me start by saying thank you to the

      11      college for their hospitality and their

      12      professionalism and all the courtesies they've

      13      extended to us.

      14             I just want to take 30 seconds and tell you,

      15      if you don't know, what a great institution this is.

      16             It is a three-campus community college, the

      17      only one of its kind in the state of New York, and

      18      it is remarkably successful.

      19             It is a gateway, it is a great opportunity

      20      for so many young men and women.  And, a lot of

      21      students who graduate here on to four-year schools.

      22             And we should all be justifiably proud of the

      23      quality of higher education right here in

      24      Suffolk County, and in the state of New York.

      25             And I don't see one in the room, but I'm just







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       1      going to ask everyone if you would kindly stand.

       2             I'm going to ask my colleague Senator Zeldin

       3      to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

       4                  (All present stand, and say:

       5             "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the

       6      United States of America and to the Republic for

       7      which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible,

       8      with liberty and justice for all."

       9             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you.

      10             I welcome everyone again.

      11             I would like to introduce my colleagues, in

      12      no particular order.

      13             I'm just going to start, he just obviously

      14      just helped us out, Senator Lee Zeldin,

      15      Senator Jack Martins, Senator Marcellino.

      16             You know what?

      17             Senator Zeldin chairs the Consumer Protection

      18      Committee;

      19             Senator Martins chairs the Local Governments

      20      committee;

      21             Senator Marcellino chairs Investigations and

      22      Operations;

      23             Senator Hannon chairs the Health Committee;

      24             And Senator Boyle chairs the

      25      Ethics Committee, and, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.







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       1             So, you have a good cross-section.

       2             And I believe Senator LaValle will be joining

       3      us, and I'm sure most of you know that he chairs the

       4      Higher Ed Committee.

       5             So, let me make some very brief comments.

       6             There have been a lot of comments and

       7      thoughts and questions relative to these hearings.

       8             This is the first of four hearings.

       9             Obviously, the first one is on Long Island,

      10      today being September 17th.

      11             We have hearings scheduled in Syracuse on

      12      October 1st; Buffalo, October 16th; and

      13      New York City on October 29th.

      14             We have had many people call us, looking to

      15      testify, to add comments; certainly have offered a

      16      number of suggestions, not only on the format of the

      17      hearings, but as to what the content should be.

      18             I want to be clear with everyone, very clear,

      19      that the thrust of what we're trying to do here is

      20      listen to people who are actually out in the field.

      21             We certainly have our own opinions as

      22      individual legislators, but, part of our job, as you

      23      well know, is to listen to the public and the

      24      constituencies that we represent.

      25             So, everyone should be comforted by the fact







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       1      there are no preconceived notions here.

       2             We've tried to get a good cross-section,

       3      I think we have, frankly, of people to testify.

       4             But I also want to make it extremely clear,

       5      for anyone who wants to submit written testimony,

       6      all of it will be made part of the public record.

       7             To the best of our ability, all the comments

       8      that have been submitted so far are already online.

       9             All the testimony from the people who will be

      10      testifying today was put up last night.

      11             So, anyone who wants to look certainly has

      12      the opportunity to do so.

      13             Anyone who wants to submit testimony can do

      14      that, and, again, we are going to make it part of

      15      the record.

      16             Of course, the only distinction I would add

      17      is, please be clear, please be fair, please be

      18      professional, and please be respectful of other

      19      people's opinions.

      20             Not only in terms of written submission, but

      21      we have a lot of people who will be testifying

      22      today.

      23             I'm sure there will be a good colloquy with

      24      my colleagues and some of our panel members.

      25             So I would tell you, which I think all of you







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       1      know, we should all act as adults, we should all act

       2      as professionals, and recognize, that while there

       3      may be differing opinions, that we have a

       4      fundamental obligation to respect what each other

       5      has to say, and that includes listening to the folks

       6      who are on the panel.

       7             Essentially, the format is, we are going to

       8      call people up.  I think most of you have a copy of

       9      the witness list.

      10             We're trying to adhere to a time schedule.

      11             We've already broken that, and I accept the

      12      responsibility for that in terms of starting late,

      13      but we do have a number of people who will be

      14      testifying.

      15             And the -- I think the ultimate goal here, is

      16      to put together a wealth of information from people

      17      who have strong opinions, share it with SED, share

      18      it with the Regents, share it with the Governor,

      19      and, certainly, share it with our colleagues across

      20      the state.

      21             I'm gratified by the attendance of my

      22      colleagues here today.

      23             And I will quickly add, that I believe this

      24      is the first real public opportunity for people to

      25      express their opinions on some of these matters,







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       1      Common Core testing privacy.

       2             There have been other forums, but the

       3      Assembly hasn't done anything, SED hasn't done

       4      anything, the Regents haven't done anything, the

       5      Governor's Office hasn't done anything.

       6             So, we're trying to fulfill our

       7      responsibilities, by allowing people to share their

       8      input in a way that everyone can see, and,

       9      hopefully, everyone can understand.

      10             Having said that, I'll just open it up

      11      quickly, if my colleagues want to say anything.

      12             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Just briefly.

      13             Many of you may know, I taught school for

      14      20 years in the city of New York.

      15             And, I look around this room, and I see

      16      everybody jammed to the back.

      17             There's empty seats in the front, and there's

      18      people standing.

      19             So, you know, we could --

      20                  (Unintelligible comments made by many

      21        audience members.)

      22             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  We can unreserve them.

      23             So, if you want to come down and sit,

      24      I suggest you do.

      25             Makes me nervous when I see people near the







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       1      back door.

       2             And those standing, as Regent Tiller just

       3      said, will be tested on whether they heard the

       4      questions or not.

       5                  [Laughter.]

       6             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  All right.

       7             Our first group for today is the

       8      New York State Education Department; Ken Wagner,

       9      Nicholas Storelli-Castro, and Dennis Tompkins.

      10             We have allotted more time for the

      11      State Education Department, because we have an

      12      expectation that they will be asked to respond to a

      13      number of questions from my colleagues.

      14             Dennis does external affairs for the

      15      department;

      16             Nicholas does legislative relations, working

      17      with the Assembly and the Senate;

      18             And Ken is responsible for curriculum

      19      assessment and education technology.

      20             He won't tell you this, but I'll you:

      21             He is a Long Islander by birth, by rearing,

      22      by education, by professionalism.  He is a school

      23      psychologist.

      24             He has a wealth of experience in a variety of

      25      different capacities.  Having come from Long Island,







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       1      served as a principal in Nassau, Suffolk, county;

       2      Shoreham Wading Rivers.

       3             So, he is a Long Islander.

       4             And, gentlemen, thank you very much.

       5             And, Ken, we talked about this, your ability

       6      to be succinct and on point will allow us to have a

       7      more free-wheeling dialogue.

       8             So, thank you again.

       9             KEN WAGNER:  Thank you, Chairman Flanagan,

      10      and members of the Senate.

      11             My name is Ken Wagner, and I'm

      12      deputy commissioner for curriculum assessment and

      13      educational technology at the New York State

      14      Education Department.

      15             I'm here to testify on behalf of

      16      Commissioner King who's not able to be with us

      17      today, because of the Board of Regents are meeting

      18      in Albany.

      19             I'm joined by colleagues Dennis Tompkins and

      20      Nicholas Storelli-Castro.

      21             As you mentioned, it's good to be back on

      22      Long Island.

      23             As some of you know, I grew up in Seaford,

      24      and began my career in education as a board of

      25      education trustee in the Seaford School District.







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       1             Before moving to Albany and joining the

       2      Education Department, I worked as a school

       3      psychologist in Freeport, an assistant principal in

       4      Herricks, a principal in Shorehamm Wading River, and

       5      a program administrator at Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

       6             As you've heard in the past from

       7      Commissioner King, New York State is engaged in an

       8      important effort to ensure that all students

       9      graduate ready for college and their careers.

      10             Of course, college- and career-readiness is

      11      more than just test scores, but test results contain

      12      important information that cannot be ignored.

      13             There is converging information on both

      14      New York and national measures, including the

      15      National Assessment of Educational Progress, or, the

      16      "NAEP," and the SAT, that indicate only about

      17      35 percent of our students are on track for college

      18      and their careers.

      19             Each year, about 140,000 students statewide

      20      exit their fourth year of high school not ready for

      21      college and their careers.

      22             Each year, about 19,000 students on

      23      Long Island, or about 50 percent of the Long Island

      24      cohort, exit their fourth year of high school not

      25      ready for college in their careers.







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       1             That is unacceptable, and it means that our

       2      students pay for remediation in college that they

       3      should have received for free in high school.

       4             That means that our state and our nation are

       5      less competitive economically.

       6             The Common Core are the first set of learning

       7      standards that are based on research, and are

       8      back-mapped from what our students need to know and

       9      be able to do in college and their careers.

      10             The Common Core focuses on things that the

      11      college professors and employers have said are

      12      important.

      13             The Common Core was state-developed and

      14      state-adopted by 45 states and the District of

      15      Columbia, but a recent AP survey indicated that

      16      52 percent of parents nationwide have never heard of

      17      the Common Core.

      18             There is clearly more work to be done.

      19             There is a difference between standards and

      20      the curriculum used to teach those standards.

      21             Adopting and implementing curriculum is, and

      22      has always been, a local responsibility; however,

      23      with Race To The Top funds, New York has taken the

      24      unprecedented step to help supplement these local

      25      efforts.







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       1             On our website, EngageNY.org, educators will

       2      find English and math curriculum modules, test

       3      guides and sample test questions, videos of

       4      professional practice, and Common Core planning and

       5      selection rubrics.

       6             Parents and families will find information

       7      about the Common Core, and tools and tips to help

       8      their children.

       9             Since 2011, EngageNY has over 26 million page

      10      views from 2.4 million unique visitors.

      11             Our statewide professional-development

      12      initiative is called the "Network Teams Institute,"

      13      or, "NTI."

      14             Since 2011, NTI has provided Common Core

      15      turnkey professional-development training to over

      16      10,000 attendees from across the state.

      17             Despite the urgency, there is a 7-year

      18      Common Core phase-in.

      19             The standards were adopted by the Board of

      20      Regents in 2010, three years ago.

      21             The EngageNY website and the NTI trainings

      22      were launched in 2011.

      23             The first Common Core tests in grades 3

      24      through 8 were administered in 2013, and the first

      25      Common Core Regents exams will be administered in







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       1      2014.

       2             These Regents exams will be phased in by

       3      cohort, and the first year of the phase -- and

       4      during the first year of the phase-in, districts may

       5      allow students to take the old test in addition to

       6      the new test, and have the higher score count.

       7             The first students required to take a

       8      Common Core Regents exam for graduation purposes are

       9      not expected to graduate until June 2017.

      10             There are two key questions during this

      11      phase-in:

      12             How do we know that students are making

      13      progress?

      14             And, how do we measure progress early so help

      15      can be provided to students who are not on track?

      16             Of course, student progress consists of much

      17      more than test scores, but test results contain

      18      important information that cannot be ignored.

      19             Without these assessment results, teachers,

      20      students, families, and the public have no other

      21      statewide progress measure.

      22             It is important to note that educators were

      23      involved in all stages of Common Core test design,

      24      and educators reviewed each and every Common Core

      25      test question in advance of test administration.







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       1             Educators recommended the Common Core

       2      proficiency cut scores to the Commissioner, which

       3      the commissioners accepted as is, with the approval

       4      of the Board of Regents.

       5             When we released the test scores, we made it

       6      clear that this was a new baseline relative to the

       7      Common Core.

       8             We made it clear that this new proficiency

       9      baseline would not negatively affect school or

      10      district accountability, would not negatively affect

      11      teacher or principal evaluation, and would not

      12      negatively affect student remediation services.

      13             This was about improving instruction.

      14             So when we released the scores, we also

      15      released 25 percent of the test questions, with

      16      annotations of what the right answers were, what the

      17      wrong answers were, and why.

      18             We released detailed descriptions of what

      19      students should know and be able to do at each

      20      performance level, and in each grade.

      21             We released access to the test-score data and

      22      reports, including access to individual item

      23      analyses.

      24             We released guidance on how to interpret the

      25      test scores, and we released parent reports.







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       1             It is important to keep in mind that there

       2      was no increase in the number of required state

       3      tests in 2013 when compared to 2012.

       4             In fact, in the younger grades, and based on

       5      field feedback, testing times decreased in 2013.

       6             Of course, in some cases, additional tests

       7      were adopted at the local level, as determined by

       8      collective bargaining, in order to implement teacher

       9      and principal evaluation.

      10             As part of Race To The Top, in order to

      11      provide further support for this work, we will soon

      12      release the EngageNY portal.

      13             The EngageNY portal will allow educators,

      14      students, and families to log in to EngageNY and

      15      access secure educational technology tools.

      16             School districts in New York and across the

      17      country have routinely provided confidential student

      18      data to for-profit vendors in order to meet core

      19      district needs.

      20             This includes providing data to vendors for

      21      scheduling, report cards, and transcript purposes;

      22             This includes school districts providing data

      23      to vendors for special-education service monitoring;

      24             This includes school districts providing data

      25      to vendors for lunch and transportation services;







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       1             And this includes school districts providing

       2      data to vendors for online service -- online

       3      learning systems.

       4             The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act,

       5      or, "FERPA," does not require parental consent for

       6      these core district activities, such as providing

       7      data to a vendor when building a high school

       8      schedule so you can open school.

       9             FERPA does require school districts to have

      10      policies around parental consent for non-core

      11      activities, such as providing data to vendors for

      12      yearbooks or class rings.

      13             InBloom is a service provider on the EngageNY

      14      portal project.

      15             Like any service provider, inBloom could be

      16      replaced with another party that can meet the same

      17      requirements.

      18             InBloom did not create the sharing of data

      19      with vendors.  That has been happening in New York,

      20      and across the country, for many, many years.

      21             InBloom provides non-proprietary data

      22      services to help make it more secure and more

      23      effective for school districts to continue to do

      24      what they are already doing.

      25             There are important facts about the EngageNY







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       1      portal and inBloom.

       2             Student data are never sold;

       3             Data are accessible to vendors only when

       4      authorized by a local or state contract, and only

       5      for that contract's purpose;

       6             Data must be destroyed when the contract

       7      terminates;

       8             The State does not and will not collect

       9      social security numbers;

      10             And data stored through inBloom are

      11      encrypted, which means that the data would be

      12      unusable because they are encrypted, even in the

      13      unlikely event that the firewalls had been breached.

      14             I don't know of any New York school district

      15      that offers this level of protection.

      16             In closing, as we travel around the state, we

      17      are continually inspired by the work of our

      18      teachers, our school and district leaders, and our

      19      students.

      20             As we pursue this goal to help all students

      21      graduate ready for college and their careers, we are

      22      reminded that there is much work to be done, but

      23      there is just as much reason for confidence and

      24      excitement that this goal can and will be achieved.

      25             Thank you again for the opportunity to







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       1      testify, and I'm happy to take your questions.

       2             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Ken, thank you.

       3             I'm just going to follow up on what

       4      Senator Marcellino said.

       5             We're doing our best to provide seating.

       6             There are probably 8 to 10 seats up here, if

       7      people want to.  Don't be shy, you can walk up.

       8      It's all right.

       9             Ken, thank you for the testimony.

      10             There's also a very lengthy PowerPoint

      11      presentation, which we did not have presented, but

      12      it is certainly online for everyone's review.

      13             And, I am going to start by -- I'll pass my

      14      own opportunity to ask questions at the moment, but,

      15      I'm going to start with Senator Hannon, and then go

      16      to Senator Marcellino.

      17             SENATOR HANNON:  Thank you very much.

      18             You touched upon three different topics in a

      19      very quick fashion, and I think that each one of

      20      them is worthy of almost a separate hearing.

      21             The question of the curriculum, now called

      22      "Common Core"; the question of how that curriculum

      23      is implemented, and how the testing itself is done;

      24      and then, third, questions of privacy, vendor,

      25      vendor selection, and all of that.







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       1             I just think that there's a major lesson,

       2      however, for the Regents to be learned in this

       3      state, because all three of those vast policy

       4      decisions that have been rolled out in this state in

       5      a very quick fashion.

       6             And I think it's somewhat a little

       7      disingenuous for you to say the testing in 2013 was

       8      not more than it had been, because somewhere --

       9                  [Applause.]

      10             SENATOR HANNON:  I'm sorry.  That's not an

      11      applause line, for me.

      12             -- it's, just, that there has not been the

      13      engagement with the public, with the Legislature,

      14      that one ought to when you're doing major policy

      15      rollout.

      16             Now, I'm just going to leave it at that.

      17             But I find that, if you think this is working

      18      successfully, that's mistaken.

      19                  [Applause.]

      20             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  We're not here for that.

      21             Believe me, I'm a politician, and

      22      I appreciate the applause, but this is such a

      23      serious thing that we're engaged in, that -- and

      24      it's the first hearing.

      25             Senator Flanagan, congratulations for having







                                                                  22
       1      the first hearing, because we haven't had that

       2      before.

       3             And it's amazing to me that, here's -- the

       4      last comment I'm making:

       5             I get criticism on the Common Core curriculum

       6      by people who probably don't understand it, but are

       7      either on the left in terms of politics or on the

       8      right in terms of politics, and it's very unique

       9      that you could have united that group.

      10                  [Laughter.]

      11             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you, Senator Hannon.

      12             I would, diplomatically, and respectfully,

      13      ask this:

      14             If there are periodic interruptions, we might

      15      all be having dinner together, and Suffolk Community

      16      College will make sure that we don't have that

      17      opportunity.

      18             So, I'm going to move to Senator Marcellino

      19      who I know is very humorous and concise and succinct

      20      in his own right.

      21             Senator Marcellino.

      22             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  I'll try to be succinct.

      23             Again, John, thank you for having the

      24      hearings.  This is very important.  The topic is

      25      extremely important.







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       1             I'm just piling on a little bit with what

       2      Senator Hannon just said.

       3             My constituents do not think the way

       4      Common Core has been implemented has been done well.

       5             It hasn't been done well, in my mind.

       6             They're confused.  They don't know what

       7      you're trying to do, and what they're getting is a

       8      series of tests.

       9             Now, we've asked this question before,

      10      and I think Senator Flanagan asked it at a

      11      previous meeting that we had:  How many tests are

      12      currently mandated?

      13             Third grade, eighth grade; or, fourth grade,

      14      eighth grade; or whatever it is, how many tests are

      15      mandated for Common Core?

      16             KEN WAGNER:  So the mandate is not part of

      17      Common Core; rather, the mandate is part of the

      18      U.S. Education Department's requirements around

      19      Education Secondary and Elementary Act [sic], or,

      20      "No Child Left Behind."

      21             Those requirements include annual tests in

      22      grades 3 through 8 --

      23             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  How many?

      24             KEN WAGNER:  Sorry?

      25             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  How many?







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       1             KEN WAGNER:  There's one test per year in

       2      each grade, grades 3 through 8, in both English and

       3      math, as well as one test per year in grades 4 and 8

       4      for science.

       5             And then there is a requirement for a test in

       6      English in the high school years and a test in math

       7      in the high school years.

       8             Those are the federal requirements.

       9             We also have a requirement, a federal

      10      requirement, to assess the needs of students who are

      11      English-language learners.  That test is called the

      12      "New York State English as a Second Language

      13      Achievement Test";

      14             And we have a requirement to test the needs

      15      of students who have the most severe educational

      16      disabilities.  That test is called the

      17      "New York State Alternate Assessment."

      18             Finally, not required by the federal

      19      government, we have Regents exams which we have

      20      historically offered.

      21             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  So the way I count, you

      22      have a test in each of the years, 3 through 8, one

      23      test --

      24             KEN WAGNER:  Correct.

      25             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  -- in English and math?







                                                                  25
       1             KEN WAGNER:  English, math.

       2             And then in grades -- so, two tests, one in

       3      English and one in math.

       4             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  That's two.

       5             KEN WAGNER:  And then, in grades 4 and 8,

       6      there's a science test.

       7             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  So, plus the two tests,

       8      you said, in English and math in high school?

       9             KEN WAGNER:  Required by the federal

      10      government, a test in English and math in

      11      high school.

      12             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  How much time are these

      13      tests taking in the elementary grades?

      14             KEN WAGNER:  So, roughly -- and in the

      15      slides, we have the exact times, but, roughly,

      16      it's -- on Slides 34 and 35.

      17             But you have three sessions, because there's

      18      three days of testing.  And, roughly, 45 minutes to

      19      70 minutes per day, for about 270 minutes of testing

      20      for each of those ELA and math assessments.

      21             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  All right, I missed

      22      that, and I'm not being facetious.

      23             KEN WAGNER:  No, no.

      24             So let me just pull up the slide, and I'll be

      25      precise with you.







                                                                  26
       1             So in grades 3 through 5, ELA, there are --

       2      there's a difference between the amount of time that

       3      we estimate it will take students and the amount of

       4      time that's scheduled.

       5             We schedule for 90 minutes, for 3 days, in

       6      grades 3 through 5, ELA;

       7             And we schedule for 90 minutes, for 3 days,

       8      in grades 6 through 8, ELA.

       9             The amount of time that's estimated for

      10      students to actually take is slightly lower than the

      11      time that we schedule, and that depends on the test.

      12             For math, we -- in 2013, we scheduled, in

      13      grades 3, 70 minutes, for 3 days;

      14             In grades 4, 70 minutes, 70 minutes, and

      15      90 minutes;

      16             And in grades 5 through 8, 90 minutes,

      17      90 minutes, and 90 minutes.

      18             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Is anything going on

      19      other than those tests on those days?

      20             KEN WAGNER:  So we encourage, and what school

      21      districts typically do, is they use the morning time

      22      to administer the assessments, and that's typically

      23      the activity for the morning.

      24             Students -- some students have extended time

      25      based on accommodations that they're provided,







                                                                  27
       1      either "English as a Second Language" extended

       2      times, or "Students With Disabilities" extended

       3      times.

       4             And then typically what happens, is schools

       5      move about the rest of their activities for the

       6      remainder of the day.

       7             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Now, is there any

       8      flexibility within the districts, administering

       9      these tests?

      10             KEN WAGNER:  So, there are specific days that

      11      are assigned for the testing windows, and then

      12      there's days that are open for makeups and scoring

      13      of the tests.

      14             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Who scores the tests?

      15             KEN WAGNER:  That depends on the districts.

      16      There's different models that are allowable.

      17             School districts may score the tests within

      18      the district, with the provision that teachers may

      19      not score their own tests.

      20             School districts may collaborate with other

      21      districts to score their tests regionally, or, they

      22      may contract, for example, with a BOCES to do

      23      scoring at the BOCES level.

      24             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Now, when you bring

      25      in -- you said these are federally mandated,







                                                                  28
       1      "No Child Left Behind," tests that are required

       2      here.

       3             When you bring in Common Core, when the

       4      districts implement the Common Core standards, how

       5      does that impact the testing?

       6             KEN WAGNER:  So for the Common Core

       7      implementation, what we did is, we modified, we

       8      changed the tests; we rebuilt the tests from

       9      scratch, with -- as I mentioned, with educator

      10      involvement, to have the Common Core tests measure

      11      student progress on the Common Core standards, which

      12      is different from the prior tests which measured

      13      student progress on the prior set of standards that

      14      were adopted in 2005.

      15             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  All right, so the test

      16      that came out this year, which showed significant

      17      drops in success over the prior year's tests, were

      18      totally different than the prior year's exams?

      19             KEN WAGNER:  They measured a different --

      20      they measured students' progress on a different set

      21      of standards.

      22             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  And should not be

      23      compared to one another?

      24             KEN WAGNER:  When we released the scores, we

      25      explained to the public, and to the media, that this







                                                                  29
       1      is a new baseline that is not directly comparable to

       2      prior-year assessment-score results.

       3             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  I would suggest that

       4      that explanation was not done well, because there is

       5      great confusion out there as to whether or not

       6      schools are succeeding or not.

       7             I liken it to the example, and I will end

       8      with this, John -- I liken it to the example of

       9      playing baseball.

      10             I'm a 300 hitter, on current standards.

      11             Major League Baseball decides to move

      12      first base back 5 feet, I'm no longer a 300 hitter.

      13             I'm the same person with the same skills, but

      14      now we have a different set of rules.

      15             So we change the rules, and we haven't

      16      thoroughly explained it, and we haven't given time

      17      for the people who have to implement the new rules

      18      and the new standards a chance to test drive the

      19      system.

      20             I think the problem is, you needed time, and

      21      you didn't give them the time.

      22             I understand when they brought them in --

      23                  [Applause.]

      24             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  I'm not looking for

      25      that.  Please.







                                                                  30
       1             I understand, when you brought them in, in

       2      2010, and all the other stuff that went down with

       3      it, but, when the teachers have to come in, and as a

       4      former teacher myself, I needed time to get used to

       5      the new standards, I needed time to figure out how

       6      the kids in my classes learned.  They learn

       7      differently, as you well know.  Not all kids learn

       8      the same way.

       9             So you have to adapt your curriculum to the

      10      way your kids in the classroom learn.

      11             That takes time to test it out, to work it

      12      out, and to do it.

      13             This was not allowed.

      14             And I think, when Commissioner King's

      15      statement, after a while, that it wasn't going to

      16      be -- that this wasn't going to be an evaluative

      17      tool on the teachers, and it wasn't going to be an

      18      evaluative tool for the kids, I think that got lost,

      19      because it came out late.

      20             I mean, that should have come out very first

      21      thing going.

      22             If you were going to use the new standards,

      23      they needed time to get used to them, and to prepare

      24      the kids for them, and actually do the job that

      25      you're asking them to do.







                                                                  31
       1             So this is -- as Kemp said, this has been

       2      handled poorly.  It's been handled very poorly.

       3             And some cases, I lay it on the school

       4      districts, because I don't think all of them

       5      actually did the right thing with it.

       6             But in some cases, most cases, in my mind,

       7      State Ed didn't help.

       8             And I think you have to go back and you got

       9      to relook and rethink what you're doing, because if

      10      you think this is being done successfully, you're

      11      wrong.

      12             And I would suggest, although I do not

      13      support, you're going to see a bigger pushback from

      14      the community.  And I think you're going to need

      15      that.

      16                  [Applause.]

      17             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  And I want to make it

      18      clear, I'm not encouraging that.

      19             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  I'm just still adjusting

      20      to the picture of Senator Marcellino playing

      21      baseball, but that's just me.

      22             Senator Martins.

      23             SENATOR MARTINS:  Thank you.

      24             Good morning.

      25             KEN WAGNER:  Good morning.







                                                                  32
       1             SENATOR MARTINS:  You know, I'm still having

       2      a hard time understanding a basic premise that comes

       3      up from time to time, and that's that our

       4      high school students are not college-ready.

       5             And, so, can you describe for me how you or

       6      how the State Education Department arrived at that

       7      figure?

       8             I know that there's a statewide statistic,

       9      and then there's a Long Island statistic.

      10             I'm specifically concerned regarding that

      11      Long Island statistic, and how it was arrived at.

      12             What's your background for that?

      13             KEN WAGNER:  Sure.

      14             So what we see is that, whether the measures

      15      are national or New York, there's consistent

      16      information.

      17             So one of the measures that was a New York

      18      measure, at the secondary level, was back in

      19      2010-2011.

      20             The Board of Regents, in working with

      21      information from colleges, for example, SUNY and

      22      CUNY, started to ask some questions about, What are

      23      some of the qualifications that college-admissions

      24      directors look for when students are, not only

      25      accepted into college, but, if students are going to







                                                                  33
       1      be successful, in terms of enrolling in

       2      credit-bearing courses and being successful in those

       3      courses?

       4             So one of the pieces of information that we

       5      got, is that it was not sufficient to just be

       6      graduated with a New York State Regents diploma, but

       7      the scores on the Regents exams made a difference.

       8             So, the passing score is 65, but what

       9      college-admissions directors told us, is a 65 was

      10      not good enough; but, rather, if a student scored,

      11      for example, a score of 75 in math or a score of

      12      80 in English, that that was a more appropriate

      13      predicter of whether or not a student was going to

      14      be able to be enrolled in a credit-bearing course

      15      and be successful in that course.

      16             When we looked at our cohort data, not just

      17      based on the percentage of students in the cohort

      18      that were graduating, but, rather, based on the

      19      percentage of students in the cohort who achieved at

      20      that higher level of cut score, that's when we found

      21      that, although our statewide graduation rate was,

      22      roughly, 74 percent, our cohort graduation rate,

      23      with those higher cut scores, was, roughly, half;

      24      about 35 percent.

      25             On Long Island, those statistics are, I think







                                                                  34
       1      it's 86 percent overall graduation rate, but about a

       2      50 percent cohort statistic if you factor in those

       3      higher assessment scores.

       4             But that is by no means the only measure, and

       5      I want to be very clear about that.

       6             But if we look at another measure, the

       7      percentage of the cohort that graduates with

       8      advanced-course experiences, we have a credential

       9      called the "Regents Diploma With Advanced

      10      Designation," and that's a very rigorous diploma

      11      that's not based on test scores; but, rather, is

      12      based on taking advanced coursework.

      13             And if you look at the percent of the cohorts

      14      statewide that graduates with that

      15      "Advanced Designation" credential, you will find a

      16      similar number; that it's, roughly, 35 percent of

      17      the cohort.

      18             Whether you use the regular diploma with

      19      higher cut scores on Regents exam, or you use the

      20      "Advanced Designation" diploma, and they're not the

      21      same group of kids, the percentages are roughly the

      22      same.

      23             But it doesn't just stop there.

      24             If you look at databased on the College Board

      25      tests, things like SAT and PSAT, again, you get a







                                                                  35
       1      percentage that ranges from the mid 30s to the low

       2      40s.

       3             If you look at the federal assessment, the

       4      National Assessment of Education Progress, you get

       5      similar results.

       6             SENATOR MARTINS:  But that depends on where

       7      the State Education Department decides to place that

       8      cut score.

       9             Wherever you decide to put that mark will

      10      determine that 30 percent or 50 percent mark that

      11      you talk about.

      12             And, frankly, I just -- you know,

      13      representing the districts that I do, and being

      14      involved, and not just the lighthouse districts that

      15      we have in parts of my Senate District, but some of

      16      the middle-of-the-road districts, some of the more

      17      challenged districts, some of the districts that

      18      represent areas that are socioeconomically

      19      challenged, those kids are performing well.

      20             They're graduating, they're going on to

      21      4-year schools.  They're successful in college, and

      22      they're graduating, and they lead successful lives.

      23             So when we talk about 50 percent of --

      24                  [Applause.]

      25             SENATOR MARTINS:  When we talk about







                                                                  36
       1      50 percent of kids not being college-ready, that's a

       2      very disturbing statistic, because it forces us then

       3      to question the rubric that you're using, and the

       4      State Education Department is using, for coming up

       5      with that statistic.

       6                  [Applause.]

       7             SENATOR MARTINS:  I can tell you that I've

       8      got districts that graduate 97, 98, 99 percent of

       9      their kids.  They're going on to 4-year schools.

      10      They're achieving extraordinary well.

      11             And across the board; not just the high

      12      achievers in the school, but the school has a

      13      phenomenal record of bringing all of those students

      14      and elevating education.

      15             So, numbers like 50 percent of students not

      16      being college-ready here on Long Island is a

      17      concern.

      18             And perhaps we need to look at those numbers,

      19      look at the methodology, because it -- it raises

      20      questions in parents.

      21             I've got four daughters.

      22             And, so, when I think about my kids in

      23      college, or, in high school now, going on to

      24      college, I question statistics that say that

      25      50 percent of our kids aren't college-ready.







                                                                  37
       1             And if we know what that number is, and we

       2      can trust that number, we can work together towards

       3      addressing that need without necessarily pulling

       4      everyone else down.

       5             I appreciate your testimony today.

       6             Thank you.

       7                  [Applause.]

       8             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Senator Martins, thank

       9      you.

      10             Senator Zeldin, and then he'll be followed by

      11      Senator Boyle.

      12             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Good morning.

      13             I wanted to get back to the questions and

      14      dialogue with regards to the amount of tests taking

      15      place in the schools.

      16             The answer to the question was, essentially,

      17      two tests in each grade.

      18             And, I just want to kind of go a little

      19      further, and I don't know if there's some type of

      20      miscommunication.

      21             My understanding -- or, my own experience

      22      with their daughters and their schools, my

      23      discussions with my constituents, but my

      24      understanding is, that there are more than two tests

      25      taking place in schools per year.







                                                                  38
       1             So I hope -- and maybe we can just discuss

       2      that for a minute, and try to figure out what's

       3      right and what is wrong.

       4             KEN WAGNER:  Sure.

       5             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Because my understanding is,

       6      that there are more than two tests per year.

       7             KEN WAGNER:  Yeah, so unless I misunderstood

       8      the question, I thought it was, What is required?

       9             And that is the test that we outlined before.

      10             Of course, there is an additional challenge,

      11      which is the implementation of the Teacher and

      12      Principal Evaluation statute.

      13             And what that has done, is that requires

      14      different components of teacher and principal

      15      evaluation.

      16             There's the "20 percent" component that's

      17      based on state growth;

      18             There's the "20 percent" component that's

      19      based on local achievement scores;

      20             And then there's the "60 percent" component

      21      that's based on other measures of professional

      22      practice.

      23             And, we all had a challenge.

      24             Every single school district in this state,

      25      and every single school district on Long Island, had







                                                                  39
       1      a challenge on how to interpret and implement each

       2      of those components under a tight time frame, as

       3      required by the statute.

       4             And in that implementation, although there

       5      were options on how to implement the state portion

       6      for teachers who do not teach a test that has a

       7      state-required test, roughly, 80 percent of our

       8      teachers -- only about 18 percent of our teachers

       9      are actually covered by a state-provided test.

      10             So, how to implement the state portion for

      11      those other teachers, and then how to implement the

      12      local-achievement portion.

      13             There were other options; for example, the

      14      using of existing state measures for other purposes,

      15      as well as the implementation of different types of

      16      assessments that are regionally developed, or

      17      different assessments that, perhaps, were

      18      developed by the BOCES, and so on.

      19             But in the press to implement on schedule,

      20      what lots of districts did, is they elected to

      21      administrator additional tests.  And, typically,

      22      those tests, as required by growth, have a "pretest"

      23      component and "post-test" component.

      24             That, for some districts, was not a new

      25      experience.  Some districts have elected, even prior







                                                                  40
       1      to APPR, to implement pre and post tests, because

       2      they just found them instructionally relevant.

       3             But for a large number of districts, that was

       4      a new experience, and it caused lots and lots of

       5      questions in communities across the state, and, of

       6      course, on Long Island.

       7             SENATOR ZELDIN:  So, I mean, I could

       8      potentially end up opening up a hornets nest right

       9      now, if we were to dig deeper.

      10             So the question -- the question that was

      11      asked with regards to "What was required?" and there

      12      was, essentially, two per grade, if we dug deeper

      13      into teacher evaluations and other tests, we would

      14      actually find out that, all year long, from the

      15      beginning of the school year to the end of the year,

      16      and you can include diagnostic tests, field tests,

      17      in addition to the two that are required, find out

      18      that there are actually a lot of tests and

      19      assessments taking place all year?

      20             KEN WAGNER:  If local school districts

      21      elected to adopt that -- that -- those tests, then,

      22      yes.

      23             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Right.

      24             So --

      25                  (Unintelligible comments from many







                                                                  41
       1        audience members.)

       2             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Excuse me.

       3             We're going to be here for quite a while.

       4             Decorum is really important.

       5             Please hold your comments, out of respect to

       6      everyone in the audience and to the people who are

       7      testifying.

       8             Ken, go ahead.

       9             SENATOR ZELDIN:  So the follow-up question

      10      is:  With regards to the implementation, at the

      11      local level, of the standards, they -- if a school

      12      district did not collectively bargain standards that

      13      were approved at the state level, then they would

      14      lose out on State Education funding; is that

      15      correct?

      16             KEN WAGNER:  When you say "standards," do you

      17      mean an approvable APPR plan?

      18             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Right.

      19             KEN WAGNER:  Yeah.

      20             Yeah, so there are other requirements to

      21      submit on a timeline, as for -- for submitting an

      22      APPR plan that's approved.

      23             SENATOR ZELDIN:  So if a school district did

      24      not -- so you're talking about, at the local level,

      25      collectively bargaining for evaluations, if the







                                                                  42
       1      local level, they did not successfully collectively

       2      bargain, then they would lose out on, say, education

       3      funding -- the growth in State-aid funding?

       4             That's my understanding.

       5             KEN WAGNER:  Yes.

       6             So there was a State-aide contingency on

       7      submitting an APPR plan.  That was part of the

       8      budgeting process.

       9             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Okay.

      10             The one other question that I wanted to ask,

      11      with regards to -- the beginning of your testimony,

      12      you were talking about how this was, you know,

      13      state-developed and state-implemented.

      14             And, you know, my understanding -- and, just,

      15      please correct me if I'm wrong -- my understanding

      16      is that, you know, this was really initiated by, you

      17      know, private interests associated with

      18      Washington, D.C.  That there were a couple of

      19      organizations, one being the National Governors

      20      Association.

      21             And there was a -- what was the name of

      22      the --

      23             KEN WAGNER:  CCSSO.

      24             SENATOR ZELDIN:  -- Achieve Incorporated, you

      25      know, a DC-based non-for profit, that was,







                                                                  43
       1      essentially, working hard on implementing these

       2      national standards.

       3             My understanding is, that there was a -- that

       4      there was a role that D.C. played -- I just want to

       5      understand what the facts are.

       6             KEN WAGNER:  Sure, sure.

       7             SENATOR ZELDIN:  So that -- you know, some

       8      people are claiming what you said are myths;

       9             Some people are claiming what you said are

      10      fact;

      11             And, then, people who are saying that this

      12      was actually initiated with D.C., and that you

      13      enlisted these two state-based organizations to --

      14      you know, to, essentially, take on this effort.

      15             And then it was a DC-based non-for profit

      16      that worked on implementing it with private funding,

      17      and then it was supplemented with hundreds of

      18      millions of dollars of, you know, federal aid to --

      19      you know, to the consortiums.

      20             So, I just want to understand what's fact and

      21      what's myth, because that's important to me.

      22             KEN WAGNER:  So the challenge around rigorous

      23      standards, you know, goes back, of course, a very

      24      long time, including into the '80s, where people

      25      were worrying very much about whether or not our







                                                                  44
       1      students were being taught to rigorous standards,

       2      and the impact of that on economic competitiveness,

       3      international competitiveness, and, really, just

       4      what's morally right for students.

       5             That's been a challenge that has been

       6      grappled with by both political parties at the

       7      national level, but also at the state level.

       8             The organizations that were most directly

       9      involved in the development of the Common Core

      10      standards are the National Governors Association and

      11      the Council of Chief State School Officers.

      12             But, NGA and CCSSO are exactly what I said;

      13      they're a representative group of the governors from

      14      each of our states, and they're a representative

      15      group of each of the chief state school officers or

      16      the state superintendents from each of our states.

      17             Yes, their central offices are located in

      18      Albany, but they represent the entire country.

      19             And that work has been going on for quite,

      20      quite some time, in terms of writing the standards.

      21             The standards were written on behalf of those

      22      two organizations, with the involvement of

      23      educators, for a long period of time, with lots of

      24      research.

      25             The research in the standards is in one of







                                                                  45
       1      the appendices of the standards, and then it was up

       2      to individual states whether or not to adopt those

       3      standards.

       4             You're absolutely right to point out that the

       5      federal government did provide some incentives for

       6      states to adopt the standards.

       7             But, if you look closely, and, again, I take

       8      the statement about being disingenuous seriously,

       9      and I never intend to be disingenuous.

      10             But, the feds required college-ready

      11      standards.  That's what the technical federal

      12      requirement was.

      13             States had to, for example in Race To The

      14      Top, adopt college-ready standards.

      15             When states grappled with how to adopt

      16      college-ready standards, they had a choice:

      17             They could go and write them again,

      18      themselves, on their own;

      19             Or, they could look to the National Governors

      20      Association and the Council of Chief State School

      21      Officers that have been doing this work for a

      22      decade, and consider those standards.

      23             So, yes, 45 states and the District of

      24      Columbia elected, in their own individual decisions,

      25      to adopt the work that was done collectively.







                                                                  46
       1             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Just a few, just very brief,

       2      points that I just wanted to -- I just wanted to

       3      make.

       4             My own observations -- this is a rare

       5      opportunity that I get a chance to -- this is the

       6      second time now that we've had an opportunity to

       7      discuss this important issue.

       8             And, last time that we got together, we were

       9      discussing -- I guess, if you were to break this

      10      entire process down to three components, you have

      11      the standards, the curriculum, and the tests.

      12             And there are -- there's been an SED role in

      13      part of those three areas.

      14             There's a role at the -- from local, you

      15      know, school boards, with teachers; with companies

      16      like, you know, Pearson.

      17             These -- there are a lot of different

      18      components going into the curriculum, standards, and

      19      testing.

      20             It's my observation that that isn't

      21      calibrated yet.

      22             That the curriculum to prepare our students

      23      for the tests, based on the standards, are leading

      24      to a situation where -- let's just go back to the

      25      two tests that are required per year.







                                                                  47
       1             That you're ending up in a situation where

       2      you have, let's say, a good third-grader, an

       3      intelligent third-grader, that -- you know, who pays

       4      attention in school, takes good notes, does their

       5      homework; is going to be a superstar in life.

       6             And that third-grader is being taught to what

       7      that teacher believes is the best attempt at a

       8      curriculum to prepare that student for the test.

       9             Obviously, the teacher wants to get that kid

      10      to do well on the test, because, you know, it's high

      11      stakes for them now.

      12             And that intelligent third-grader is, not

      13      only failing the test and being told that they're

      14      not proficient, but they're -- I mean, they're --

      15      they're having a -- you know, just a miserable

      16      experience of -- you know, of failing that test from

      17      day one.

      18             And then, you know, there's several days.

      19             So, like, last year, April 16th to

      20      April 18th, and April 24th to April 26th,

      21      essentially, six days, you know, out of eight, there

      22      were -- well, over the course of two weeks, I should

      23      say, there were a lot of tests going on.

      24             And I just -- I think that you need to

      25      calibrate a lot better for this to have any chance







                                                                  48
       1      of working.

       2             And as I said previously, you know, if --

       3      I really do believe that if you lean too forward in

       4      life, you know, you could end up falling on your

       5      face.

       6             And, unfortunately, you know, our kids have a

       7      lot to lose.

       8             So I just -- I think that you really -- we

       9      need to look at how the curriculum is being set to

      10      the standards, and the tests to teach on the

      11      curriculum, or this has zero percent chance of

      12      working.

      13             That's just -- and two other minor points:

      14             With regards to the data, I believe that --

      15      personally, I believe in the fundamental right of a

      16      parent to control the upbringing of their child.

      17             That, a lot of this data is getting shared.

      18             And I think it's very important that the

      19      policies, going forward, takes into stronger

      20      accounts the rights of the parent to control how

      21      to -- how to decide what data is shared, and what's

      22      not to be shared.

      23             And I think that they need to -- parents need

      24      to be more involved than they are right now with

      25      those decisions.







                                                                  49
       1             And, thirdly, I just want to say, you know,

       2      in your opening, you were talking about

       3      supplementing the local efforts.  That this is

       4      supplementing the local efforts.

       5             And, you know, I get more of the feeling

       6      that, you know, like, the local efforts may be

       7      supplementing, you know, the state and federal

       8      efforts, but, you know, I think a more accurate word

       9      might be "supplant" the local efforts.

      10             I just -- it's important to

      11      perceptualize [sic] for parents and educators and

      12      communities throughout the state to believe that our

      13      state and federal government gets it.

      14             And, you know, I just think that some of what

      15      has been put out is giving the perception in the

      16      public that the state and federal government doesn't

      17      get it on this particular issue.

      18             And you may not -- the State Education

      19      Department in New York State may not hold a school

      20      district accountable.

      21             It's maybe saying that we don't want to hold

      22      a school district accountable for the first round of

      23      test results, but then Governor Cuomo is, you know,

      24      saying in public, that a school district faces the

      25      "death penalty" for not performing up to standards.







                                                                  50
       1             And, you know, he is -- you know, he has a

       2      much bigger soapbox than I do, than you do, than any

       3      of us do here in this room.

       4             And it's very important, that if that's the

       5      message, that -- you know, that your message --

       6      about not holding school districts accountable for

       7      the tests coming out of the gate, if that's your

       8      message, then it's very important that the Governor

       9      isn't stepping on your message by saying that he

      10      wants to have a "death penalty" for school districts

      11      for not performing to a certain standard.

      12             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you, Senator Zeldin.

      13                  [Applause.]

      14             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Senator Boyle.

      15             SENATOR BOYLE:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

      16             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Excuse me, let me just

      17      interrupt.

      18             We have been joined by Senator LaValle.

      19             Senator Boyle, and then Senator LaValle.

      20             SENATOR BOYLE:  Thank you, Chairman, and

      21      thank you for holding these important hearings.

      22             Ken, I will be brief.

      23             I just want to ask, I associate myself with

      24      some of the remarks and concerns of my colleagues on

      25      the Common Core curriculum.







                                                                  51
       1             I hear on a weekly, and maybe daily, basis in

       2      my office, from parents, teachers, administrators,

       3      and some students, about the stress regarding these

       4      tests.

       5             I mean, it's really unbelievable to me.

       6             I know that a former congressman out here,

       7      Tom Downey [ph.], used to joke during the debate on

       8      prayer in school, that, as long as there are tests,

       9      there was gonna be prayer in school.

      10             However, it's a difference when I see third-,

      11      fourth-graders experiencing such stress.

      12             And I think it really is because of the

      13      timing of this.

      14             New York to trying to take a lead on this,

      15      and I see some of the other states, including

      16      Michigan, Indiana, and I understand, most recently,

      17      California, are trying to say, "Whoa, slow down

      18      here."

      19             I would like to see New York join that club.

      20             We need to slow down on the implementation of

      21      this, and I would like to get your opinion on that.

      22                  [Applause.]

      23             KEN WAGNER:  Yep, yep.

      24             So, three things:

      25             The first is, that we need to think very







                                                                  52
       1      carefully about what's causing the stress, and who

       2      is stressed --

       3                  [Laughter.]

       4             KEN WAGNER:  -- and who's also communicating

       5      the stress.

       6             There's a lot of change going on right now,

       7      obviously.

       8             These hearings are being called to help us

       9      all better understand the changes are that are going

      10      on right now.

      11             But we do need to make a very clear

      12      distinction between the stress that we as adults

      13      experience as we collectively go through these

      14      transitions, versus, the stress that students

      15      experience, and then, most importantly, the stress

      16      that we communicate between adults and students.

      17             You know, I started my career as a school

      18      psychologist.  I've worked with children all my

      19      life, and it hurts me, ever, to see a student who is

      20      stressed.

      21             But my wife is also a psychologist, and she

      22      had an opportunity, where she was sitting in her --

      23      going out to her waiting room, and there was an

      24      adult in the room and there was a child in the room.

      25             And the adults in the waiting room -- the







                                                                  53
       1      adults in the waiting room went over to the child

       2      and said, You've got the tests coming up; right?

       3      Are you nervous about them?

       4             And they didn't know each other.  Those two

       5      people did not know each other.

       6             Now, some children, we have to also

       7      understand that we cannot prejudge what children are

       8      capable of.

       9             We cannot prejudge the level of rigor to

      10      which our students can rise.

      11             And we have to ask ourself the question:  If

      12      rigorous learning is inherently stressful, not in a

      13      bad way, but in a good way, and a challenging way,

      14      then is it better for our students to experience

      15      stress when they're in school, surrounded by

      16      competent and caring adults, their teachers?

      17             Or, is it better for our students to

      18      experience the stress when they're done with school,

      19      and they can't get into the college that they want

      20      to get into, or, they get into the college that they

      21      want to get into and they have to pay thousands of

      22      dollars for remediation, or, they can't get the job

      23      that they want to get, or, they can't find the job

      24      with a livable wage?

      25             So there's a collective approach to stress:







                                                                  54
       1             The messages -- the stress that the adults

       2      are experiencing and the message we send to

       3      children;

       4             The very appropriate stressors that occur as

       5      students engage with rigorous instruction;

       6             And then, finally, where is that stress best

       7      experienced?

       8             SENATOR BOYLE:  Just, Ken, the point being,

       9      that you're testing kids now, basically, on things

      10      they haven't been taught over the course of years.

      11             If we had slowed it down and they were being

      12      taught -- and I understand there's going to be some

      13      stress involved with testing, but something you've

      14      actually been taught, and standards that you've been

      15      taught too.

      16             It's this timing of this I think is the major

      17      problem, and I certainly hope that you and the

      18      Commissioner and the Governor will take that into

      19      account.

      20             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Senator LaValle.

      21             SENATOR LAVALLE:  Senator Flanagan, thank you

      22      for holding this hearing, and other hearings

      23      throughout the state.

      24             Ken, we as legislators are an extension of

      25      people who we represent.  And if we're doing our







                                                                  55
       1      job, we are connected and we listen to people.

       2             And people are telling us something: parents,

       3      educators, board members, across the board.

       4             A couple of things, that -- and Senator Boyle

       5      talked about it, we kind of put the cart before the

       6      horse here.

       7             But what I'd like to know, so, I'm closing my

       8      eyes, and I'm trying to visualize

       9      State Education Department, and what goes on.

      10             So --

      11                  [Laughter.]

      12             SENATOR LAVALLE:  -- do I see "bureaucrats"?

      13             Do I see people that are bureaucrats, but

      14      say, Gee, we're hearing something.  Legislators are

      15      telling us, we hear out in the field, something.

      16             And my question is:  Have you heard that?

      17             And, is the department willing to change in

      18      accordance with the input that they're hearing from

      19      legislators, and, people in the field; teachers,

      20      principals, superintendents, board members?

      21             KEN WAGNER:  So -- so, thank you.

      22             SENATOR LAVALLE:  Parents.

      23             And parents.

      24             KEN WAGNER:  Our Commissioner is in schools

      25      multiple times every single week.  He's spent lots







                                                                  56
       1      of times on Long Island, and so on.

       2             And every single time our Commissioner is in

       3      a school, he, of course, gets lots and lots of

       4      feedback from people about what's going well and

       5      what's not going well.

       6             Members of our Commissioner's staff,

       7      including myself, routinely do our very best to get

       8      feedback from folks that are in the field.

       9             I have a call every single week on Thursdays

      10      at 9:00 a.m.  Talking to people throughout the state

      11      every single week on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.

      12             And I'm just one of the Commissioner's

      13      cabinet that tries to engage with the field.

      14             When we get feedback, for example, that we've

      15      not done as good enough job as we need to do about

      16      engaging with teachers, we know that.  That we've

      17      not done as good enough job as we need to do about

      18      engaging with parents, we know that.

      19             That we need to foster the types of the

      20      communications.

      21             Who do parents listen to?  They listen to the

      22      most trusted members of their educational network,

      23      which is their child's teachers.

      24             So we need to do a better job to get more

      25      information to teachers, so teachers can work with







                                                                  57
       1      parents about how to make this process better.

       2             So we get that.

       3             In last year's assessments, we heard that the

       4      testing times for the younger grades were too long.

       5             So in 2013, we cut back the testing time.

       6             In this year's assessments, we heard loud and

       7      clear, that students in grades -- on day two of ELA

       8      were running out of time when they were completing

       9      their constructive-response items.

      10             We took that feedback loud and clear, and

      11      we're making design changes for this coming year's

      12      tests.

      13             Are we perfect about this?  Absolutely not.

      14             Are we sometimes not -- oftentimes not as

      15      connected to the people that you talk to as we

      16      should be?  Absolutely.

      17             Do we struggle with that daily, because we

      18      believe that more brains are better, and teachers

      19      and parents and students will help all of us do a

      20      better job?  Absolutely.

      21             SENATOR LAVALLE:  You know, sometimes I think

      22      the department needs to say, We hear you, and we

      23      don't need a hearing aid.

      24             Lastly, as you know, and we've talked, we

      25      talked over an hour in my office, about the







                                                                  58
       1      legislation I put in, dealing with the test.

       2             And I would certainly -- I certainly intend

       3      to pursue that again this session -- next session.

       4             And, I would like your professional input as

       5      to what is good, and what may not work, what would

       6      work.

       7             Thank you.

       8             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Ken, I just have a couple

       9      of quick things, and we're trying to keep as tightly

      10      as we can to the schedule.

      11             I appreciate my colleagues' comments and

      12      thoughts.

      13             I want to focus on two primary questions, and

      14      then I have an assignment.

      15             You touched on this, but, I think, when you

      16      talk about, you don't want to adversely affect

      17      districts or individual schools or teachers, and

      18      most importantly, you don't want to adversely affect

      19      students, I would like to hear your comments, in

      20      particular, as it relates to AIS, and in this

      21      capacity:

      22             Parents who now see their children getting a

      23      "1" or "2," who heretofore have gotten a "3" or "4,"

      24      whether it's a baseline, or whether it's adapted to

      25      what the realities of the test are, you're going to







                                                                  59
       1      have situations where parents are going to come in

       2      and say, I don't care what State Ed says, I don't

       3      care what anyone else says.  My kid is going to get

       4      these services.

       5             How is the department dealing with that?

       6             And what is the message on that, in

       7      particular, that you're trying to send to the

       8      public?

       9             KEN WAGNER:  So the board took action

      10      yesterday, at its meeting yesterday, around AIS, so

      11      let me provide some information.

      12             The first is, that the most effective support

      13      for all of our students, whether or not it's a

      14      student who performed at a Level 1, 2, 3, or 4, is a

      15      great teacher in front of a classroom with the

      16      proper supports.

      17             And Common Core instruction is different.

      18      It's not just the learning standards that are

      19      different, but it also opens the door for different

      20      instructional practices.

      21             For example, in English-language arts, the

      22      focus on close reading of text, and the focus on

      23      students becoming active readers to gather evidence,

      24      and to respond to questions with that evidence;

      25             Or, in math, the focus on fewer standards and







                                                                  60
       1      more detail, and the blending of fluency of math

       2      knowledge with deep application of math concepts.

       3             Those are not just standards, but those are

       4      changes in instructional practice.

       5             But, incidentally, those are things that

       6      great teachers have been doing forever, so we cannot

       7      pretend that we've suddenly invented great teaching

       8      with the Common Core.

       9             Great teachers have been doing this work for

      10      a very --

      11             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Ken, let me interrupt,

      12      please.

      13             I have profound respect for your knowledge.

      14      I really, genuinely, do.

      15             I want you to focus on what I'm specifically

      16      talking about, as it relates:  What message are we

      17      as legislators supposed to send, either with the

      18      department, or with the Regents, or with others, as

      19      to how do you address that parent?

      20             Because part of what the Commissioner has

      21      said, is that children not learning any less or

      22      necessarily learning any differently, we have a new

      23      baseline.

      24             But how do you -- what's the message that

      25      we're supposed to send?







                                                                  61
       1             And, you know, in my opinion, it has nothing

       2      to do with Common Core.

       3             I'm talking about AIS, and what does it mean

       4      to a parent who's looking to get remedial

       5      instruction for their child?

       6             KEN WAGNER:  Yeah, so AIS is required for

       7      students who score below proficiency.

       8             The definition of AIS has some flexibility,

       9      and it's tailored to student needs.

      10             So, AIS can range from monitoring an educator

      11      who's assigned to monitor student progress, as the

      12      least-intensive intervention, all the way to

      13      one-on-one tutorial support.

      14             So that's the AIS regulation.

      15             What the board acted on last -- yesterday,

      16      similar to what it acted on in 2010, was it provided

      17      a one-year transition for what the cut score is for

      18      AIS services.

      19             So on the 2013 test results, it's not that

      20      every student who scored below proficiency on the

      21      2013 tests is required to receive AIS; but, rather,

      22      we provided information about what is the cut score

      23      on the 2013 test that is comparable to the cut score

      24      on last year's 2012 test.

      25             So, basically, AIS, for this coming school







                                                                  62
       1      year, will only be required for students who fall

       2      below the cut score that's comparable to last year's

       3      proficiency cut score.

       4             It's a one-year transition.

       5             If a -- that's what's required.

       6             If a parent wants their child to receive AIS,

       7      but they're not required under this provision that

       8      the board just acted upon, that would be something

       9      that --

      10             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Well, so let me follow up

      11      with a comment and a question, and to, in essence,

      12      complement some of what my colleagues have said.

      13             This is where I think the disconnect occurs,

      14      and it's a challenge for us to go back and speak

      15      plain English to the people that we represent.  And

      16      parents desperately care about their children no

      17      matter what community they live in.

      18             So, let me give you a perspective example,

      19      where maybe the term "freak out" might be

      20      appropriate, and that relates to the Regents in

      21      particular.

      22             Having seen what happened with the test this

      23      year --

      24             And I understand some of those ramifications.

      25             -- I'm very concerned, and I am by no means







                                                                  63
       1      alone in this regard, about Common Core as it

       2      relates to Regents for next year.

       3             And there's -- I'm not disputing ELA

       4      3 through 8, but now you're talking about college,

       5      now you're talking about graduation.

       6             How do we mollify, or how do we address,

       7      parents who are saying, and my colleagues, Why can't

       8      we wait?

       9             NYSUT has testimony that's coming up today

      10      that says there should be a three-year moratorium,

      11      probably debatable.

      12             But, what's wrong with waiting a year?

      13             KEN WAGNER:  Yep, on Regents exams, so, if

      14      you wait on the testing, you would have to wait on

      15      the instruction, because as lots of people have

      16      pointed out, you need your assessments to align to

      17      the standards.

      18             So if you offer the old Regents exams which

      19      are based on the 2005 standards, then in fairness to

      20      students and fairness to teachers, we would need

      21      those teachers to continue to teach the

      22      2005 standards.

      23             There always needs to be a year one; and that

      24      year one, where you jump both your standards and

      25      your assessment has to occur.  You cannot do the







                                                                  64
       1      assessments later and have the standards be

       2      different than your assessments.

       3             We have a group of students who just came out

       4      of eighth grade who are moving into ninth grade, and

       5      they are aligned on that Common Core assessment

       6      continuum.

       7             Another approach to the Regents-exam

       8      transition is two things:

       9             One is, when we release the scores, we can

      10      also release a percentile result, which, even though

      11      the scores will be different because of the

      12      proficiency rates being different on Common Core

      13      versus the prior standards, the percentile results

      14      can show the students, that regardless of your

      15      performance level, you are at the 80th percentile,

      16      or the 95th percentile.

      17             "Percentile" is, basically, the percentage of

      18      the students that you scored at or above.

      19             So we can help to communicate what the scores

      20      mean by coupling the scores with the percentile.

      21             The second thing we can do is have different

      22      cut scores for the different performance levels.

      23             For example, the Level 3 could be what's

      24      required for college- and career-readiness,

      25      comparable to the 75 and 80 that we have used for







                                                                  65
       1      the graduation-rate metrics.

       2             But Level 2, for example, could be comparable

       3      to passing, for graduation purposes, comparable to

       4      the 65 that we use right now for graduation

       5      purposes, which we know is not the right score for

       6      college-readiness purposes.

       7             So we can have different cut scores.

       8             Educators are part of that cut-score

       9      determination.

      10             They were part of cut-score determination for

      11      grades 3 through 8, and educators from across the

      12      state will be part of the cut-score determinations

      13      for Regents exams as well.

      14             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  The problem is,

      15      I understand everything that you just said.  It's

      16      just going to be very difficult to translate that

      17      out to parents and constituents.

      18             And I will close on this:

      19             We're trying to, again, move along.

      20             I'm going to ask everyone who testifies here,

      21      I'm going to give everyone the same assignment:

      22             We have a hearing coming up on October 1st.

      23             By September 30th, everyone who has

      24      testified, I would like your opinion --

      25             And I will take a snapshot in time: K through







                                                                  66
       1      12, nothing changes, it's static.  A kid goes into

       2      kindergarten, the rubric, and, everything's, going

       3      to be the same for the next 12 years.

       4             -- I would like everyone to provide to our

       5      Committee what you believe are all the tests that

       6      children have to take.

       7             'Cause, to me, this is like the ultimate game

       8      of telephone.

       9             We start out on one end.  By the time you get

      10      to the other end, the story is night and day from

      11      where it started.

      12             So, it will be fascinating for us, and,

      13      hopefully, educational for everyone, to be able to

      14      look and compare, and see how you define, you know,

      15      beauty being in the eyes of the beholder.

      16             So, Ken, Nicholas, and Dennis, thank you very

      17      much.

      18             Regent Tilles.

      19             [Inaudible] your patience.

      20             Regent Tilles, if you don't know him, is

      21      certainly a champion of education on Long Island,

      22      well known by all of us in the Legislature, and a

      23      passionate and ardent advocate for children.

      24             And with that introduction, Roger, no

      25      pressure whatsoever.







                                                                  67
       1             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  Thank you, Senator, and

       2      thank you for having this hearing.

       3             I have been concerned that there is a

       4      tremendous amount of misinformation floating around.

       5             I have been -- it's been a pleasure for me to

       6      represent Long Island, and very frustrating as well,

       7      because I'm not always in sync with the rest of my

       8      fellow Regents.

       9             I -- in 8 1/2 years, we have 125 school

      10      districts on Long Island, I've been to over 70 of

      11      them and have had conversations with people --

      12      teachers, parents, kids, administrators -- in all

      13      those districts.  And the input that I get has been

      14      very, very helpful to me.

      15             I'm only one of two full-time -- basically,

      16      full-time Regents; and, so, I carry with me to

      17      Albany a little more information, perhaps, than most

      18      of the other Regents, who are all good people.

      19             I'm also one of -- well, for seven years,

      20      I was the only Regent that had kids in the public

      21      schools, and that has helped me a tremendous amount

      22      as well in determining policy.

      23             I'm also one that -- I'm the only person,

      24      I think, nationally, that has ever been elected to

      25      two different state boards of education: Michigan







                                                                  68
       1      and New York.

       2             And, I'm on the National Board For

       3      Professional Teaching Practices.

       4             Many of you know me as a business person,

       5      but, really, my life has been much more devoted to

       6      education policy than it has been to business.

       7             I support most of the Regents reform agenda.

       8      I think that most of it is on target.

       9             Public schools provide the common bond for

      10      our citizens, and I'm worried about the use of some

      11      of the programs, No Child Left Behind, for instance,

      12      to break those bonds.

      13             And that's why I think our agenda can

      14      actually be a very positive statement.

      15             And I'm not going to talk about it too much,

      16      but, the improving, the recruiting, professional

      17      development, retaining, rewarding, teachers, and

      18      making the principals and the education profession

      19      as a valued one in our society, is absolutely

      20      essential.  And we don't do that.

      21                  [Applause.]

      22             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  And I'm not elected by

      23      the public so you don't have to applaud for me.

      24             Applaud for them.

      25                  [Laughter.]







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       1             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  These guys elect me.

       2             So, I think that's really important.

       3             And if you look at the countries that are

       4      doing really well, they treat their teachers and

       5      administrators as the professionals; as real, like,

       6      doctors and psychologists.

       7             The -- so that -- I really think that's one

       8      of the first steps, and I think the Regents are

       9      moving in that direction, by raising the standards

      10      for those that get certification to be teachers, and

      11      for the professional development of teachers.

      12             Building the diagnostic assessments -- that

      13      we just talked about with Ken Wagner, who really is

      14      an expert on this stuff -- and which inform teachers

      15      in schools how they can improve their practices and

      16      differentiate student instruction, I think that's

      17      really important, as long as the privacy of the

      18      information is safeguarded.

      19             Which, I'm afraid right now, under the

      20      existing policies that school districts have with

      21      sharing information with third parties, is not

      22      protected.

      23             I think, in essence, our state data system

      24      might be a much better protection.

      25             I have to go by the experts on that.  I'm not







                                                                  70
       1      an expert on it.

       2             Focusing on best practices to improve

       3      low-performing schools is one that I'm particularly

       4      interested in.

       5             In an environment of poverty, you need to

       6      have much more than the school to be effective.

       7             And I think -- let me give you -- well, I'll

       8      come back to that.

       9             Lastly, the development of the Common Core

      10      standards, which the left and the right both have

      11      suggested are un-American, I believe is one of the

      12      best reforms that we have made.

      13             It is not the Common Core standards,

      14      developing curriculum, and assessments to measure

      15      those standards.  That's not a goal that has yet

      16      been implemented or attained.

      17             But, I sat for several years on the Regents

      18      task force, develop English-language-arts standards.

      19             The company we hired to help us with that was

      20      Achieve.

      21             When Race To The Top came out, we were just

      22      about to publish our standards, which were very high

      23      standards.

      24             Achieve became the company on the national

      25      level, and, indeed, took virtually all of the







                                                                  71
       1      standards that New York had come up with and put

       2      that into a national standard.

       3             Every state is allowed to tweak a little bit,

       4      too.

       5             And we tweaked those national standards, but

       6      I think the standards are very good.

       7             In-depth learning, conceptual thinking, is

       8      really important, and not rote learning.

       9             And that's why I think the Common Core is

      10      good.

      11             Following the adoption of the Common Core by

      12      the Regents, New York took a very innovative step,

      13      which, I don't know of any other state that has done

      14      it, to develop curricular materials to assist the

      15      implementation of those standards.

      16             Now, that's a good thing and a bad thing.

      17             Because, it's a good thing, because, for the

      18      most part, I've heard very positive comments about

      19      the parts of the curriculum that we have come out

      20      with, that are online; however, we're not done with

      21      that curriculum yet.

      22             Not all of the curriculum is done; and, yet,

      23      the State announced years ago, that students would

      24      be tested last spring on the Common Core, even

      25      though the state curriculum had not been done.







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       1             The State's attitude is, that school

       2      districts had some years to develop their own

       3      curriculum.

       4             But, we were developing our own.  And I think

       5      many, many districts relied upon that, and teachers

       6      relied upon that.

       7             And when they weren't finished, felt that we

       8      weren't -- they weren't ready, really, to have

       9      assessments on them.

      10             That was why, I think, the assessments were

      11      anticipated to drop precipitously, as they did.

      12             The Commissioner said, "The tests should be

      13      taken with a grain of salt."

      14             These results were determined by the

      15      state department creating cut scores, ostensively,

      16      to match the NAEP, the national results, which,

      17      allegedly, determine college- and career-readiness.

      18             I represent Long Island, all of Nassau and

      19      Suffolk county.

      20             Most Long Island students, and some others

      21      around the state, received the 30 percent cut in

      22      scores, moving from about 90 percent passage to

      23      about 60 percent.

      24             I think that that's a real disconnect.

      25             And I don't understand, because our students,







                                                                  73
       1      generally speaking, go on to colleges and do well in

       2      colleges, and finish in four years, as opposed to

       3      many others.

       4             I have a feeling, and I have said this from

       5      the beginning, that the development of college- and

       6      career-ready standards that we use for these tests

       7      were done in geographic areas that were not

       8      necessarily Long Island.

       9             I think we need to look at how those

      10      standards were developed, because there clearly is a

      11      disconnect when it comes to our Long Island

      12      districts and the preparation of their students.

      13             I don't like the fact that parents are

      14      saying:  Gee, only 60 percent of our students are

      15      prepared to go to college.  And, what happened?

      16      Because we've had 90 percent of our students

      17      prepared and do very well in college.

      18             I said, Nothing happened.

      19             Nothing.

      20             And I think that's a very bad signal, not

      21      just for parents, but for taxpayers who are in those

      22      districts, because they want to be in areas that

      23      have good schools.  And when they see only

      24      60 percent of their kids going on, it's a very

      25      dangerous item when it comes to a school budget







                                                                  74
       1      passing.

       2             I have opposed the use of standardized test

       3      scores to evaluate teachers or principals.

       4             I'm one of the few.

       5                  [Applause.]

       6             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  Even though the

       7      Governor's law requires that the Regents come up

       8      with that plan, and, indeed, the federal government

       9      has offered incentive dollars to come up with such a

      10      plan that evaluates teachers based on student test

      11      scores, as a member of the National Board For

      12      Professional Teaching Standards, the highest and

      13      most rigorous evaluation of teachers that there is

      14      in this country, we support the use of measures of

      15      student growth in all evaluations, but not on a

      16      state assessment that needs mathematical algorithms

      17      to attempt to recreate a growth measure.

      18             And that's has been my argument with my

      19      fellow Regents, and it will continue to be.

      20             I -- the loss of morale of the teaching

      21      community, and the great reduction of applicants to

      22      our education schools here on Long Island, and

      23      elsewhere, are strong evidence of the unwise use of

      24      this unreliable measure.

      25             While it may be that teacher evaluation







                                                                  75
       1      results, which include these scores, would be

       2      relative, and, therefore, not out of line with what

       3      the other scores would have brought for evaluation

       4      purposes, I worry, as the "News Day" op-ed piece

       5      mentioned, that the gap between high-performing and

       6      low-performing districts is only going to increase,

       7      based on upon these tests.

       8             Because, when kids come in with lower scores

       9      in high-performing districts, they're going to go

      10      out and get the help, and, they're going to buy it,

      11      or the school's gonna put extra help in, and

      12      whatever else.

      13             Districts that don't have that capability are

      14      not going to have that, and I can see the gap

      15      increasing instead of decreasing.

      16             I think that Long Island schools have had

      17      great advantages because our population has

      18      overwhelmingly supported our schools, offering

      19      rigorous courses with strong creativity enriched by

      20      art, music, and enrichment.

      21             And that's true, really, for most of our

      22      school districts.

      23             One of the inevitable byproducts of the

      24      emphasis on high-stakes testing of core subjects has

      25      been the narrowing of the curriculum, cutting out







                                                                  76
       1      music and art and extracurricular activities,

       2      thinking that this has had little or no detrimental

       3      effects on students.

       4             We all know better.

       5             The arts not only allow students to use their

       6      minds to create, but also to learn the literacies

       7      that allow for greater citizenship.

       8             In addition, the arts actually caused

       9      students to do -- perform better on the very tests

      10      that are effectively eliminating them from the

      11      curriculum.

      12             I just want to relate one anecdote to you.

      13             I -- when I go to a school district, my

      14      normal day is to go and read poems to fourth- and

      15      fifth-graders, because I like to do that, and that's

      16      my perk.  It's the only perk as a non-paid Regent.

      17      And I have a lot of fun doing that.

      18             And I asked these kids -- no matter what

      19      district it is, it could be the highest- or the

      20      lowest-performing districts -- I asked those kids --

      21      and they get it; they get these poems.

      22             They understand them, they memorize them,

      23      they interact with them, and they're enthusiastic

      24      about them.

      25             And I asked them, How many of you want to go







                                                                  77
       1      on to college?

       2             And every hand goes up.

       3             When I go to a ninth grade in some of the

       4      low-performing districts, I go into a class.  I have

       5      to assume the superintendent is sending me to the

       6      best teacher that he can find.

       7             And I sit there, as do all the kids in the

       8      class, basically, totally bored.  No interactivity.

       9             And at the end of that, I asked these kids,

      10      How many of you want to go on to college?

      11             And if you get one or two hands in the room,

      12      that's a lot.

      13             And I say, Why?

      14             You know, I ask -- then I go to talk to,

      15      usually, a group of high school kids.  They're

      16      better-achieving kids.

      17             I say, What happened between fourth grade and

      18      ninth grade with this district, which is a

      19      low-performing district, where only half the kids

      20      graduate?

      21             And they said, Well, we don't have a lot of

      22      mentors.  We don't have a lot of role models.  We

      23      have peer-pressure gangs, in many cases.  And,

      24      generally speaking, it's not a very healthy

      25      environment for us.







                                                                  78
       1             Well, I'm walking out of one of these

       2      districts right here in Suffolk County, not far from

       3      here, a couple of years ago, and I'm feeling very

       4      depressed about that conversation, and that day that

       5      I've just had.

       6             And I hear a choir singing in the choir room,

       7      and I say, Wow, they --

       8             I happen to be a big fan of choral music.

       9             And I stick my head in, and it was a bunch of

      10      seniors from that high school.

      11             I thought it was a college choir at least,

      12      coming in.  They were fabulous.

      13             Fabulous.

      14             And I sat and listened to them.

      15             And I found out that they were training to go

      16      to Salzburg, Austria, to sing in the

      17      Mozart Bicentennial.

      18             Now, this is a district that graduates

      19      50 percent of their kids.

      20             I asked them, I said, Why you, and not your

      21      peers?  How many of you will graduate from

      22      high school?

      23             Every hand went up.

      24             Every hand up.

      25             And when I said, "How many of you are going







                                                                  79
       1      on to college?" about half the hands went up, in a

       2      district that really doesn't produce college -- and

       3      I said, Why you, and not your peers?

       4             And they said, We love music, we love the

       5      arts, we love our chorus, and that's what brings us

       6      to school.  And, our teacher doesn't let us stay in

       7      chorus unless we do our work.  And he calls us every

       8      week to make sure we're doing our work.

       9             This is not rocket science.

      10             This is what I believe is needed in schools,

      11      not necessarily all of the assessments and all of

      12      the programs.

      13                  [Applause.]

      14             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  I just think reforms,

      15      and having been on the Michigan board over 30 years

      16      ago, we're dealing with the same issues, and, pretty

      17      much, in the same way.  "Measurement by objectives,"

      18      is what it was called then.

      19             And now we're talking about Race To The Top.

      20             I'll finish by saying, as one who's

      21      involved -- who has been involved with real-estate

      22      development on Long Island, I had the opportunity to

      23      have many entrance and exist exams of business

      24      leaders on Long Island.

      25             Obviously, I think you will agree, it is not







                                                                  80
       1      the low energy costs, low taxes, or easy

       2      transportation that causes business to come here on

       3      Long Island.

       4             It is the quality of life that brings them

       5      here and keeps them here, with the number one factor

       6      being our schools.

       7             I wonder if we will be able to keep this

       8      advantage if the tax caps and increasing pressure to

       9      narrow the curriculum continue to erode what are

      10      fabulous schools.

      11             I certainly hope we can turn this around, and

      12      I commend you for having this hearing, hopefully, to

      13      begin that process.

      14             Thank you.

      15                  [Applause.]

      16             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Regent Tilles, thank you.

      17             I'm gonna -- my colleagues are gonna have to

      18      be as brief as possible, since we're on a -- we have

      19      a lot of people still to come before us.

      20             Senator Marcellino, and then Senator Martins.

      21             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Thanks, Roger.  Thank

      22      you for coming.

      23             And I do appreciate your efforts and your

      24      work.  And I know you care, because we've known each

      25      other for many years.  You really do care as to







                                                                  81
       1      what's going on, and I think that's refreshing.

       2             Just a question.

       3             We know that the Governor made a statement

       4      about the "death penalty" for schools.  I thought --

       5      and I've said that that was an inartful way of

       6      talking.  I don't think it was appropriate.

       7             And, you know, he's kind of back-pedaled a

       8      little bit from that, but then, you know, he's not

       9      going to go away with that issue.

      10             If there are schools that are not functioning

      11      well -- and there are, we all know that -- if there

      12      are districts that are not functioning well within

      13      our Island, what are we doing for them?

      14             What are we doing for them?

      15             I mean, are we using the tests as the

      16      indicator?

      17             Or, are we taking districts who are doing

      18      well by standards that we all accept, and using them

      19      as models for these other districts?

      20             Are we sending them in; are we making them

      21      collaborate with one another?

      22             I mean, this, I would think, is a Board of

      23      Regents' function.

      24             Are we doing that?

      25             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  In terms of the







                                                                  82
       1      lowest-performing districts --

       2             And we have a few on Long Island that are in

       3      pockets in the midst of very good school districts.

       4      We have a few because of economic reasons mostly,

       5      that are totally, just totally, dysfunctional.

       6             -- and I've said this before, I think a good

       7      part of that is management, is the election of

       8      officials that don't necessarily look at kids as the

       9      first priority.

      10             And, therefore, when you have a very

      11      low-performing district, and, on top of that, a

      12      dysfunctional school board, and there are ways of

      13      determining that, through audits, and whatever else,

      14      as a couple of our school boards are being audited

      15      right now, somebody -- and I would not recommend

      16      that the State Education Department come in and run

      17      that school district.

      18                  [Laughter.]

      19             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  I'm shocked to hear

      20      that.

      21                  [Laughter.]

      22             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  Yeah.

      23             I came in four or five years into the

      24      Roosevelt takeover, and was appalled by the fact

      25      that our -- (a) it's not the State Department's







                                                                  83
       1      fault.  They had no capacity to run the school

       2      district.

       3             There was nobody -- there's nobody in Albany

       4      that does that.  And we have some former

       5      superintendents who I think, probably, would be

       6      pretty good, but that's not what we're looking for.

       7             We have recommended to the Legislature, a

       8      bill that would be able to identify those very few

       9      districts that are dysfunctional, and allow the

      10      Commissioner, the Regents, to appoint either BOCES,

      11      a master educator, a university...somebody with

      12      educational experience, to come in and run that

      13      district, whether the board is there or not, but to

      14      run that district.

      15             That's one avenue that really has to be --

      16      has to be implemented.  And I know it's not popular

      17      with school boards, but, you know, we're talking

      18      about less than 1 percent of the school boards,

      19      maybe .5 percent of the school boards, that need

      20      that.

      21             And it's not just a couple of them on

      22      Long Island.

      23             The Buffalo School District is another one,

      24      where we have taken action, because -- in doing

      25      that, we have appointed BOCES to come in and run







                                                                  84
       1      some of those schools, we have -- brought in

       2      Johns Hopkins University to run some of those

       3      schools, because we had the leverage of the

       4      SIG funds; the state improvement funds.

       5             We don't have that with all the districts on

       6      Long Island.

       7             That's one way to do it.

       8             The second way, is to create, as you have

       9      done, or, in your district, there are now two

      10      STEM Magnet schools.

      11             I believe regionalization of magnet schools

      12      will be, ultimately, very helpful in allowing kids

      13      who are in those dysfunctional districts to get an

      14      education that they deserve.

      15             And if you don't do one or the other, the

      16      kids have no chance.

      17             Really, no chance, especially since they're

      18      cutting out the few things that make kids want to

      19      come to school.

      20             SENATOR LAVALLE:  Thanks, Roger.

      21             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Senator Martins.

      22             SENATOR MARTINS:  Thank you.

      23             Roger, it's great to see you.

      24             I just want to take the opportunity,

      25      Mr. Chairman, to recognize Regent Tilles as just a







                                                                  85
       1      tremendous advocate for education and our children

       2      here on Long Island.

       3             And I wanted to thank you for your efforts on

       4      behalf of our schools.

       5             I believe that there's a disconnect, or a

       6      credibility gap, with the State Education

       7      Department.

       8             When we talk about 50 percent of Long Island

       9      graduating seniors not being college-ready;

      10             When we talk about setting a cut score for

      11      these exams, that result in many of our children

      12      receiving "2's," when they have, historically, been

      13      better than that, and demonstrated higher

      14      achievement than that;

      15             And then you have, by the way, telling them

      16      that their school districts do not have to provide

      17      them with remedial services;

      18             Tells us that there is a gap there.

      19             That, there is a disconnect, and a

      20      credibility gap, which I think is critically

      21      important at a time when credibility in implementing

      22      new policies is very important.

      23             And, not necessarily singling you out,

      24      because I do know where you stand on these issues,

      25      and how you have fought on the right side of these







                                                                  86
       1      issues, but I think there's a problem for us as

       2      legislators, when we do come back to the district

       3      and we have these discussions with our parents, with

       4      our administrators, with our boards, because, those

       5      numbers, those statistics, and those actions fly in

       6      the face of what I believe to be the caveat, which

       7      is, How does it improve the educational experience

       8      of a child?

       9             And I can't reconcile those two.

      10             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  Right.

      11             I would -- yesterday -- in fact, I came down

      12      in the middle of our meeting, to come talk to you

      13      today.

      14             We had a meeting with Commissioner King last

      15      night.

      16             And, basically, I'm not surprised that he

      17      hadn't really grasped some of the depth of feeling

      18      that I've seen on Long Island.

      19             But we basically told him, he had to spend

      20      the next year, being out there, every day, and

      21      explaining what it is that we're trying to do.

      22             So much of what we do is misinformation.

      23             Some of it is misimplementation, but, frankly

      24      most of it is misinformation.

      25             And I think that that really needs to be







                                                                  87
       1      done.

       2             And, it's hard for me as a Regent.  I'll talk

       3      to a PTA here, or whatever there.

       4             But, the Commissioner has a bully pulpit, and

       5      really needs to do that.

       6             I also think it's important, and I'll use a

       7      little critical -- I probably should end with you

       8      now -- but, part of what we did, in having to

       9      implement the evaluation system now, which I think

      10      is really at the heart of what the problem is,

      11      because without -- without the teacher evaluation

      12      being part of a high-stakes nature of the tests, the

      13      tests would not be as -- they could be used

      14      diagnostically, and, we wouldn't have the emphasis

      15      on teaching to those tests.  We would have a test to

      16      measure how students are doing.

      17             The use of the scores on teacher evaluation

      18      is really, I think, been very damaging, and is at

      19      the heart of what the implementation problem is.

      20             The speed of the test is another one of --

      21      when we don't have the curriculum all out there, as

      22      I've mentioned.

      23             But, some of those things, you know, the

      24      tests and the evaluation score with the -- this test

      25      score with the evaluation are things that are







                                                                  88
       1      prescribed, not by the Regents, but by state law and

       2      by the federal government.

       3             And, you know, as much as I can oppose them,

       4      and I voted against them, even though it was flying

       5      in the face of state law, I just -- I just think

       6      that they're very dangerous.

       7             Let me give you one quick example, and I know

       8      you want to run.

       9             I have a daughter that's learning-disabled,

      10      and from the third grade, on, was taking IEP -- you

      11      know, IEP courses.

      12             And, because the federal government came in

      13      and said, when I -- my second year as a Regent,

      14      I think, that all kids with learn -- with --

      15      special-ed kids should be tested on these

      16      3 through 8 tests at their age level, and not at the

      17      grade level that they're learning at.

      18             Well, my daughter's learning at second grade,

      19      and she's in the fourth-grade level; and, yet, we

      20      made her take that test.  We made her, knowing that

      21      she'd failed that test.

      22             The same thing with English-language learners

      23      who have only been here one year and one day, we

      24      make them take the test.

      25             Why?







                                                                  89
       1             Not because the Regents want to do it.

       2             Because this is federal law.

       3             And we would lose the $700 million that the

       4      feds are giving us, or the special-ed money.

       5             And that's one of the real problems.

       6             SENATOR MARTINS:  You know, just as a quick

       7      follow-up, and I'll share an anecdote with you:

       8             I have one of my high-achieving school

       9      districts that is also socioeconomically challenged.

      10             You visited there recently.

      11             It's right on the Queens border, and, a large

      12      Caribbean population, immigrant population.

      13             Child, fourth-grader, took an exam this year

      14      and got a "2."

      15             "A" student.  Wants to go to college.  Knows

      16      how important these grades are, at that age as a

      17      10-year-old.

      18             And, came home and did something very

      19      destructive to herself, as a result of not doing

      20      well enough on this exam, because, it affected our

      21      children.

      22             And I don't think we take into consideration

      23      the impact that a score has on the self-esteem of

      24      our children when we put these things out there.

      25                  [Applause.]







                                                                  90
       1             SENATOR MARTINS:  And, you know, looking at

       2      it, theoretically, the difference between a "3" and

       3      a "2", when you're talking about a fourth-grader,

       4      makes a difference.

       5             It does make a difference.

       6             And, we need to reevaluate where we are in

       7      that spectrum, because we've sort of lost sight of

       8      the forest for the trees.

       9             And I do appreciate your efforts.

      10             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Self-esteem is not to be

      11      underestimated.

      12             REGENT ROGER TILLES:  I agree.

      13             Thank you.

      14             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you,

      15      Senator Martins.

      16             Regent Tilles, thank you for your attendance,

      17      and for your work.

      18             And now we have Marianne Adrian, and,

      19      Jeanette, and I better say it right, Deutermann.

      20                  [Applause.]

      21             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Now, without an ounce of

      22      disrespect to our prior speakers, we're bringing in

      23      heavy artillery.

      24             We have mothers and parents who are before us

      25      now.







                                                                  91
       1             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  That's right, watch

       2      out.

       3             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  And, we certainly have

       4      everyone's written testimony.

       5             I'm going to say this to everybody, so it's

       6      by no means singling you out.

       7             We just -- if you could speak just from the

       8      heart, just summarize what you have to say, that

       9      would be helpful.

      10             And, Marianne, since I spoke with you first,

      11      and I appreciate the opportunity having to had --

      12      speak with both of you, I would ask you to start,

      13      please.

      14             MARIANNE ADRIAN:  Thank you.

      15             And thank you very much for the invitation.

      16      It's very much appreciated.

      17             I'm honored to be here, and speak on behalf

      18      of my children.

      19             My name is Marianne Adrian, and I have three

      20      children: a seventh-grader, a fourth-grader, and one

      21      that just started preschool.

      22             You know, what I'm not here to tell today is

      23      that the new curriculum is bad or wrong.  I'm not

      24      here to tell you that teachers should not be

      25      evaluated.  And, I'm not here to tell you that







                                                                  92
       1      students should not be tested.

       2             These are all things that need to happen.

       3             But, I would like to share you with my

       4      children's experiences.

       5             Prior to last year, they have had great

       6      experiences in the public school system.

       7             They've had teachers that have helped them to

       8      learn and grow.

       9             They loved learning, they love to read.

      10             They do their work, they have fun.

      11             Last year, this all changed, particularly

      12      with my then-third-grader.

      13             He had a two-week stretch, where he did not

      14      want to go to school.

      15             The first couple of times, he told me in the

      16      mornings he didn't want to go.

      17             I figured he was just being an 8-year-old,

      18      but, it lasted for two whole weeks.  And, I started

      19      asking questions to figure out what was going on.

      20             And what I found out was, that there were so

      21      many assessments already going on in school, the

      22      local assessments, the pre-assessments, and, it just

      23      threw him -- threw him off.

      24             I then started looking into it a little bit

      25      more.







                                                                  93
       1             And what I found was, that there's the new

       2      curriculum in place, which is fine, but I started

       3      realizing that their school day was encompassing

       4      test prep for the math and the ELA tests.

       5             And, he was also getting two to three hours

       6      of homework every night, which, for a third-grader

       7      was a little bit excessive.

       8             So, fast-forwarding to the state-test time,

       9      he took the first two days of the ELA, and he came

      10      home and said to me, Mommy, do not make me go back

      11      for that the third day.  I can't do it.

      12             And I understand why.

      13             He was asked to sit there for three days in a

      14      row, 90 minutes per day, for the ELA, and then had

      15      to do it all again the following week for the math

      16      test.

      17             He actually then begged me not to make him

      18      take the math test, which he did, but, he wasn't

      19      happy, he was in tears.

      20             And, as a parent, to see that happen, it's

      21      really disheartening.

      22             After the test, he became a different child.

      23             He became the happy child.  Some of the

      24      behavioral issues that occurred during the school

      25      year went away.







                                                                  94
       1             So, my 7th grader, my then-sixth-grader, he

       2      experienced some of the same things.

       3             The excessive homework; the -- he did not

       4      want to keep doing the homework.  He said he does so

       5      much reading for the English-language arts.

       6             And I started noticing a focus was being

       7      taken off of some of the other subject areas, such

       8      as science or social studies.

       9             And I feel it was to make up for the teaching

      10      to the test.  Uhm, prepping, for these students to

      11      take the state test.

      12             Uhm, his experience with the state test was

      13      that he witnessed friends getting sick -- physically

      14      getting sick; walking out of the room crying.

      15             One of his friends who's a straight-A honor

      16      student got sick, but was more scared to leave the

      17      room and go to the nurse, for fear of failing this

      18      test.

      19             So, this brings me to the conclusion that the

      20      effectiveness of these lengthy tests should take

      21      into consideration the emotional and physical stress

      22      as well.

      23             And that's something that test data cannot

      24      tell you.

      25             I understand the need to look at numbers, to







                                                                  95
       1      assess where the children are, but, these are young

       2      kids.

       3             They're three -- third grade.  They're not

       4      really thinking about the college- and

       5      career-readiness.

       6             They're thinking about getting through the

       7      school year, and trying to learn what their teachers

       8      are trying to teach them.

       9             They're thinking about going to recess and

      10      going to gym, and being with their friends and

      11      socializing.

      12             All of these things are also such an

      13      important part of a child's education.

      14             So I feel that the way the implementation of

      15      the Common Core curriculum and standards was

      16      something that was done very quickly.

      17             Tying the tests to teacher evaluations is

      18      something that I feel has fostered this environment

      19      of teaching to the test, making it a

      20      one-size-fits-all, as opposed to teaching to each

      21      individual child at their needs.

      22             I'd also -- would like to talk about the

      23      data.

      24             Sorry.

      25             I would like to talk about data, and the







                                                                  96
       1      privacy of that data.

       2             Okay, so, the "FERPA," or, the

       3      Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, that was

       4      created in 1974, was supposed to protect student

       5      privacy.

       6             With the new verbiage that's in there,

       7      allowing the State to share our children's data, my

       8      children's data, with third-party vendors, I find

       9      that concerning, to say the least.

      10             I understand that there are security in --

      11      there's security in place.

      12             And, that I'm sure the State does take into

      13      consideration the privacy of this data and the

      14      sensitivity of it.

      15             However, as we are in the digital age that we

      16      are in now, I also feel that there are hackers out

      17      there that can break through those firewalls and can

      18      get through the encryption and access this important

      19      private data.

      20             It's stored on a cloud system, which is

      21      really the most concerning part to me, because I do

      22      not feel like that has the security that it needs to

      23      house my children's data.

      24             I do know that there is a bill out there,

      25      Bill S5355, that encompasses K-through-12 student







                                                                  97
       1      privacy data, and prohibits the use of systems like

       2      cloud.

       3             And I think it's a great start to help

       4      protecting my children's data, and other parents'

       5      children's data.

       6             Ultimately, I would like to see an option for

       7      parents to be able to decline having our children's

       8      information shared with third-party vendors.

       9             Uhm, and I think that's it.

      10             I think I would just like to end with this --

      11             Possibly?

      12             Maybe?

      13             -- okay, so here's my thought:

      14             Once you take away the love of learning from

      15      a child, it is very difficult to get it back.

      16             And once you break their confidence, it's

      17      very hard to build it up.

      18             And that is the bottom line of what

      19      I experienced this past year with my own children.

      20             Thank you.

      21                  [Applause.]

      22             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  Do you want to ask

      23      questions?

      24             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  No, we'll -- Jeanette,

      25      we'll go wright to you.







                                                                  98
       1             Marianne, nicely done.

       2             Jeanette, no pressure now that she's had that

       3      stellar performance.

       4             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  Okay, my name is

       5      Jeanette Deutermann.  I am also a parent; a parent

       6      of a 10-year-old, and a 7-year-old.

       7             My journey into this whole movement started

       8      very innocently last year.

       9             I noticed significant differences with my

      10      10-year-old, and how he felt about school.

      11             Like Marianne, I experienced the same things.

      12             My son was, all of a sudden, begging not to

      13      go to school.  And this was a child who never gave

      14      me a hard time about going to school, seemed

      15      perfectly content and happy.

      16             He started experiencing stomach aches.  It

      17      was a couple of months before his third-grade tests,

      18      and, to the point where I took him to a doctor to

      19      find out if he had stomach issues.  And the doctor

      20      suggested that this was stress-related.

      21             And I said, "Stress?  You know, he's eight,

      22      how could he have stress?"

      23             But, again, I -- you know, being a new parent

      24      in the elementary district, you don't realize that

      25      this -- these tests, what they are, the fact that







                                                                  99
       1      they're new, the fact that this wasn't just the way

       2      things are done normally.

       3             There's a lot of times that I've been hearing

       4      how, Oh, us parents are just being manipulated by

       5      educators, and we're just being their pawns, and

       6      we're being --

       7             And I take such insult to that, because,

       8      really, this was something that I had to discover

       9      for myself.

      10             And I was, frankly, really angry that

      11      I wasn't told by educators what was happening.

      12             And I know a lot of educators are very upset

      13      and angry, and this is their careers, and this is

      14      destroying the career they love.

      15             And a lot of them have said to me, Oh, you

      16      know, thank God you parents have figured this out.

      17             But I kind of felt, like, why didn't somebody

      18      tell me?

      19             You know?

      20             And, so, to say that we are just being, sort

      21      of, coerced by educators is completely, completely

      22      unbased, and that is not the case.

      23             So, with my son experiencing all these

      24      things, the fourth-grade year got even worse.

      25             I started noticing the differences with test







                                                                  100
       1      prepping.

       2             And, in November, they started coming home

       3      with test-prepping materials.  Every single homework

       4      was math or ELA, nothing else.

       5             They probably had two social-studies tests

       6      for the year, a small very handful of science tests.

       7             These things were just not being done,

       8      because they didn't have time.

       9             When asking -- I started asking educators

      10      that I knew outside of my district, because I knew

      11      the ones in my districts weren't allowed to actually

      12      tell me what was happening.

      13             When I started asking them, What is --

      14      What are the tests?  And why do I feel like my child

      15      is taking test after test after test?  What is this?

      16             And it was, Yep, well, this is just -- this

      17      is the way we have to do this.  This is not -- we

      18      don't have a choice.

      19             And teachers seemed so dejected and upset,

      20      and sad, really.

      21             As I researched more and more, and started

      22      realizing that I did not want my child to go through

      23      the same stress leading up to the tests last year,

      24      I stumbled on a Facebook group that talked about

      25      opting out of the state tests.







                                                                  101
       1             I researched it extensively myself, read as

       2      many articles as I could possibly find about what

       3      was happening, and why, in our education system.

       4             And I created the "Long Island Opt Out" Group

       5      on Facebook.

       6                  [Applause.]

       7             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  And we are now close to

       8      10,000 families across Long Island that are part of

       9      this group.

      10             You know, and people always say to me,

      11      That's -- you know, It's awesome, that's amazing.

      12      How did you get so many members so fast?

      13             And, really, I don't sell anything.  I don't

      14      try to push anybody to do anything.

      15             I'm just offering the information about

      16      what's actually happening.

      17             And what parents are discovering, is that

      18      they're finding a reason for why they're seeing such

      19      dramatic changes in their children.

      20             There's so many parents out there that have

      21      said to me, Oh, my God, I thought there was

      22      something wrong with my kid.  I didn't understand

      23      why, suddenly, they don't want to go to school, why

      24      they hate it; why they are crying at night, crying

      25      in the morning.







                                                                  102
       1             And all I've done is pointed out a reason for

       2      "why," and told them to get more information.

       3             I keep telling them.

       4             People say, Well, what should I do?

       5             Here's the information.  You need to start

       6      reading, you need to start getting educated on

       7      what's actually happening out there.

       8             As I was listening to the State Education

       9      Department speaking, I sort of wanted to throw my

      10      entire speech out, and just address everything that

      11      they were talking about.

      12             So, I just want to pinpoint a couple things.

      13             They were asked what kinds of tests the kids

      14      are actually taking.

      15             I'm just going to give you a quick example of

      16      what a third-grader might take in a school.

      17             When they talked about the local assessments,

      18      and they said, Oh, well, that's a district -- that's

      19      up to the district, and they can decide if they want

      20      to do that"; when you say, "it's up to the

      21      districts," it really isn't.

      22             They have to adhere to the APPR guidelines.

      23             And this is, that 20 percent that they get

      24      for local assessments, actually helps the district,

      25      in a sense, because it's almost a guaranteed amount







                                                                  103
       1      of points that they can get, because that's the one

       2      controllable thing within those 40 percent, that --

       3      those 40 points, for APPR.

       4             Local assessments, you have -- you can have a

       5      gym SLO, which is a gym test; most of the time,

       6      multiple choice.  Art.  Music.

       7             Again, these are all put into multiple-choice

       8      tests for these children.

       9             In the middle-school grades, you can have

      10      your language tests, any of the special subjects.

      11             You also then have the local assessments,

      12      like the MAP, STAR, or AIMSweb.  Those are all

      13      computerized programs.  They get harder as the

      14      children answer the questions correctly; get easier

      15      as they answer them incorrectly.

      16             Kids have figured out that if they answer

      17      them wrong, the test ends earlier.

      18                  [Laughter.]

      19             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  Just an example of how

      20      ludicrous this whole system is, these -- they can

      21      take up to, we figured it out, about nine local

      22      exams the first week or two, some schools give it

      23      the first day, that these kids sit and take test

      24      after test after test.

      25             And, because they have to count for the APPR







                                                                  104
       1      score, these often are made -- designed to be

       2      extremely difficult for the fall exams, so that the

       3      ones -- they have to show growth, that the children

       4      improve.

       5             They can't take a chance that kids are gonna

       6      do better in the spring, so they purposely have to

       7      make them difficult.

       8             And I don't blame the teachers for that,

       9      because I don't want to lose my good teachers.

      10      I want them to do everything they can to preserve

      11      their careers and their jobs.  And if they have to

      12      manipulate the system, then they have to do that.

      13             But now you have kids sitting, the first few

      14      weeks of schools, failing.

      15             And don't say that -- you know, I've heard

      16      people say, Well, we tell them that it's not

      17      important.  Don't worry about it if you don't do

      18      well.

      19             You're talking about kids who are taking a

      20      test.  They feel it when they can't answer the

      21      question.  They know they did not do well.

      22             They stress out.  They get upset.

      23             For language SLOs, the benchmarks, they give

      24      them in the language.

      25             So, kids that have never taken Spanish before







                                                                  105
       1      will sit down the first day of seventh grade and

       2      take a test in Spanish.

       3             UNKNOWN FEMALE SPEAKER:  That's right.

       4             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  You know, so when it's

       5      only two exams, it's not true.

       6             They take, it's one after another after

       7      another.

       8             Then those same the locals, they give them

       9      again in the midyear; so -- and during the winter,

      10      they take them again.  During the spring, they take

      11      them again.

      12             Then you have field tests; field tests, where

      13      the State Education Department has -- we've seen the

      14      doc -- the memos sent to schools, saying, Don't tell

      15      parents that they're anything to do with Common Core

      16      or the testing, or anything.  Just give it to them.

      17      Don't notify anybody.

      18             Well, now we know about them, so now we're

      19      not taking those either.

      20                  [Applause.]

      21             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  You know, again, they

      22      say, Well, they're important so we can design the

      23      future tests.

      24             Well, guess what?

      25             I don't want my child sitting for a test







                                                                  106
       1      I can't explain to him, and make an 8-year-old

       2      understand, It's okay if you don't know any of the

       3      questions on a test.

       4             They -- it just -- anybody who says that

       5      they'll take that and be okay with it, you know,

       6      getting 1's and 2's this year on those assessments,

       7      okay, the State Education Department can say to the

       8      schools, say to parents, we're not going to use them

       9      as, you know, the way we did before.

      10             That doesn't -- we're talking about these

      11      kids.  We're talking about little ones, that, they

      12      change how they feel.

      13             When a kid starts feeling bad about

      14      themselves, like she said, it's very, very hard to

      15      get that back.

      16             Sorry.

      17             And being in the position I am with my

      18      Facebook page, I get messages from thousands and

      19      thousands of parents and teachers.

      20             I'm talking, this has become a full-time job;

      21      and I have to answer them all, and I have to respond

      22      to all of them, because the stories are horrific.

      23             You know, it's a little bit of a burden, but

      24      at the same time, I accept the fact that I have to

      25      be -- that I have to be there to try to fix this for







                                                                  107
       1      them.

       2             Because if you heard the stories that I have

       3      to hear daily, you would not sleep.

       4             During testing time, we had -- I had heard

       5      stories of principals who had to get on the loud

       6      speaker and try to calm the whole school down,

       7      because classroom after classroom were breaking

       8      down.

       9             Kids were crying.

      10             Kids were going into the bathroom and then

      11      locking themselves in.

      12             This is not something -- you can continually

      13      say, there's statistics, and there's data, and we

      14      have to make them -- 50 percent of the kids.

      15             I don't care about the data.

      16             I don't care about statistics.

      17             What I care about is the fact that I want my

      18      son to like to learn.

      19             And he doesn't.

      20             I apologize.

      21             I have to get that back for him.

      22             And my little one, who's coming up now in the

      23      grades, my district did something that one of only

      24      two districts on Long Island did: they eliminated

      25      all their local assessments.







                                                                  108
       1                  [Applause.]

       2             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  Here's the crazy part.

       3             Those teachers are now going to, pretty much,

       4      be penalized, because, now, all of their 40 percent

       5      is based on those state test scores, which we know

       6      is not good for teachers.

       7             They have chosen to do this, they agreed to

       8      it.

       9             They said, You know what?  Lesser of two

      10      evils.  At least it helps the kids.

      11             And that's what we've done.

      12             So now my kids will not have to suffer

      13      through the entire fall session, except for the

      14      field tests, which they're not going to take anyway.

      15                  [Laughter.]

      16             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  But just so you are all

      17      aware of the idea that this -- this movement to end

      18      this.

      19             You know, we had -- the State Education

      20      Department does not want to release the information

      21      on how many kids actually opted out last year.

      22             Just Long Island alone, I only had

      23      confirmation of 12 schools -- school districts, out

      24      of 120.  Just those 12, the numbers were over 1,000.

      25                  [Applause.]







                                                                  109
       1             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  And already this year,

       2      I have kindergarten parents sending in refuse --

       3      sending in opt-out letters and refusal letters for

       4      the third-grade tests.

       5             And, you know, I've told them, You can wait a

       6      few years.  You don't have to do it yet.

       7                  [Laughter.]

       8             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  This is growing.

       9             It's -- every day, I've had a thousand new

      10      people sign on in the last few weeks.

      11             Scores are getting released this week.  I'll

      12      have another few thousand within the next few weeks.

      13             We are not going to allow our children to

      14      take part in this.

      15             They are now opting out of all the local

      16      assessments, because we just feel that it's not fair

      17      to evaluate teachers on test scores.

      18             It changes the entire structure of the

      19      classroom.  The entire classroom becomes focused on

      20      the test.

      21             And it has to stop.

      22             And I know there's money tied in, and it's

      23      politics, and there's a lot of things that have to

      24      happen.

      25             But, we're asking you guys to start.







                                                                  110
       1             Whatever has to happen, and however it has to

       2      happen, we need help.

       3             And that's what we're asking from you.

       4             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Jeanette, thank you very

       5      much.

       6                  [Applause.]

       7             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  One last thing.

       8             I have a petition to end high-stakes testing

       9      and data mining, and, it has about 14,000 signatures

      10      on it.

      11             So, I'd like to give that to you.

      12             But before I do, is there any -- did you want

      13      to ask us anything?

      14             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  I think Senator Hannon

      15      wanted to make a brief comment.

      16             SENATOR HANNON:  No, I just -- I know that we

      17      talked, the first time, I had never met you before,

      18      and I guess it was late July or early August.

      19             And I just appreciate your continuing

      20      forward, and presenting to my fellow senators what

      21      you had told me then, because I think it's a very

      22      powerful message.

      23             And for somebody who hasn't testified before,

      24      you've done a great job.

      25                  [Applause.]







                                                                  111
       1             JEANETTE DEUTERMANN:  Yeah, except for all

       2      the crying.

       3                  [Applause.]

       4             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Senator Marcellino.

       5             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  Yes.

       6             And, again, thank you for your input, and

       7      thank you for your caring.

       8             And thank you for being willing to stand up

       9      and protect your children.

      10             I do appreciate that, because that's --

      11      that's a parent's job, and that can be ceded to no

      12      one else.

      13             The message that you've given, hopefully,

      14      will be passed on to State Ed and Commissioner King.

      15             I intend to send him another letter.

      16             I've sent him a few letters.  Doesn't always

      17      respond.  It takes a while.

      18             I have to get Roger involved, and I have to

      19      get John involved, to get an answer, because he

      20      doesn't always respond.

      21             And I think that's a problem that has to be

      22      addressed, in the bluntest of terms.

      23             I can handle yes, I can handle no.

      24             I will not be ignored.

      25             These people will not be ignored.







                                                                  112
       1                  [Applause.]

       2             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  This program, if we're

       3      going to improve standards --

       4             And I don't think anybody in this room

       5      doesn't want to improve educational standards.  We

       6      all want good teaching, we all want good education

       7      for our kids.

       8             -- but if this is not going to be destroyed,

       9      because of the way it's being implemented by

      10      State Ed in a very, very heavy-handed way, they got

      11      to turn around.

      12             I have senior superintendents who have come

      13      to me and said, We are thinking, we are rethinking,

      14      our position on opting out.

      15             That's dangerous.

      16             That is --

      17                  [Applause.]

      18             SENATOR MARCELLINO:  That's a message that

      19      has to get back to the Regent.

      20             I'm glad you've told the Regent to -- that

      21      Commissioner King to go out and listen to the

      22      people.  But he's got to hear.

      23             He's got to hear them.

      24             Not just go out there; he's got to listen,

      25      and hear them, and changes in the way this plan and







                                                                  113
       1      the way this program is being implemented has to

       2      happen.

       3             And I think that's the key element here.

       4             And I think that's going to be the crux of

       5      the letters I'm going to send.

       6             I'll give you a copy, Roger, so you'll see

       7      it.  And John will get a copy as well.

       8             But this is something I think has to happen.

       9             Ladies, thank you very much.

      10             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you very much.

      11                  [Applause.]

      12             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  As we try moving along,

      13      next is NYSUT, with Stephen Allinger, and,

      14      Nadia Resnikoff from Middle Country.

      15             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  My name is Nadia Resnikoff.

      16      I'm a sixth-grade teacher; president of the

      17      Middle County Teacher's Association; and a member of

      18      NYSUT's board of directors.

      19             I'd like to thank Senator Flanagan and the

      20      Senate Standing Committee on Education for the

      21      opportunity to address you today regarding the

      22      "Regent's Reform Agenda: 'Assessing' Our Progress."

      23             I'm testifying on behalf of our members on

      24      Long Island and across New York State.

      25             We are here today to testify that we stand







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       1      shoulder to shoulder with parents in our shared

       2      belief that neither students nor their teachers

       3      should suffer the consequences of the State's

       4      obsession with high-stakes testing.

       5             The concerns we raised in testimony to your

       6      Committee in June 2012 have only intensified in the

       7      wake of SED's rushed and rocky implementation of new

       8      learning standards and tests.

       9             It's time for New York State to make urgent

      10      changes.  For the sake of our students, we need to

      11      get it right.

      12             Parents across New York State will soon

      13      receive their children's individual scores on the

      14      new, significantly more rigorous state tests

      15      administered last spring.

      16             Student scores have dropped dramatically,

      17      exactly as the State Education Department predicted,

      18      with two-thirds failing to achieve a proficient

      19      score.

      20             In some schools with the highest number of

      21      children living in poverty, virtually every child is

      22      deemed to be failing.

      23             Parents are understandably shocked and

      24      outraged to hear their that children's scores

      25      plunged, and they are justifiably anxious about







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       1      broad-brushed statements that their children are not

       2      college- and career-ready.

       3             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Nadia, I'm sorry.

       4             I told everyone I was going to do this.

       5             We have your written testimony.

       6             Can you please just summarize it?

       7             I've known you a long time.  You are

       8      extremely competent in speaking.

       9             Just in the interest of time, everyone can

      10      read this, but if you would be good enough to

      11      summarize, it would be a huge help.

      12             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  Okay.

      13             Basically, what I'd like to say is that, the

      14      data that we received is meaningless for students,

      15      it's meaningless for teachers.

      16             The State Education Department very -- knew

      17      that scores were going to be what they were; and

      18      yet, still, had students sit through rigorous tests,

      19      knowing that they weren't going to succeed.

      20             We moved way too fast in the implementation

      21      of the Common Core standards.

      22             There is no reason why we couldn't phase in

      23      the Common Core standards, either grade by grade, or

      24      unit by unit.  That is the appropriate way to do it,

      25      so children would be successful.







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       1             I would also say to you that we need to

       2      reconsider what we're doing this year, in terms of

       3      the Regents for high school students, because if we

       4      have the same effect with the elementary and

       5      middle-school students, we're going to have

       6      one-third of our students, potentially, not

       7      graduate.

       8             So, that's real high stakes, and we need to

       9      make sure that that does not happen.

      10             Uhm, I think it's criminal, as parents had

      11      stated, that we have students that are being taught

      12      on material that they have not learned.

      13             And I will give you an example just in my own

      14      classroom.

      15             I'm a math teacher, I teach sixth grade.

      16             The amount -- when we talk about having to be

      17      able to more deeply instruct students, it was the

      18      total opposite of that.

      19             Because I had fifth-grade students that

      20      didn't have the Common Core, so I had to teach

      21      everything that they didn't know from fifth grade,

      22      in addition to all of the Common Core for

      23      sixth grade, and the students were overwhelmed.

      24             I spent three periods a day; I spent their

      25      math period, their study-hall period, and their







                                                                  117
       1      lunch period, instructing these students on the

       2      Common Core standards, and, still, many of them were

       3      not successful.

       4             And I don't think it's fair to have kids feel

       5      unsuccessful with the amount of work that they did.

       6             I think that the way in which we're

       7      implementing them, definitely, is something that

       8      needs to be looked at.

       9             Resources, very essential.

      10             We have a tax cap.

      11             We have less funding from the State than many

      12      districts had five years ago.

      13             And, we need to make sure we have the

      14      appropriate resources, not only monetarily, but we

      15      need AIS services, we need textbooks that are

      16      aligned with the Common Core standards, we need

      17      professional development that's aligned with the

      18      Common Core standards.

      19             So, we can't be expected to do it with less.

      20      It's impossible.

      21             Resources are essential for schools and

      22      students to succeed.

      23             Uhm, another concern is computers.

      24             It's been stated that our tests are going to

      25      be computer-based, 2015.  Starting 2015.







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       1             I can tell you, I have kindergarten students,

       2      under APPR, who are using a computer-based program,

       3      NWEA's.

       4             They don't even know how to use a computer;

       5      and, meanwhile, we're having them sit there, taking

       6      a test with a computer.

       7             Students are being -- teachers are being

       8      assessed based upon those scores of those students.

       9             There should be no reason why a

      10      kindergartener is taking any sort of test that is

      11      computer-based.

      12                  [Applause.]

      13             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  It's criminal.

      14             The other thing that I would state to you

      15      about the computers, is we're going to have to get

      16      computers into every school district, and that's a

      17      huge amount of funding.

      18             You have schools that have one computer in a

      19      classroom.  That's where it ends.

      20             So, if we're going to look at that, then you

      21      need to make sure that students (a) have the ability

      22      to use the computer, and (b) that you have the

      23      computers in classrooms.

      24             Something that needs to be considered.

      25             Uhm, trying to do this as quickly as I can.







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       1             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  You're doing great.

       2             I appreciate it.

       3             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  Thank you.

       4             UNKNOWN FEMALE SPEAKER:  Keep going, Nadia.

       5      You're doing fine.

       6                  [Laughter.]

       7             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  The other part is, we feel

       8      that parents and teachers have been left out of the

       9      process in terms of the Common Core standards:

      10      Developing the Common Core standards, creating the

      11      curriculum that's aligned with it, as was stated.

      12             Some of us got curriculum at the end of last

      13      year that kids were going to be tested on.

      14             And some of us still have not received

      15      curriculum that aligns with the standards.

      16             So it's, kind of, each person is individually

      17      trying to figure out what they need to do.

      18             But, we think it's really important that

      19      parents and teachers be part of the process; that

      20      our voices be heard.

      21             And that, when we continue this, that that be

      22      considered.

      23             Something that's huge, if you are going to

      24      give tests to students, have it mean something.

      25             So, there needs to be transparency.







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       1             We are not able to look at the tests after

       2      they were given.

       3             Some of us never even gave it, so I couldn't

       4      see it.

       5             I didn't proctor my tests, so I did not see

       6      the sixth-grade math test.

       7             So, I have no idea what the questions are,

       8      what they deemed to be the correct answers, so that

       9      I can improve my instruction based upon that, to see

      10      where my students didn't make it.

      11                  [Applause.]

      12             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  I remember a comment that

      13      was made, that, we were going to burn the tests,

      14      because we didn't want us to have access, or to have

      15      the ability to look at that.

      16             How can we give a test, spend the amount of

      17      money that we spend, put kids through this, to

      18      create a baseline, and then say to those same

      19      people, You can't learn from this?

      20             The whole point should be, we should be

      21      learning from this.

      22             The tests themselves, in many instances, are

      23      developmentally-inappropriate, especially for

      24      K-through-2 students.  They should not be given

      25      tests that are pen-and-paper tests.







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       1             It's horrendous for them.

       2             That's not how they learn; that's not how we

       3      should expect to test them.

       4             Assessing students and evaluating teachers

       5      should not be punitive or a game of "I gotcha."

       6             So, now, the Commissioner can say that the

       7      scores don't matter.

       8             But, they do matter.

       9             They matter in terms of a teacher's score

      10      that determines whether they're highly effective or

      11      effective.

      12             And I can tell you, just as a student has

      13      self-esteem, so does the teacher.

      14             You can say that that score doesn't matter;

      15      they take it to heart.

      16             And when they had no control over what was

      17      going to be on that test, when they weren't given

      18      the appropriate time to teach those students, and

      19      then to say, You're a 10 out of 20, or, you're a

      20      4 out of 20, or, you're a 1 out 20?  It matters to

      21      them.

      22             They question their ability.

      23             They're not able to do what's right for kids

      24      every day in a classroom.

      25             We should not be put in that position.







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       1             So to sum it up, I am going to tell you the

       2      things that we are requesting from you.

       3             We're asking you to get it right.

       4             We ask you to provide, in full, the resources

       5      districts need to ensure all students have an equal

       6      opportunity to master the new Common Core learning

       7      standards.

       8             We ask you for sufficient time to gradually

       9      implement the Common Core learning standards.

      10             We ask you to gradually phase in the

      11      Common Core learning standards.

      12             We ask you for a 3-year moratorium on

      13      high-stakes consequences for students and teachers.

      14             We ask you to postpone the implementation of

      15      the Common Core Regents exams as a graduation

      16      requirement.

      17             We ask you to support teachers and parents in

      18      our call for best practices in measuring student

      19      achievement, and for the necessary transparency in

      20      the State's use of standardized tests.

      21             And, finally, we ask you to respect and

      22      listen to the voices of educators and parents.

      23             Thank you.

      24                  [Applause.]

      25







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       1             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you.

       2             And I'm just going to exercise a little

       3      prerogative.

       4             I appreciate you coming.

       5             And I just -- these are real questions to,

       6      hopefully, make a point.

       7             You are a classroom teacher?

       8             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  Yes.

       9             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.  And I've heard this

      10      phrase now, probably a thousand times in the last

      11      couple of weeks:  Do you consider yourself a real

      12      educator?

      13             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  Yes.

      14             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay, good.

      15             So, I completely agree with you.

      16             And I recognize that you had an inability to

      17      be here when we first started, because I believe you

      18      were teaching prior to coming here?

      19             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  That's correct.

      20             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.

      21             We are trying to get a good cross-section of

      22      people who represent education at every level, and

      23      that includes having classroom teachers who will be

      24      testifying before our Committee around the state.

      25             So, I appreciate your patience and your time







                                                                  124
       1      and your diligence.

       2             And I have a particular question for you.

       3             You talk about, don't have any punitive

       4      consequences for three years.

       5             Because I know this is going to get talked

       6      about, I want to make sure I'm understanding exactly

       7      what you're driving at.

       8             If, "if," there is some smoother

       9      implementation of Common Core, are you opposed to

      10      the Regents adopting Common Core at any point in the

      11      next three years?

      12             Because you're talking about punitive

      13      consequences, and people are going to be asking us,

      14      What "does that mean?"

      15             Does it just relate to the coming Regents

      16      this year?  Is it the year thereafter?

      17             How do you -- can you drill down a little bit

      18      on the "three years"?

      19             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  We're not -- I'm not, and

      20      I don't think NYSUT is, opposed to Common Core if

      21      it's done in the right way and in the right amount

      22      of time.

      23             So -- and I think how we assess students

      24      really is something that we have to think about as

      25      well.







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       1             You know, how do we know that they know

       2      something, or don't know something?

       3             And it's more than a test that's going to

       4      determine that, obviously.

       5             But, Common Core, I think, if we're able to

       6      get into the depth of what we're saying we want to

       7      do, is not a bad thing.

       8             But you can't just say, "Do it this year,"

       9      and assume that everything else was in place prior

      10      to that.

      11             Because what we're doing is, we're actually

      12      doing the opposite.  We're doing much more than what

      13      we did in previous years, in terms of the curriculum

      14      that needs to be taught.

      15             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.

      16             Prior to your arrival, and I hope I'm getting

      17      it correctly, Ken Wagner had, basically, made a

      18      representation, that I know it was frustrating

      19      Senator Marcellino, that, if you have some

      20      modification or slowdown, if you do not properly

      21      align instruction with the assessments; meaning,

      22      that they get done, essentially, at the same time,

      23      that's problematic.

      24             I think Senator Marcellino feels, and I would

      25      tend to agree, that just because you're introducing







                                                                  126
       1      the new curriculum doesn't mean that the assessment

       2      has to follow simultaneously.

       3             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  I would agree.

       4             I think what can happen, is that you can't

       5      have the assessment there without the curriculum,

       6      which is what exists now.

       7             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.

       8             Senator Boyle.

       9             SENATOR BOYLE:  If I could just ask one quick

      10      question.

      11             You touched on the costs of the

      12      computer-based testing, which is a grave concern of

      13      mine.

      14             I visited with superintendents in the

      15      district.  Some of them are talking about

      16      hundreds of thousands of dollars for computers, for

      17      software.

      18             And I completely agree, that if Albany's

      19      going to require this, they're gonna have to give

      20      the money.

      21             Have you gotten any -- NYSUT gotten any

      22      numbers, or general numbers, about the overall

      23      costs?

      24             'Cause I can't even imagine how much it is

      25      statewide.







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       1             STEPHEN ALLINGER:  We're working with all the

       2      other stakeholders, the Education Conference Board,

       3      to put together order of magnitude to properly fund

       4      and provide foundational resources to implement the

       5      Common Core.

       6             As Nadia said, we have been supportive of

       7      deeper, richer learning, but we believe the cart was

       8      put before the horse.

       9             And we've had districts having to cut

      10      professional development, for lack of money, cut

      11      curriculum resources, cut investment in computers,

      12      while the demand skyrocketed for this

      13      transformation.

      14             So, we will be working with school boards,

      15      Superintendents Association, Chief School finance

      16      officers, PTA, in time for these hearings, to put

      17      forth our asks about, What does it take to properly

      18      support and finance the transformation to a

      19      Common Core curriculum?

      20             But we know it's substantially more.

      21             And it's also just turning around the

      22      disinvestment that we've seen.  Particularly in the

      23      non-ELA math subjects, we're seeing a fall-off in

      24      foreign languages, science, music, art.

      25             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Senator LaValle.







                                                                  128
       1             SENATOR LAVALLE:  Yeah, just an observation,

       2      Mr. Chairman.

       3             I think for, you know, the audience here,

       4      that we're beginning to see why we hold a hearing,

       5      as legislators, because we're beginning to drill

       6      down, and we're beginning to see, in a very refined

       7      way, the input of different stakeholders.

       8             And, we begin a communication that begins to

       9      narrow the funnel, and, so, that we're talking to

      10      one another, and not having misinformation and

      11      miscommunication.

      12             So as I'm sitting here, listening to people,

      13      I think -- I'm saying to myself, you know,

      14      This hearing is really good, because people are

      15      communicating very specifically.

      16             And you did a great job, when you went

      17      one, two, three, four, because you pointed out what

      18      you were trying to say, your point of view.

      19             And because you did it in a sticcato fashion,

      20      that communication was great.  Know exactly where

      21      you stand.

      22             Not that I didn't before we got to the

      23      hearing, but...

      24             And just, lastly, you'd be pleased to know

      25      that, if you look at my legislation, as the sponsor







                                                                  129
       1      of the Truth and Testing Law, for post-secondary

       2      students, what we're trying to do, is to make the

       3      test educational, so that the students and teachers

       4      know what the students answered, what the correct

       5      answer was, and we come away with, Well, here's a

       6      deficiency --

       7             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  Right.

       8             SENATOR LAVALLE:  -- because my whole class

       9      missed that one question, so, clearly, there was

      10      something wrong.

      11             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  Right.

      12             SENATOR LAVALLE:  So we are -- I think we are

      13      moving in the right direction: the parents,

      14      communication.

      15             The only thing that we all have to do, I'm

      16      going to put a cup at the end, so we can buy the

      17      State Education Department a hearing aid.

      18                  [Laughter.]

      19             SENATOR LAVALLE:  And we will jointly

      20      contribute.

      21             Thank you.

      22                  [Applause.]

      23             NADIA RESNIKOFF:  Senator Flanagan, the

      24      only -- the one thing that I didn't speak about, in

      25      terms of resources, because we spoke about specific,







                                                                  130
       1      you know, monies, and textbooks, and professional

       2      development, and things like that, I think what

       3      becomes very important for students is, when we

       4      spoke about that emotional piece, there are children

       5      that, obviously, you know, are very nervous about

       6      taking the tests, they're physically ill.

       7             But in addition to that, I would say that we

       8      have lots of students that aren't successful in

       9      school because of social issues; because of, you

      10      know, a parent that maybe just passed away, or, you

      11      know, things that are happening in their home life.

      12             And I think that we need to help the schools,

      13      in terms of resources, to help those kids to feel

      14      safe in school, and to give them the resources that

      15      they need, you know, in that social area as well.

      16             So, I just wanted to make sure that I

      17      mentioned that.

      18             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  I appreciate that.

      19             And, Senator Hannon.

      20             SENATOR HANNON:  I just wanted to put on the

      21      record, Mr. Chairman, that -- something that's

      22      obvious, probably, to people here, but maybe not on

      23      the outside:

      24             That what we're talking about is curriculum

      25      development, we're talking about testing, we're







                                                                  131
       1      talking about privacy, these are not concerns, and

       2      they haven't been concerns for a

       3      couple hundred years in New York State to the

       4      Legislature.

       5             These are the things that are regulated by

       6      the State Board of Regents.

       7             We have tremendous fights about education

       8      when it revolves around the budget.

       9             Who's going to get how much?

      10             How much total will be given?

      11             Where it should be distributed?

      12             How quickly?

      13             Even the state, the cap on expenditures.

      14             But, we have not done curriculum.

      15             And what we're seeing today is evolving, is

      16      something that -- moving into the legislative arena.

      17             And maybe it will happen.

      18             Last Friday, in the "Wall Street Journal," is

      19      an elaborate story about what's happening in

      20      California.

      21             They have not abandoned the core curriculum,

      22      but they have taken the agenda of time that their

      23      education department has set, and moved it back.

      24      Taken away some type of assessment tests.

      25             And, I'm afraid that this is what's going to







                                                                  132
       1      happen, because that hearing aid that

       2      Senator LaValle wants to give to the State Education

       3      Department isn't there.

       4             So, I just think it should be on the record

       5      that we're just moving into this, because this is

       6      un- -- new territory for us.

       7             STEPHEN ALLINGER:  If I could address that

       8      point?

       9             No Child Left Behind, obviously, ushered in

      10      an unprecedented amount of federal preemption; and,

      11      consequently, State involvement, including formal

      12      state, you know, statutory involvement around

      13      standards.

      14             So I think there is room.

      15             And I respect the province of the Regents, in

      16      terms of curriculum development, but there -- we

      17      believe there needs to be an adjustment, in terms of

      18      the consequences, and policy to stop abusive

      19      testing.

      20             For instance:

      21             In K through 2, where it's just bad practice

      22      to do high-stakes group-administered standardized

      23      tests;

      24             As well as, protection of privacy rights,

      25      that I know is embodied in Senator Grisanti's







                                                                  133
       1      legislation.

       2             So we ask that there's a careful role.

       3             And we are asking that you consider, where

       4      appropriate, statutes to help adjust this.

       5             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you, Nadia.

       6             Thank you, Steve.

       7                  [Applause.]

       8             Next we have the New York State School

       9      Boards:  Bob Vecchio from William Floyd, and,

      10      Jim Gounaris, who is from Herricks.

      11             Gentlemen, same admonition: please summarize.

      12      We have your testimony already online, and copies

      13      available for everybody.

      14             ROBERT VECCHIO:  Thank you, Senator.

      15             And thank you to the Panel for this hearing

      16      today.

      17             Again, my name is Bob Vecchio.  I'm from

      18      William Floyd School District.  I'm president of

      19      that school board.

      20             We have over 9300 students.

      21             We're a high-needs, low-property-wealth

      22      school district, with almost 60 percent of our kids

      23      on free and reduced lunch.  Combined wealth ratio,

      24      .57, one of the lowest on Long Island.

      25             I'll let go a lot of what's already been said







                                                                  134
       1      here today.

       2             You know, Common Core was implemented way too

       3      fast.  The State was more interested in doing it

       4      first than doing it right.

       5             I suggest that we need to take a step back,

       6      take a breath, and do it the right way the first

       7      time, as opposed to what we've done here in

       8      New York State, just trying to be first.

       9                  [Applause.]

      10             ROBERT VECCHIO:  As a school-board member,

      11      when I was listening to SED, it was amazing how much

      12      local control they say that we have.

      13                  [Laughter.]

      14             ROBERT VECCHIO:  And I'm here to tell you, as

      15      a school-board member for the past 10 years, the

      16      erosion of local control and governance of our

      17      schools, whether it be the federal government

      18      telling us what to put on the meals in the

      19      cafeterias, or, Race To The Top, Common Core, APPR,

      20      the tests, the mandates, we don't have local

      21      control; but, yet, we're held accountable locally.

      22                  [Applause.]

      23             ROBERT VECCHIO:  And when I mean,

      24      "held accountably [sic] locally," school-board

      25      members go to the supermarket and they don't get out







                                                                  135
       1      of the frozen-food aisle, because we're talking

       2      about tests and test scores and test anxiety.

       3             It's a little disconcerting when you get

       4      confronted outside of mass, and you're called

       5      certain names because of the different tests.

       6             But it really hurts when you go to family

       7      functions and your siblings are yelling at you too,

       8      and they don't even go to your district.

       9                  [Laughter.]

      10             ROBERT VECCHIO:  Here's the issue:

      11             Common Core; the goals and the concepts of

      12      Common Core are a good thing.

      13             The implementation has been absolutely

      14      horrible.

      15             I was at a meeting with the Commissioner of

      16      Education on Friday; a roundtable with school-board

      17      members from around the state.

      18             All that was supposed to be on the agenda was

      19      State aid and regionalization.

      20             Well, I think that lasted about five minutes

      21      before we got into Common Core.

      22             It's concerning for me that

      23      Commissioner King, as of Friday, believes this is a

      24      7-year phase-in.  And in his own words, he's

      25      concerned that "this is not being implemented fast







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       1      enough."

       2             That's a quote.

       3             He also believes, and I'm quoting here,

       4      because I wrote it down, "We have done more than any

       5      other state to support Common Core, and, we have

       6      supported this education initiative more than any

       7      other initiative in the state of New York."

       8             I don't know what that means, and that may be

       9      true, but either all the people are wrong, or

      10      there's a huge disconnect between Albany and those

      11      of us at the district level.

      12             And I would submit the latter: it's a huge

      13      disconnect.

      14                  [Applause.]

      15             ROBERT VECCHIO:  I want to highlight an

      16      example of local control in governance when it

      17      really works, and it ties in directly with

      18      Common Core, because this is a real issue for my

      19      district in particular.

      20             William Floyd had to increase our graduation

      21      rates, we knew that.  We weren't satisfied with

      22      that.

      23             In 2006, we pushed down math and science

      24      Regents to the eighth grade.

      25             Okay?







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       1             We had a lot of pushback from a lot of

       2      parents who didn't think we'd be successful.

       3             This was a local decision, this was a local

       4      policy that we implemented, together with our

       5      district administration.

       6             It's been wildly successful, because I now

       7      have eighth-graders going into high school with

       8      two Regents credits under their belt, two high

       9      school credits already earned, before they even step

      10      through the doors as freshmen.

      11             This past year, 80 percent of our students

      12      that sat for the exam passed these exams.

      13             60 percent of over all of our students are

      14      going into high school with two high school credits

      15      and two Regents credits already in the bank.

      16             If I'm a current ninth-grade parent who is

      17      ecstatic in June that my kids passed

      18      high school-level courses in math and science, I'm

      19      going to be utterly confused in a couple of weeks

      20      when I get the report that says they're not

      21      proficient in eighth-grade math.

      22             That's been the problem: they put the

      23      assessment before the curriculum.

      24             We can debate about the phase-in, whether

      25      there's a moratorium, and the Commissioner believes







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       1      it's not going fast enough, but one point that

       2      I don't think has been touched on, this was

       3      implemented during a historic time where districts

       4      were reeling from State-aid cuts due to an

       5      unprecedented recession.

       6             William Floyd, in particular, lost

       7      $20 million in State aid.  We cut over

       8      240 positions: assistant principals, administrative

       9      staff, teachers, professional-development funds,

      10      AP courses.

      11             We lost a lot of valuable programs, that when

      12      Common Core was first being rolled out, we were

      13      still just trying to tread water.

      14             And there are a lot of districts that are in

      15      financial trouble, that can't even tackle the issues

      16      to properly implement Common Core.

      17             And I don't think that was taken into

      18      consideration by SED when they implemented this.

      19                  [Applause.]

      20             ROBERT VECCHIO:  I've heard a lot this

      21      morning from SED about collaboration between

      22      educators.

      23             I'll tell you what, I am grateful and honored

      24      to be here to testify today, but there was not a

      25      voice from the State School Boards Association at







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       1      the table during planning, and prior to

       2      implementation of Common Core.  And that was a huge

       3      mistake.

       4             You need to work together in a collaborative

       5      manner.

       6             And I would strongly urge that anything done,

       7      going forward, we have a voice at the table.

       8             Because you know what?

       9             We're held accountable for your policies;

      10             We're held accountable for your standards;

      11             And, we're often scapegoated for their

      12      failures.

      13             Okay?

      14             So, while we need to be honest with ourselves

      15      as board members, that we do need to do a better

      16      job, and we're in lockstep that college- and

      17      career-ready is what we all aspire to;

      18             And, William Floyd increased their graduation

      19      rate by 16 percent through smart policy, local

      20      governance control, by implementing math and science

      21      Regents in the eighth grade.  We've seen a

      22      16 percent growth in our graduation rate.  And,

      23      we're not done, and we're not satisfied;

      24             I would submit to you, we need a voice at the

      25      table, because we know what needs to be done.







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       1             Just as the two parents who testified

       2      earlier, I'm a parent of a high school senior, but

       3      I'm, also, consider myself a parent of 9300 kids.

       4      And my job and my goal is to get them across the

       5      stage at the end of their career, K through 12,

       6      ready, and on time.

       7             When we talk about Regents changes in the

       8      Class of 2017, what's keeping me up at night since

       9      Friday, is fifth- and sixth-year seniors, because,

      10      how many of those kids are not going to meet the

      11      Common Core Regents, and, not graduate;

      12             And, how much is that going to cost my local

      13      taxpayers?

      14             Okay?

      15             Finally, and those of you who know me know

      16      I can't miss an opportunity to say this, and I'm

      17      going to read, just for a second, to make sure I hit

      18      all the points:

      19             We need significant, meaningful, substantial

      20      mandate relief.

      21             We have seen the implementation of the

      22      tax cap, Common Core, APPR, yet no meaningful relief

      23      for the districts.

      24             It's also finally time to overhaul the

      25      State-funding formulas to properly, equitably







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       1      distribute the funding necessary to carry out all

       2      these initiatives discussed here today, and the

       3      initiatives we haven't thought about tomorrow,

       4      because every child, regardless of ZIP code, needs,

       5      and deserves, a chance to succeed, and we are

       6      setting them up on a path of failure at present.

       7             I would also say, and, Senator Flanagan,

       8      I thank you for your attempt with regards to

       9      PARCC assessments and computerized testing.

      10             You know, if you think it's a great idea to

      11      have us all test on computers, and you want to pass

      12      that mandate, then you got to pay for it, because

      13      I don't have that ability at William Floyd to have a

      14      computer for every kid to take the test at the same

      15      time.  And I don't know where that fund is coming

      16      from.

      17             So, in addition to the Class of 2017,

      18      PARCC assessments scare the heck out of me.

      19             And the Commissioner of Education said on

      20      Friday with regards to that point in particular,

      21      he'll recommend a change, that certain school

      22      districts can do it on pen and paper for a couple

      23      years, but, that's kicking the can down the road.

      24             What do I do a couple years later?

      25             So, I thank you for the opportunity to







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       1      testify.

       2                  [Applause.]

       3             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Bob, thanks a lot.

       4             JIM GOUNARIS:  Good morning, Senators.

       5             This is my first time, and, I've sat here and

       6      listened.

       7             And after the first presentation, I am going

       8      to stick to what I have to say, because after what

       9      I heard from the State, it was a little

      10      mind-boggling to hear some of the responses, or lack

      11      thereof.

      12             So, good morning, and thank you.

      13             My name is Jim Gounaris.  I'm president of

      14      the Herricks School District School Board.

      15             And I come to you today, not to complain

      16      about issues I probably and should have come to

      17      complain about, but I'm here to talk about what we

      18      can and should be doing.

      19             The data on the most effective schools in the

      20      world is clearly and unequivocably, and in our mind,

      21      extraordinarily convincing.

      22             Many of the preconceived notions about what

      23      makes effective schools is just that: preconceived

      24      notions without the data to support them.

      25             And to have you understand that, I would like







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       1      to take you back 200 years.

       2             Herricks is celebrating its bicentennial.

       3             And, by the way, any proclamations you wish

       4      to issue, we're more than willing to accept.

       5                  [Laughter.]

       6             JIM GOUNARIS:  In 1962, residents of our

       7      district took -- went to the Supreme Court to fight

       8      SED, for school prayer, and written by them, and the

       9      whole bit.

      10             So, we had an issue -- we've had an issue

      11      with them for, I would say, 50-plus years now.

      12             But, I would like to tell you a couple things

      13      about Herricks, first.

      14             We -- five-decades strong, we're proud to

      15      tell you that we have a 99.8 percent graduation

      16      rate.  Almost all of our graduates move on to higher

      17      education, many to some of the most prestigious

      18      colleges and programs in the state, country, and in

      19      the world.

      20             Most of our special-education students are

      21      receiving Regents and Advanced Regents diplomas.

      22             Almost 80 percent of this year's graduates

      23      took at least one AP course in the high school, and

      24      75 percent of them got "3s" or higher.

      25             Herricks ranked in the top 3 to 4 percent on







                                                                  144
       1      the state's Common Core, grades 3 to 8, assessments;

       2             And two-thirds of our students scored

       3      a "3" or "4" on the Common Core ELA and math tests;

       4             And 95 percent of Herricks grade 11 students

       5      were deemed college-ready or better, based on this

       6      year's English Regents.

       7             But these successes are testimony to the

       8      amazing jobs all the levels of our Herricks

       9      education system provide.

      10             Our elementary schools provide a strong

      11      foundation for our students;

      12             Our newly-transformed middle school, where

      13      we've gone through a whole renaissance on

      14      programming and curriculum;

      15             And then in the high school, where they

      16      are -- the expansion of their mental capacity, and

      17      the way the courses are taught, and the variety of

      18      course offerings, allow them to do so.

      19             These numbers I mentioned speak for

      20      themselves.

      21             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Jim, I'm sorry, I got to

      22      do it.  I have the same standard for everyone.

      23             Please, just --

      24             JIM GOUNARIS:  I am.

      25             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  -- summarize your







                                                                  145
       1      testimony.

       2             JIM GOUNARIS:  I'm going to go right through

       3      it right now.

       4             So --

       5             UNKNOWN MALE SPEAKER:  [Inaudible.]

       6             UNKNOWN FEMALE SPEAKER:  That's right.

       7             JIM GOUNARIS:  I'm going to try and go as

       8      best as I can.

       9             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you.

      10             JIM GOUNARIS:  I'm a little nervous, so it

      11      was easier for me to stay with what I said.

      12             So, these successes aren't achieved

      13      overnight, and they're not by some sort of miracle,

      14      based on the State Education and their reforms, and

      15      issued by them.

      16             Their successes belong to the community and

      17      the people based in the community who voted for a

      18      school board, and put the right teachers and

      19      administrators in place, to make sure that these

      20      successes were constantly guaranteed by the

      21      residents who lived in our school district.

      22             The new state mandates, while I believe are

      23      understandably there for certain areas, and let's

      24      just say, New York City and continually

      25      lower-achieving school districts, like Hempstead and







                                                                  146
       1      Roosevelt, we have to question what they're there

       2      for to -- to do for people like us, school districts

       3      like us.

       4             School districts, like Herricks, and others,

       5      like Great Neck, Roslyn, and Manhasset, Garden City,

       6      East Williston, and Rockville Center, have worked

       7      tirelessly to be at the top of the education

       8      reports.

       9             And by excluding us, and districts like us,

      10      SED could then focus their efforts on the school

      11      districts that actually need the extra support and

      12      the extra guidance.

      13                  [Applause.]

      14             JIM GOUNARIS:  The state's reforms actually

      15      made it harder for us to do what we're successful at

      16      doing the best at Herricks.

      17             And let me just take you back, just a little

      18      bit: recently, the 2 percent tax cap.

      19             While I personally believe the tax cap itself

      20      was necessary because of the runaway school taxes,

      21      as I explained to Senator Martins, the issue we had

      22      was with its immediate and catastrophic

      23      implementation.

      24             The State was complicit in the runaway school

      25      taxes, and in the end, did nothing on their side of







                                                                  147
       1      the equation to also feel the pain of the cap's

       2      implementation.

       3             UNKNOWN FEMALE SPEAKER:  That's right.

       4             ROBERT VECCHIO:  A staggered implementation

       5      of 4 percent, 3 percent, and 2 percent over

       6      three years would have greatly given us the

       7      flexibility to be able to adjust to some of these

       8      things.

       9             The State could have shown true backbone, and

      10      deemed it educate -- deemed an education fiscal

      11      emergency, and voided all existing labor contracts

      12      and put them all up for negotiation, but my personal

      13      belief, is no one had the intestinal or electoral

      14      fortitude to battle organized labor.

      15             In addition, that intestinal fortitude was

      16      absent when it comes out -- when it comes to the

      17      out-of-control retirement system and health-care

      18      payments that we're making.

      19             A school district's biggest expense and its

      20      biggest resources are its staff.

      21             And our $100 million budget, 85 percent of it

      22      is for labor and benefits, leaving us 15 percent for

      23      the students and textbooks and extra programs, and

      24      training, and everything else that goes along with

      25      it.







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       1             We've lost over 100 people in the

       2      Herricks School District.

       3             We've had a rise -- a tremendous rise in

       4      class sizes, deep cuts in athletics, and devastating

       5      dramatic changes in certain services and

       6      extracurricular activities.

       7             And my question to all of you is:  Was the

       8      2 percent tax cap, was it the State's goal to make

       9      Herricks look like New York City, or New York City

      10      look like Herricks?

      11             Either way, we have not gotten what we truly

      12      deserve.

      13                  [Applause.]

      14             JIM GOUNARIS:  The cost of APP -- and may

      15      I add, that 2 percent tax cap that you've just put

      16      in place?  We're down to 1.66 for this upcoming

      17      year, which is another travesty.

      18             The cost of APPR almost cost -- cost Herricks

      19      $300,000.

      20             And in the State's infinite wisdom, they

      21      passed one state standard for all the students, but

      22      allowed 700 school districts to come up with

      23      700 different APPR plans for evaluations, contrived

      24      by the school districts and the teachers unions in

      25      those districts.







                                                                  149
       1             Where was the true standard for everybody to

       2      follow if we were going to do this?

       3                  [Applause.]

       4             JIM GOUNARIS:  Herricks did not need an APPR

       5      plan to tell us what teachers were effective or not.

       6             The numbers I gave you before speak volumes

       7      of how effective our teachers and how effective our

       8      administrators are.

       9             The assessments for the Common Core, I'm

      10      putting emphasis on a different way of learning for

      11      the students.  Made perfect sense for us, because

      12      we've been doing it for years, and our scores

      13      matched up pretty well.

      14             So, a good teaching method and a great school

      15      district is a model to follow.

      16             Why they had to do all this sort of stuff,

      17      when we already had it in place, and to come up with

      18      it, they could have came and spoke to us ourselves.

      19                  [Laughter.]

      20             JIM GOUNARIS:  Similarly, the implementation

      21      of the new more-demanding college-readiness

      22      standards for high school students also makes a

      23      great deal of sense to us.

      24             The likelihood is, that the exams, though,

      25      will -- that go with them are not perfect, and they







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       1      will need to be refined, but they're steps in the

       2      right direction.

       3             And let me just tell you, briefly, about my

       4      son who's a ninth-grader, who struggles a little bit

       5      in school.

       6             And I have four children: one in college,

       7      eleventh-grader, ninth-grader, and a fourth-grader.

       8             He is now going to take the English Regents

       9      in eleventh grade, but it won't be the

      10      English Regents he's been taught for all these

      11      years.

      12             He's gonna be taught, he's going to be taking

      13      Regents tests that's gonna model an AP exam.

      14             So, now, nine years of his eight years of his

      15      existence in the Herrick School District has to be

      16      changed and modified for him to be able to take that

      17      test and be successful by Herricks' standards on

      18      that test.

      19             We've taught him on a slope, like this.

      20             Now the State says, This is not good enough.

      21      We want him, here.

      22             So in three short years, we have to bring

      23      them up in a dramatic fashion, at an angle that is

      24      really going to be intensive for him to do.

      25             And that's for every ninth-grader in the







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       1      state.

       2             I can understand why they want to get where

       3      they want to get to, but I have to -- again, have an

       4      issue with the implementation of the standards.

       5             So, as I leave you, I want to just tell you a

       6      couple things about what Herricks is doing for the

       7      betterment of our school district.

       8             Moving forward, the challenge for Herricks

       9      is, how do we move our education program forward?

      10             And we're using things from the "OECD," the

      11      economic -- Organization for Economic Cooperation

      12      Development group, PISA testing for kids; and the

      13      information from Andreas Schleicher on the most

      14      effective schools in the world.

      15             These tests are worldwide accepted standards

      16      on educational practices.  They make a lot of sense

      17      to us and our community.

      18             Why nobody in Albany seems to pay much

      19      attention to them is anyone's guess.

      20             But to the best of our ability, we will make

      21      that research the foundation of our district, as we

      22      move forward, because the data on those tests

      23      clearly show that effective schools are not

      24      effective because of culture, history, national

      25      norms, or even levels of spending.







                                                                  152
       1             The most effective schools share four things

       2      in common:

       3             Hiring top educators from top colleges, like

       4      Herricks does;

       5             Setting high standards for all students, like

       6      Herricks does;

       7             Massive amounts of targeted professional

       8      development, like Herricks tries to do continually

       9      every year;

      10             And intervening early and forcefully in

      11      dysfunctional situations, like Herricks does, not

      12      just using the state minimums to do so.

      13             Many countries have followed.

      14             Canada has done so, and they are now in the

      15      top 10.

      16             We're excited at Herricks to participate in

      17      this program.

      18             We're willing to put the Herricks students

      19      and our staff up against the best in the world,

      20      because that's the only way we're going to see how

      21      we compare to them; what they're doing good, what

      22      we're doing well, and how we can make our education

      23      system better for our kids.

      24             Our community demands it, nobody from Albany,

      25      but our people who the school-board members







                                                                  153
       1      represent, who answer to, with melting ice cream in

       2      the freezer section on their carts every day.

       3             So my plea to you is fourfold:

       4             Part of me wants to say, Can you just get

       5      them to get off our backs and give us a chance to

       6      breathe?

       7             But that's not gonna happen, and -- although

       8      it should.

       9             Herricks, and other districts like us, don't

      10      need to be under the oppressive hand of the State.

      11             We are successful by our own right, and not

      12      by any commandment from SED or its commissioners

      13      past and present.

      14             But this is an election year, and it's on the

      15      horizon, and there's too much campaign money in play

      16      right now, and there's the need for soundbites.

      17             And we all know how important that's going to

      18      be.

      19             But we need to focus on the areas in the

      20      state that need help.

      21             The 50 years have gone by, and the students

      22      in communities, like Hempstead and Roosevelt and

      23      New York City, need help.

      24             While attending that same meeting in Albany

      25      last year, that this gentleman spoke of, we spoke







                                                                  154
       1      about reform initiatives getting underway, and the

       2      detrimental effects of the cap.

       3             Herricks would have gladly given up its

       4      $300,000 cost to APPR to give that money to a

       5      district like Hempstead or Roosevelt to help them

       6      better their education system for the kids there.

       7                  [Applause.]

       8             JIM GOUNARIS:  The State allows this

       9      never-ending cycle of inferior education, urban

      10      devastation, and socioeconomic, financial, and moral

      11      degradation to continue, and why?

      12             The children going into Hempstead and

      13      Roosevelt, going into kindergarten and first grade,

      14      can't even be graduated -- can't even be guaranteed

      15      that they're going to graduate from high school, let

      16      alone go on to college.

      17             And, in fact, the odds are better that

      18      they'll drop out.

      19             So, if you want to do something interesting,

      20      take the PISA testing and put it for every kid,

      21      every 15-year-old, in New York State, and really

      22      measure New York State up against everybody in the

      23      world.  And you'll really see where the state's

      24      Department of Education, where we've done, where we

      25      need help, what we need to do.







                                                                  155
       1             I would ask you, that, the APPR reforms that

       2      you -- that discussed earlier, have been a little

       3      detrimental to us.

       4             We put in a place -- we put in a system, and

       5      it's accountable to nobody.

       6             SED is accountable to nobody.

       7             They sit, and they'll do what they do;

       8      they'll make all these things, and at the end, I'm

       9      not sure where they come to.

      10             Many of us sincerely doubt the advocacy of

      11      many aspects of New York's reforms, and believe that

      12      they will only produce a wide variety of consultants

      13      and private companies selling products and services

      14      in the name of reform.

      15                  [Applause.]

      16             JIM GOUNARIS:  I leave you with the

      17      following:

      18             After all the Race To The Top money vanishes,

      19      and after all the political soundbites have been

      20      captured and recorded, and most of those who have

      21      made those statements have vanished or moved on to

      22      higher and higher offices, who will be left?

      23             People like me, and my four kids, and my

      24      community.

      25             We'll still be here fighting every day for a







                                                                  156
       1      quality education for all the kids in

       2      New York State.

       3             So now I leave it up to you.

       4             If you really want to know the true worth of

       5      New York State, I encourage you to do the PISA

       6      testing for every 15-year-old in the state, if you

       7      want to know the truth.

       8             But I'm not sure if people in the political

       9      annals of New York State really want to know the

      10      answer to that question.

      11             And one last suggestion:  Why don't you get

      12      the best and brightest superintendents together, let

      13      them run the State Education Department.

      14                  [Applause.]

      15             JIM GOUNARIS:  I'm sure for them it would be

      16      a labor of love.

      17             They have the knowledge and the real-life

      18      experience to launch the New York State education

      19      system to the moon, and beyond, because they have

      20      the most at risk: their integrity and reputation as

      21      true educators.

      22             All of New York State's children deserve

      23      that.

      24             And I thank you.

      25                  [Applause.]







                                                                  157
       1             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you, gentlemen.

       2             Senator Zeldin.

       3             SENATOR ZELDIN:  To the last speaker, just to

       4      clarify, so I understand:  Do you support

       5      Common Core or do you not support Common Core?

       6             JIM GOUNARIS:  We've done things to that

       7      nature, all the way through.

       8             We support the Common Core implementation.

       9             But, for us, we've been doing it, in essence,

      10      for a couple of years.

      11             So, for us, it wasn't like a big guillotine

      12      coming down to chop off our neck.

      13             We adjusted our programs, going forward, and

      14      we continue to adjust it annually, to make sure that

      15      we're able to implement it.

      16             But, we had the ability to be able to do

      17      that.

      18             We're a smaller district.  You know, we're

      19      much smaller than William Floyd.  And, we had

      20      practices in place that already implemented some of

      21      those programs.

      22             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Do you have any concerns,

      23      specifically, with the way that Common Core has been

      24      implemented?

      25             JIM GOUNARIS:  The amount of pressure it's







                                                                  158
       1      put on staff, teachers, students, families, to make

       2      sure that everyone is up to speed has been nothing

       3      but a disaster.

       4             It's been a PR disaster from the State.

       5             And it's not held -- it's not -- and here's

       6      the thing:  They put it in place, and now we're

       7      getting the Governor saying one thing, the

       8      Commissioner's saying something else, the gentleman

       9      here saying something else.

      10             We can't get a consistent answer from

      11      anybody.

      12             If I understood what he said about, you can't

      13      have the test without the curriculum, and you can't

      14      have the curriculum without the test, it's like the

      15      "chicken and the egg" thing, which came first?

      16             We got that.

      17             But at some point, we need a way -- somebody

      18      to improvise -- to implement a plan to put it into

      19      place, and put it into place for everybody equally.

      20             It's not fair.

      21             SENATOR ZELDIN:  So if there were just a

      22      specific idea or two to improve the implementation,

      23      what would your ideas be?

      24             JIM GOUNARIS:  I would say that they should

      25      have put it in at a graduated level.







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       1             To tell everybody, like my ninth-grader,

       2      that -- for that example, that he's got to take a

       3      new test in three years, and now he hasn't been

       4      taught for that test.  And in three years' time,

       5      he's got to learn all this new type of stuff, that's

       6      not fair.

       7             If your goal is to set a twelfth-grade

       8      college-readiness level, you have the way to go

       9      backwards, grade by grade, and assess where they

      10      will be -- where they should be at each level.

      11             So, the plan should have been:  We need them

      12      to be here.

      13             Where are they now?

      14             And how do we get them to go forward?

      15             And how do we get them to go down?

      16             If you're a first-grader, you're not going to

      17      have a problem, because you have 11 years to go.

      18             If you're a tenth-grader, you're in trouble.

      19             And, if you're in a school district that

      20      wasn't able to do it, you're in a lot of trouble.

      21             We don't -- there was no funding available to

      22      do this.  There was no extra resources provided for

      23      anybody.

      24             So, you know, we always, at Herricks, try and

      25      take ourselves a little bit out of the norm, because







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       1      we always try to be forward-thinking, but we're

       2      nimble enough to be able to try and do that with

       3      certain aspects.  Certain aspects we can't.

       4             And it's been like a sledgehammer for us,

       5      too, on certain things.

       6             But that would be the proper way to do it.

       7             And the best way to have done that, is to get

       8      the super- -- maybe regionalize it by area and get

       9      those superintendents, and say, This is what we

      10      need.  How are we -- help us to help you get there.

      11             What do you -- and have them come up with a

      12      plan.

      13             They're the ones on the front lines every day

      14      with the teachers.

      15             Not me.  I'm a civilian.

      16             SENATOR ZELDIN:  I would just close, just

      17      with one comment.

      18             You know, there are 213 legislators in

      19      New York State, the Governor.  You know, we're not

      20      all -- you know, we're not all created equally.

      21             We have diverse backgrounds, representing

      22      different parts of the state.

      23             I haven't met you before.

      24             You represent -- you're in a school district

      25      represented by one of the other senators.







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       1             And I would just offer, in your testimony,

       2      that, you know, there were some things in there

       3      that, you know, for me personally -- let me back up

       4      a second.

       5             On the issue, uhm, I'm -- I'm -- I would

       6      consider myself one of the most -- I hope, maybe one

       7      of the most receptive legislators --

       8             Maybe we all would want to vie for that

       9      title.

      10             -- one of the most receptive legislators on

      11      this particular issue.

      12             I have had a lot of meetings, a lot of

      13      conversations, with a lot of people, and my only

      14      interest is getting this right.

      15             I actually have -- I graduated from

      16      William Floyd.  I have two daughters in the second

      17      grade there.

      18             And just, with all due respect, there were

      19      some things in here that I took a little bit

      20      exception for, because you're kind of putting --

      21      you're just making an assumption based on, say, one

      22      individual legislator, or others.

      23             And there are a lot of natural allies in this

      24      process right now in the Legislature.

      25             I think you heard it earlier in some of the







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       1      testimony from some of our colleagues who are here,

       2      and some who have left, but, you know, there's just

       3      some things in here that I would take very strong

       4      exception to.

       5             Just -- I just -- I read it.  Just, it

       6      doesn't -- I know it doesn't apply to me, and it

       7      doesn't apply to a lot of people who I need to rely

       8      on as allies, to be able to fight for formula

       9      reforms, or to -- you know, fight for, maybe, you

      10      know, testing to be implemented as appropriately as

      11      possible.

      12             So, I would just encourage you to -- you

      13      know, some -- some of -- there was some extra

      14      verbiage in your words that really weren't

      15      applicable to me.

      16             JIM GOUNARIS:  So, Senator, honestly,

      17      I appreciate your comments.

      18             But, if I'm a parent of a student in one of

      19      those other school districts, or New York City, like

      20      where I used to live, which I'm [unintelligible],

      21      you know what?  The verbiage has to end.  The thing

      22      has to stop.

      23             The truth needs to be said in a way so that

      24      everybody understands it, and that we have a common

      25      goal of saying, Okay, this really needs to stop.







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       1             50 years, or 40 years, or 20 years, of

       2      students in school districts not performing, like

       3      the Hempstead and Roosevelt school districts, and

       4      the plans that have been put in place, have not

       5      changed the results for those kids going there.

       6             And those kids and those families deserve the

       7      same education that the Herricks kids get, and that

       8      some of the other top-performing school districts

       9      get.

      10             And I appreciate that.

      11             At the same time, I can't have someone say,

      12      Well, you guys are doing so good, so you can afford

      13      to do this in a kind of a Robin Hood kind of thing,

      14      "take from the rich and give to the poor" thing.

      15             Because that's is not the answer either.

      16             It's, collectively, we have to come together

      17      and face the devil that we all see, and face the

      18      evils that we see, together.

      19             And it's us helping them; everybody helping

      20      each other.

      21             And that can't come from just people like the

      22      school-board presidents.

      23             That really comes from the presidents of the

      24      teachers' unions and the school-board

      25      administration -- and the school administrations,







                                                                  164
       1      and the superintendents, to come together to do

       2      that, because they know what works, and they know

       3      what can help all their students.

       4             SENATOR ZELDIN:  But you also -- and you're

       5      asking us to invalidate every labor agreement in the

       6      state of New York.

       7             So, from --

       8             JIM GOUNARIS:  [Unintelligible] --

       9             SENATOR ZELDIN:  I'm sorry.

      10             From one standpoint, you're saying that we

      11      need to work together.  And the other one, the labor

      12      agreements negotiated at a school-board level --

      13             JIM GOUNARIS:  Right.

      14             SENATOR ZELDIN:  -- you want the

      15      New York State Legislature to come in and invalidate

      16      all labor agreements.

      17             Now, listen, it's just one particular point.

      18             It was filled up with many points.

      19             JIM GOUNARIS:  Right.

      20             SENATOR ZELDIN:  I don't want to rehash every

      21      single thing that you said in here.

      22             I'm just suggesting, I want to be able to

      23      work with you, and maybe there were some extra

      24      soundbites in there.

      25             JIM GOUNARIS:  So understand this:  When they







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       1      passed the 2 percent cap, that was great, I was

       2      supportive of that.

       3             But the problem was, that we had labor

       4      agreements in place that far exceeded that 2 percent

       5      cap.

       6             So if you had given all the school districts

       7      the ability to either go back and renegotiate them,

       8      or, to go back and take that 2 percent cap and

       9      implement it in a more friendly way, so that way,

      10      the negotiated contracts, who, really, nobody wanted

      11      to void out, but they were 3.5 percent a year,

      12      whatever, 5 percent a year, whatever they were, were

      13      already in place before you cut us off.

      14             So you cut us off at our knees, and we

      15      weren't able to now find the balance without cutting

      16      all those teachers that we couldn't do, and raise

      17      our class sizes, and eliminate athletics programs

      18      and music programs and foreign-language programs and

      19      extracurricular activities.

      20             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Out of respect for, just,

      21      the Chair, and the hearing, I have a feeling that if

      22      you and I, we could continue to go back and forth --

      23             JIM GOUNARIS:  Yes, that's it.

      24             SENATOR ZELDIN:  -- and we will continue to

      25      get further away from the subject of, you know,







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       1      testing and privacy, and -- and all valid points.

       2      Don't get me wrong, but...

       3             I apologize to the Chair.

       4             We, uhm -- I'll accept responsibility for

       5      both of us --

       6             JIM GOUNARIS:  Thank you.

       7             SENATOR ZELDIN:  -- back and forth, a little

       8      bit off topic.

       9             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  This is why we call it

      10      "democracy."

      11             Or part of the reason.

      12             Gentlemen, thank you very much.

      13             JIM GOUNARIS:  Thank you.

      14             ROBERT VECCHIO:  Thank you.

      15                  [Applause.]

      16             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Next we have our

      17      superintendents: Dr. Donald James from Commack,

      18      and Dr. Thomas Rogers, Nassau BOCES

      19      Superintendent.

      20             Okay, I had mentioned your names.  I'm going

      21      to mention them again:  Dr. Donald James from

      22      Commack, and Tom Rogers, Nassau Superintendent of

      23      BOCES.

      24             Gentlemen, and you know the drill.

      25             Please be succinct.  Your testimony is very







                                                                  167
       1      helpful and very detailed.

       2             DR. DONALD JAMES:  Thank you.

       3             I only have about 20 pages to read from.

       4                  [Laughter.]

       5             DR. DONALD JAMES:  Let me start by saying a

       6      couple of things, not the least of which is, I agree

       7      with a great deal of what was said here today.

       8             I think the idea that we are playing from

       9      behind, both as educators and parents, have put us

      10      in a position that we're really trying to make some

      11      very difficult choices about what we should do,

      12      knowing what we think is right for children, and,

      13      simultaneously, trying to meet the demands put

      14      before us by the State Education Department.

      15             And I was just telling Mr. Rogers here --

      16      Dr. Rogers, that, I think I'm going to weave in a

      17      story, as a parent.

      18             And I have four children, the youngest of

      19      which is four.  She goes to pre-K this year, for the

      20      first time.  She went to preschool last year.

      21             And, as you might imagine, I didn't put her

      22      in the pre-K in the district where I work, because

      23      it's a lottery, and I didn't want there to be any

      24      confusion about that.

      25                  [Laughter.]







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       1             DR. DONALD JAMES:  So I put her in a pre-K

       2      associated with another school.  And this is a kid

       3      who is relatively new to the country, loves life,

       4      loves learning; just loves everything that she does.

       5             Loved going to preschool last year.

       6             And, we put her into this program.  Lovely

       7      school, lovely place.  Teachers, very nice.

       8             She starts coming home the first week, and

       9      says, "I don't want to go back."

      10             And this is very concerning to my wife, and

      11      she says, "Why don't you want to go back?"

      12             "Well, they just make us sit and do this work

      13      all day long."

      14             Now, she's four.

      15             So I said, "Well, you need to go talk to the

      16      teacher and see what's happening."

      17             The teachers says, Well, the school is

      18      concerned that, you know, the Common Core is here,

      19      and the Common Core assessments, and we're really

      20      worried about that, so we're actually moving some of

      21      the work into pre-K.

      22             So here she is, "four."

      23             Suffice it to say, she doesn't go to school

      24      there anymore.

      25                  [Laughter.]







                                                                  169
       1             DR. DONALD JAMES:  So, I tell you that story

       2      because, part of it is, what's happening to our

       3      children; and part of it is, what's happening to our

       4      teachers.

       5             Because, there's a lot of conversation about

       6      reform efforts in public education, and in

       7      particular, they focus on teachers.

       8             Only, a lot of what teachers do, and what

       9      they control, is now out of their hands.

      10             It has literally been removed.

      11             I'm not here to blame anybody.

      12             I'm here to disagree.

      13             And I think the idea that we are left in a

      14      position where, we are in the field, saying, we

      15      disagree with things.  And people saying, Well,

      16      that's fine, but we're going to move forward at any

      17      rate.

      18             Now, I spent my entire professional career in

      19      public education.

      20             I've worked in inner-city Philadelphia;

      21             I've worked in inner-city New York;

      22             I've been a superintendent -- a community

      23      superintendent of Staten Island schools;

      24             I've been upstate in a rural district;

      25             And I've been here on Long Island, I've spent







                                                                  170
       1      the last three years, in moderate-wealth,

       2      high-performing school districts.

       3             And I can say that the real work at hand

       4      really is about, What do we want students to know,

       5      be able to do, and truly understand?

       6             And how do we know that?

       7             What do we do with that information?

       8             And how do we make sure that we're providing

       9      the best education possible for our children?

      10             So in my current district, literally, every

      11      child graduates, whether they have an IEP or not.

      12      And, almost every single child goes to college.

      13             And, yet, now we are subjected to an

      14      assessment that says between 40 and 60 percent of

      15      your elementary children aren't going to be prepared

      16      to go to college.

      17             I'm going to tell you, I don't believe it.

      18             I don't believe it for a second.

      19             And I do think that the changes are

      20      well-intentioned, but they're ill-conceived.

      21             I think that's where we really run into

      22      problems, and I'm going to list out just

      23      four primary concerns that I have.

      24             One is "loss of local control."  That was

      25      talked about prior.







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       1             And by that, what I mean, it's not just what

       2      school boards, superintendents, and administrators

       3      can do, but where do our teachers and parents fit

       4      into this conversation?

       5             Where are the voices of those that are

       6      working with these children on a daily basis?

       7             And I hear people say, Well, we've included

       8      educators.

       9             Well, then, it needs to be a broader voice.

      10             From my perspective, there needs to be a

      11      broader voice.

      12             Superimposing changes on schools that

      13      ostensively don't need change.  Schools that aren't

      14      struggling is ill-conceived.  There is no purpose in

      15      that.

      16             So, we lost local control.

      17             "And the overemphasis on high-stakes

      18      standardized testing."

      19             Not opposed to the Common Core.

      20             There are parts of the Common Core that are

      21      strong, they're solid.  They've just recently been

      22      released.  I mean, just recently.

      23             So -- and we've already tested kids on those

      24      concepts.

      25             So, that's very difficult for us.







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       1             "The manner these tests were administered."

       2             I'm not going to rehash everything that

       3      you've heard about how they were administered:

       4             The fact that they were administered before,

       5      you know, the Common Core was completely released;

       6             The fact that they were ill-timed;

       7             The fact that they were just -- there are

       8      dozens of assessments.

       9             When you get the list from us that shows you

      10      how many assessments are associated with the

      11      Common Core, as well as APPR, it will go on and on

      12      and on.

      13             So, the manner in which they were

      14      administered is also called into question.

      15             Again, it's in my testimony.  I don't need to

      16      rehash for you everything that -- and the way it was

      17      handled.

      18             And, the potential for future changes

      19      associated with Regents exams is a significant

      20      concern for us.

      21             You heard people talk about it here today,

      22      and it does affect children.

      23             There is no way around that.

      24             As an educator, and a parent, my primary

      25      concern is, doing the best that we can for these







                                                                  173
       1      kids, day in and day out.

       2             How do we prepare them for what they want to

       3      do when they leave us?

       4             Do they want to go to college?  Then how do

       5      we prepare them to do that.

       6             So, I think that managing that really becomes

       7      our primary concern.

       8             So, as we think about what we've done, moving

       9      forward from when the Common Core, and the

      10      legislation associated with that, and whether it was

      11      because someone submitted a grant to the federal

      12      government and now we're bound to that, we put

      13      ourselves in a position where we're doing things

      14      that are very, very detrimental to students.

      15             And I don't say that lightly.

      16             And, in fact, I know in my testimony, I point

      17      to a lot of research, talks about, how we should be

      18      engaging teachers in this conversation, how we

      19      should be engaging parents in the conversation, and

      20      how we should not be superimposing change on schools

      21      that are successful.

      22             And even schools that are successful, we

      23      should not be superimposing change.  We should be

      24      engaging them in conversations about what they can

      25      do to better prepare students for what they want to







                                                                  174
       1      do when they leave us.

       2             We can talk about the finances, and there is

       3      a significant component associated with the

       4      finances.

       5             I am not naive about that.

       6             I understand the economic state of the

       7      country, and the state, and certainly our

       8      communities.  That does make it difficult.

       9             However, how do we manage this, moving

      10      forward, and what do we do with that?

      11             So, as we think about our work, and some of

      12      the data that's pointed to, regarding the number of

      13      students who are not successful when they get to

      14      college, and/or need remediation, it's my

      15      understanding that the majority of that data is

      16      taken from the SUNY system and many districts.

      17             Only about 30 to 40 percent of the students

      18      actually attend SUNY schools.

      19             So we have another 60 or 70 percent of

      20      students who are attending private schools, and that

      21      data would be a different data set.

      22                  [Laughter.]

      23             DR. DONALD JAMES:  So, looking at that, we

      24      have to think about that in particular.

      25             So -- and I'm going to really try to sum this







                                                                  175
       1      up.  I know -- I know that you've got other things

       2      to do.

       3             If we can demonstrate real data that our

       4      students are actually performing at a high level,

       5      and the level that they need, to the best of their

       6      ability, to do what they want to do when they're

       7      finished, superimposing additional assessments is

       8      not necessary.

       9             The work is simply not necessary.

      10             I would certainly take -- I'll take this

      11      opportunity to say, I don't think you have to

      12      implement an assessment because you put in place a

      13      new curriculum.

      14             You can put in place a new curriculum,

      15      utilize that curriculum over time, and then assess

      16      at a later date.

      17             You can assess formatively; meaning, as the

      18      curriculum is being implemented, day in and day out.

      19             And teachers are assessing all the time.

      20             They're assessing both informally and

      21      formally in their classrooms.

      22             And we do that at district levels.

      23             We do do some of that assessment at district

      24      levels.

      25             So how do we use that data to drive







                                                                  176
       1      instruction?

       2             That's important to us.

       3             So this audit of our performance, which I --

       4      is what I consider state assessments, is not

       5      necessary every single year.

       6             And it absolutely, in my professional

       7      opinion, demonstrates a lack of understanding of the

       8      developmental abilities of children --

       9                  [Applause.]

      10             DR. DONALD JAMES:  -- [unintelligible].

      11             I'm going to try to close this up, because

      12      I could go on.

      13             Senator, I've spoken to you any number of

      14      times about this, Senator Marcellino.

      15             I will tell you, that, there is a very rich

      16      voice among the superintendents.  We've been engaged

      17      in conversations, in fact, as recently as yesterday,

      18      about how we will attempt to insert our voice at a

      19      higher level.

      20             That doesn't mean that we all agree all the

      21      time.  It's okay, in my opinion, to disagree.

      22             But how do we come up with the things that we

      23      can all settle on so that we're doing the best thing

      24      that we can for children.

      25             We need to be very careful -- let me rephrase







                                                                  177
       1      that.

       2             Those that are making the decisions about

       3      additional changes to these assessments and these

       4      assessment protocols need to be very careful about

       5      what they do, because it will affect children, there

       6      is no doubt.

       7             And it could affect their future; meaning, if

       8      they fail Regents exams, either they have to repeat

       9      the course, or fail to graduate.

      10             Now, they may have gotten a 1600 on an SAT,

      11      but fail a Regents exam.

      12             So, I really think that that's something that

      13      needs to be considered.

      14             So when I say "slow down," my real sentiment

      15      around slowing down is, just saying it's okay to

      16      push the pause button right now, and say to

      17      ourselves, Okay, we can implement the curriculum.

      18      We can manage the -- no one's saying that we don't

      19      want standards, higher standards.

      20             My community will be the first one to tell

      21      you, We're okay with higher standards for students,

      22      okay with higher standards for teachers, okay with

      23      higher standards administrators.

      24             We're okay with that.  We're okay with being

      25      accountable.







                                                                  178
       1             However, doing it in this fashion is just not

       2      appropriate, and it's ill-conceived.

       3             And it demonstrates, in my opinion, I'm sorry

       4      I'm not going to be popular with some of the

       5      decision-makers, it's ill-conceived, and it's not

       6      going to work.

       7             So we -- that is also a big part of our

       8      concern.

       9             We know, the research supports, that giving

      10      teachers continuous feedback about the work that

      11      they do on a daily basis, and measuring student

      12      growth locally over time, and helping them meet

      13      their needs, is the way to do this work.

      14             And that's rooted in the research.

      15             We certainly stand, I think, at the precipice

      16      of doing significant damage; damage to other content

      17      areas -- damage to the arts; damage to content

      18      areas, whether it's social studies and history;

      19      damage to physical-fitness programs; damage to

      20      socially-emotional programs -- because there's a

      21      rush to get higher test scores.

      22             And there's a rush to get higher test scores

      23      because people are held to a high-stakes level of

      24      accountability.

      25             And whether they count or not, they are going







                                                                  179
       1      to be published, and a parent's going to call and

       2      say, What's my teachers' APPR score?

       3             They're going to call.  We've set up the

       4      protocols.

       5             And whether we say to them, "But, oh, this

       6      test didn't count," that's not going to stop them

       7      from saying, I wonder if that's a good teacher,

       8      because the kids didn't do well on the state tests.

       9             So from my perspective, looking at providing

      10      a sound, well-rounded educational program for our

      11      children is our work.

      12             We can do that at the local level.

      13             I'm going to be perfectly frank: We don't

      14      need state tests to tell us whether we're doing a

      15      good job or not.

      16             I thank you for your time.

      17                  [Applause.]

      18             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Don, thank you very much.

      19             Tom.

      20             DR. TOM ROGERS:  Thank you for the

      21      opportunity to testify.

      22             As you know, I'm Tom Rogers.  I'm the

      23      district superintendent of Nassau BOCES.  That's

      24      actually a dual role, and you're all familiar with

      25      this.







                                                                  180
       1             I work both for the Board of Education of

       2      Nassau BOCES, but I also work for the State

       3      Education Department.

       4             It puts me in a delicate position.

       5                  [Laughter.]

       6             DR. TOM ROGERS:  And, so, in order to

       7      reconcile those two things, I will tell you that the

       8      opinions I'm going to give you are not necessarily

       9      representative of either of those bodies.  They are

      10      my own.

      11             And they come formed from a career that's now

      12      23 years of education policy work, first in the

      13      Senate, as you know, working with Senator LaValle;

      14      and, subsequently, I represented the superintendents

      15      of the state, as the executive director of the

      16      State Superintendents Association.

      17             And, I'm coming up on my fourth anniversary

      18      here at Nassau BOCES.

      19             So, I will say that we all have one problem

      20      to solve that is bigger than all of us, and it is

      21      the conversation that we're having.

      22             And the problem that we're trying to solve,

      23      is making sure that our kids are ready for the world

      24      in which they are going inhabit.

      25             And, the data about that world is frightening







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       1      from the perspective of the expectation of level of

       2      skill that students will have to have in order to be

       3      successful.

       4             So, the Center for Workforce and the Economy

       5      at Georgetown says that, by the year 2020,

       6      90 percent of students will have to have some form

       7      of college education in order to be able to enter

       8      the workforce.

       9             We have a 74 percent graduation rate.

      10             If we can't get to 90, and not by lowering

      11      standards, we have to get to 90, we're going to have

      12      lots kids that, if they don't graduate high school,

      13      they're not ready for college.

      14             If they're don't have college, there won't be

      15      a job for them.

      16             And if they don't -- if there isn't a job for

      17      them, they'll be unemployed.

      18             And if we don't believe this statistic from

      19      the year 2020, the statistic for this last year is,

      20      that, for high school -- recently graduated

      21      high school students with a high school diploma, a

      22      24 percent unemployment rate.

      23             So what we know is, that the high school

      24      diploma is no longer good enough, and a

      25      barely-passing high school diploma is little better







                                                                  182
       1      than none at all.

       2             The challenge then is, how do you move this

       3      huge diverse system?

       4             With the rural Adirondacks, the densely urban

       5      New York City, a suburban Long Island, how do you

       6      move this entire system in a positive direction so

       7      all children have access to the kinds of programs

       8      that will allow them to go on to higher education,

       9      and then succeed in college, and then in life and in

      10      work?

      11             That's the challenge that we face.

      12             And the series of reforms that have been

      13      taken are intended to address that challenge.

      14             And the hearing today is to ask the question,

      15      whether they have succeeded or not.

      16             Regent Tilles said that the Common Core is

      17      probably the finest part of the Regents agenda.

      18             And I find myself agreeing, but the

      19      Common Core is more than just what the curriculum

      20      itself is; it is also a question of how it is

      21      implemented in the state.

      22             And I think there have been real challenges.

      23             But on the Common Core, one of the things

      24      that it has done is, it has focused and narrowed the

      25      curriculum.







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       1             We had a curriculum that was a mile wide and

       2      an inch deep, and we've gone much deeper with

       3      concepts.

       4             We're asking students to use problem-solving

       5      skills, higher-order thinking skills.

       6             This is a very different level of

       7      expectation, and a very different level of

       8      preparation.

       9             And we should not be startled that it is a

      10      multiyear process of getting teachers and building

      11      leaders, to understand this different curriculum,

      12      and the different expectations of it, and an ongoing

      13      and recurring -- recurrent professional development

      14      so that we become better at implementing it.

      15             As Don said -- you asked me to address

      16      four things, the Common Core being the first.

      17             And, what do we think about this 30 percent

      18      drop in proficiency rates?

      19             I talked to a superintendent of a very

      20      high-performing district who said, We had the most

      21      college admissions to competitive colleges ever

      22      before; and, yet, our college-readiness went down

      23      30 percent.  So, who should my parents believe:

      24      Harvard or Albany?

      25                  [Laughter.]







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       1             DR. TOM ROGERS:  And that was one point of

       2      view.

       3             And the other point of view is, are these

       4      kids on track to graduate, and are they going to be

       5      ready for the expectations that are there?

       6             And we have a 74 percent graduation rate with

       7      an admittedly lower standard than the Common Core.

       8             What are we going to do as that standard goes

       9      up?

      10             I think we also have a problem with mismatch.

      11             A lot of districts on Long Island accelerate

      12      kids from the ninth-grade math curriculum, and they

      13      take it in the eighth grade.

      14             It's Algebra 1 Regents, but they take it in

      15      eighth grade in order to free up more time in

      16      high school.

      17             So, it gives us a nice group to compare:

      18      eighth-graders who took both the 3 through 8

      19      Common Core math assessments, "Math 8," and, this

      20      Regents-level ninth-grade Algebra 1.

      21             So they're taking ninth-grade harder

      22      Algebra 1 in eighth grade, and their proficiency

      23      rates are higher on the harder test than they are on

      24      the eighth-grade test, which is supposedly easier.

      25             And I gave you the statistics here.







                                                                  185
       1             So, I gave you an example of a single

       2      district, and then we ran the numbers for

       3      Nassau County-wide.

       4             I think both of those tests, and the cut

       5      marks that were used, are used as definitions of

       6      "college-ready."

       7             But those two definitions, both by the

       8      State Education Department, of "college-ready" don't

       9      even agree with one another, and they think there's,

      10      certainly, an alignment issue in terms of the

      11      curriculum being taught.

      12             But there is also, I think, implicit in that

      13      data, an understanding that these data are

      14      imperfect, and that we should react to them

      15      accordingly.

      16             I think another challenge with the

      17      implementation of the Common Core has been the

      18      rapidity with which materials were made available.

      19             So, as Ken Wagner said early on, the State

      20      has gone to extraordinary lengths to support the

      21      implementation of Common Core.

      22             Unfortunately, the time frame in which

      23      they've been able to deliver on those extraordinary

      24      lengths has not matched up with the expectations.

      25             So we started the year that would be assessed







                                                                  186
       1      with Common Core, in 2012-13, for tests that would

       2      given in the spring of '13.

       3             At the beginning of the year, there were none

       4      of the Common Core curriculum modules available.

       5             Throughout the course of that fall, a number

       6      of were added to EngageNY.

       7             But even by the middle of that year, only

       8      about 24 out of what will eventually be 250 modules

       9      had been uploaded.

      10             So, at this point, there are still 61 "ELA,"

      11      English-language arts, modules to come, and another

      12      57 modules, or partial modules, and, we're already

      13      beginning the second year of implementation.

      14             I don't use these statistics to lay blame at

      15      the feet of the State Education Department.

      16             I actually think it is a stunning -- it was

      17      an incredibly ambitious thing to take on.  And it's

      18      stunning that they've delivered so much content, and

      19      that the content is of such high quality.

      20             There are some problems with it.

      21             In order to make the content free, they had

      22      to use open-source texts, so that means that some of

      23      the text material is out of date or out of print,

      24      and, therefore, hard to access.

      25             But, the curriculum is of high quality.







                                                                  187
       1             And I think the Commissioner appropriately

       2      cautioned people in their use of the testing data,

       3      knowing that most of this curriculum was not

       4      developed in time.

       5             Now, Mr. Wagner also said that curriculum

       6      development is a local responsibility, and that's

       7      absolutely true.

       8             But this is a very different kind of

       9      curriculum, as I mentioned, and the State already

      10      signaled that they were going to prepare a

      11      curriculum.

      12             So districts dealing with the tax cap,

      13      understandably, had to make a resource choice.  And

      14      rather than develop their own curriculum, knowing

      15      that the State was going to develop a high-quality

      16      curriculum, chose to wait for the State to deliver.

      17             And I think that mismatch of timing is at

      18      least a partial explanation for what has happened

      19      with our test scores.

      20             You asked me to address, also, remediation,

      21      and, academic intervention services (AIS).

      22             As was mentioned earlier, the new test scores

      23      are intended to be a new baseline, and the

      24      department released what are called

      25      "comparable rigor charts."  And Mr. Wagner referred







                                                                  188
       1      to those.

       2             They're supposed to equate the old test to

       3      the new test, and provide AIS services at, roughly,

       4      the same point.

       5             We saw something that was done by Erie 1

       6      BOCES, and we replicated it for Nassau, and had very

       7      similar results.

       8             Even though the baselines are supposed to be

       9      comparable, the new cut scores would result in about

      10      2 1/2 percent more kids going into AIS this year

      11      than did last year.

      12             And that translates into a little more than

      13      2,000 kids for ELA, and a little more than

      14      2,000 kids for math.

      15             So those are new sections of AIS that are

      16      gonna have to be developed.

      17             And there's a lot of question marks

      18      surrounding the AIS model: how effective it is for

      19      how costly it is.

      20             And, again, in an era of resource

      21      constraints, I think there's a balance to be struck

      22      between pushing more kids into a model that has some

      23      question marks associated with it.

      24             And we probably should have done some

      25      thinking about AIS in parallel with this move that







                                                                  189
       1      ends up asking us to do more remediation services

       2      for kids.

       3             The third thing you asked me to address was,

       4      the implementation of the Regents exams.

       5             And I share the concern of the board

       6      president from William Floyd, about what happens

       7      with an eleventh-grade English-language-arts test if

       8      there is a large drop in passing rate.

       9             So, whatever the impact on students, a

      10      disappointing performance on a 3 through 8 test

      11      still has lots of years of instruction to go before

      12      graduation looms.

      13             And even for the math test, it would be

      14      typically given in ninth grade, and so there would

      15      be other opportunities to retake that test.

      16             But in eleventh grade, there will really be

      17      very few opportunities to reteach, and then to

      18      retake that test, and it could result in students

      19      being held back from graduation.

      20             Now, it's a higher standard that we want them

      21      to aspire to, but there will be a cost associated

      22      with getting them to that standard in such a short

      23      period of time.

      24             And I'm not sure that we've really are taken

      25      account of that cost.







                                                                  190
       1             I think another thing that will happen, at

       2      least in the short term, is the unfortunate result

       3      of having more testing at the eighth-grade level in

       4      math.

       5             The reason being, for all of these districts

       6      that accelerate and ask our kids to do more in

       7      eighth grade, which I believe is the right thing to

       8      do, those students will still have to take the

       9      Math 8 exam, part of the 3 through 8 Common Core

      10      exams;

      11             They will take Algebra 1;

      12             And then they will also -- and that Algebra 1

      13      will be Common Core-aligned.

      14             And then they'll have a safety-net exam,

      15      which is the old Algebra 1 exam.

      16             So we may see students in eighth grade taking

      17      as many as three math exams in one year during this

      18      transition period.

      19             Lastly, you've asked me to address student

      20      data and privacy.

      21             And I have to confess, this is the area

      22      I gave the most thought to, because I think it has

      23      the broadest implications.

      24             First of all, we do use lots and lots of

      25      student data in ways that I think are very helpful







                                                                  191
       1      to improving the education that we give students,

       2      and I think there are lost of places where we work

       3      with third-party providers to do work for the

       4      district.

       5             So, student-management software systems,

       6      scheduling software systems, bus-routing systems,

       7      I could go on and on, these -- we don't write

       8      software.  We're educators.

       9             We buy the software, and the services are run

      10      by these private providers.

      11             I think the difference between how data is

      12      managed now, and how our relationships with

      13      third-party providers is managed now, and how it

      14      will differ in the future that is envisioned by the

      15      use of inBloom, is, essentially, around governance,

      16      and the governance change is this:

      17             First of all, the amount of data that is

      18      collected will be much more extensive than it ever

      19      was before.  And, it will not just be data for

      20      individuals from just one state, but it will be from

      21      multiple states.

      22             It will -- there will be data about students

      23      that could be very sensitive, in terms of students'

      24      preparation, or, their disability status, or, their

      25      attendance status in schools.







                                                                  192
       1             And there will be data associated with those

       2      students about their teachers as well, because, in

       3      order to understand some of the student-achievement

       4      data, you have to associate them with the class that

       5      they were in.

       6             Having all of that data in one place,

       7      I think, raises the stakes for the data, and it

       8      should raise the governance bar for that data.

       9             Instead, right now, the governance bar is,

      10      individual boards of education can pick and choose

      11      between competing contractors for their

      12      student-management system, for their bus-routing

      13      system.  They can choose the one that they think is

      14      most secure.  And, they control the data through

      15      their individual contract relationship with that

      16      provider.

      17             In the future that is envisioned, all of that

      18      data will be sent out of state, and the contract

      19      will be managed by the State, with the national

      20      organization.  And the national organization is not

      21      governed by an elected body.  It is a not-for-profit

      22      that's governed by a not-for-profit board.

      23             The not-for-profit board, it's a list of

      24      luminaries.  They're a Who's Who of data, but

      25      they're not accountable to elected officials.







                                                                  193
       1             Now, I chafe sometimes at the challenges of

       2      running an incredibly regulated organization, and

       3      I wish for more flexibility.

       4             So, it is surprising to hear myself saying

       5      that I think there needs to be more elected

       6      oversight; and, yet, I think in this case, it does,

       7      because here's what happens:

       8             What changes, from a governance perspective,

       9      is that the contract is now controlled by the State,

      10      not by the district.

      11             What changes from a district perspective --

      12      I'm sorry, from a data perspective, is that the data

      13      is now available to all vendors, and not just the

      14      ones contracted by the district.

      15             So, it isn't just one our student-management

      16      system or bus-routing software.  They all have

      17      access to it, and they could all, presume, to tell

      18      me that they could do bus-routing cheaper, but they

      19      all have access to that data.

      20             And that, I think, is the piece that makes me

      21      the most nervous.

      22             So, in conclusion, I would just say that,

      23      because of this challenge that we have, of where our

      24      students have to get, because of how the world

      25      around us is changing, the pace is being dictated







                                                                  194
       1      externally.

       2             So, we want to try and find a pace that is

       3      optimal for our implementation, and there are some

       4      logistical limitations that just cannot be overcome,

       5      but I would caution that we can't pretend that this

       6      external environment isn't there as well.

       7             And you have the difficult and unenviable

       8      task of having to balance those two things, to make

       9      sure that our students have a future to join, and to

      10      make sure that we don't implement things so quickly

      11      that we break the system in the process.

      12             And I wish you all the best of luck in that.

      13                  [Laughter.]

      14             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  All righty.

      15                  [Laughter.]

      16             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  So, Tom, I just want to

      17      double-check, those opinions were your own?  You're

      18      not --

      19             DR. TOM ROGERS:  Those are my own.

      20             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.

      21             I have one simple question.

      22             Going back, I think, listening to the

      23      comments, Senator LaValle, and many of my

      24      colleagues, talked about a disconnect, and, you

      25      know, whether a hearing aid is necessary, and things







                                                                  195
       1      of that nature.

       2             Just, I would appreciate if you would comment

       3      on one particular aspect, and I could have easily

       4      asked the same question of NYSUT:

       5             When the cut scores were being developed for

       6      the data that was released in the summer, and now

       7      with the individual scores coming out, it seems to

       8      me that there are occasions when SED is not getting

       9      any acknowledgment or credit for trying to bring

      10      people in from the field.

      11             Now, I consider you, Tom in particular, to be

      12      a policy wonk.

      13             Don, having seen 87 footnotes in your

      14      testimony, I now recognize that you wear the same

      15      shoes.

      16             They talked about having 95 educators as part

      17      of a group, to figure out how to do that right.

      18             Do you -- did they get any props for that,

      19      or, is that just -- is that pyrrhic?

      20             Does it matter?

      21             Or...?

      22             DR. TOM ROGERS:  Where testing has evolved is

      23      something called "item-response theory."

      24             So, the way item-response theory works, and

      25      this is also a little bit of an explanation of







                                                                  196
       1      field-testing, you have a number of questions on an

       2      exam.  We call them "items."

       3             And those items are -- some are more

       4      difficult than others.

       5             How do you know?

       6             Well, you could guess, but what you do is,

       7      you field-test the items.

       8             So, if this is an item that 90 percent of

       9      kids get right, we assume it's easy.

      10             If it's an item that only 10 percent of

      11      students get right, we assume it's hard.

      12             So after that field-testing is done and we

      13      have these percentages of correct answers for each

      14      of the items on the field test, what happens is,

      15      those items are ranked from hardest to easiest.

      16             And then a group of educators, 95 in this

      17      case, are in a room, and they have to agree where

      18      the cut point is between below basic and basic, 1 to

      19      2; between basic to proficient, 2 to 3; and where

      20      the cut score between proficient and mastery,

      21      3 to 4, should exist.

      22             And, so, looking at all these questions,

      23      seeing what the content is of the questions and the

      24      difficulty level, they use their judgment as

      25      educators to say, This is really where the break







                                                                  197
       1      point is.

       2             Then they statistically go back and map that

       3      onto the tests based on those items.

       4             If there is no field-testing, there can be no

       5      ranking.

       6             If there is no ranking, there can be no

       7      educators in a room doing item-response theory on

       8      trying to figure out where the cut points belong.

       9             But, they are using the state-of-the-art

      10      model for how large-scale testing is done.

      11             This is -- it's very common in the

      12      literature, and this is what most states do.

      13             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  But do you think they're

      14      using the right people?

      15             And I understand -- I believe I understand

      16      the model.  I'm just -- and I'm not trying to play a

      17      game.  I'm just trying to grapple with things that

      18      I hear.

      19             And when I hear that there's 95 educators,

      20      many of them classroom teachers, who are involved in

      21      this, I would think that should be a good thing.

      22             But I don't know how, if it's accurate, or --

      23             DR. TOM ROGERS:  Yeah, Don wants to jump in.

      24             DR. DONALD JAMES:  I think -- I am not going

      25      to draw a conclusion about the individuals that were







                                                                  198
       1      in that room.

       2             I think the -- the -- an issue at hand

       3      perhaps is, is not just where the cut score was

       4      drawn, but the fact that the -- what was required

       5      for proficiency, not passing, but proficiency, the

       6      types of information that were required on the

       7      assessments was rolled out prior to the

       8      implementation of the curriculum and the standards,

       9      so, the staff and the students didn't really know

      10      what they were going to be tested on.

      11             So then they administered these tests, and

      12      put in place a cut score.  And that cut score was

      13      based on what they did with field testing.

      14             Some field-testing was done in the actual

      15      assessments.  And that's a different conversation.

      16             But managing that, moving forward, and those

      17      95 individuals, I don't want to draw any conclusions

      18      about them.

      19             I can only imagine that they were

      20      well-educated, well-intentioned, and thoughtful

      21      about what they did.

      22             I think the disconnect may be -- not as much

      23      around the cut score itself, but what was being

      24      measured, and the fact that things hadn't been

      25      rolled out.







                                                                  199
       1             That's my position.

       2             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Senator Zeldin.

       3             SENATOR ZELDIN:  Two quick things.

       4             First, with regards to the piece about

       5      privacy and the data.

       6             I personally, I see -- I agree that there's a

       7      lot of value in data these days: knowing an

       8      individual's e-mail, knowing an individual's cell

       9      phone, knowing their personal interests.

      10             It's just a new day and age, where, you know,

      11      we have social media.

      12             I'd like to welcome our Chairman to Facebook

      13      as of a few days ago.

      14                  [Laughter.]

      15             SENATOR ZELDIN:  There's a -- I understand

      16      the value to data.

      17             The -- I think it really -- the government,

      18      people in government, who -- who are trying to take

      19      advantage of the value of data need to place more of

      20      an emphasis on the rights of the individual, to not

      21      share that data.

      22             And I think, with regards to the Common Core

      23      and the sharing of data, that we have parents who

      24      don't want to share their child's data.

      25             And I think that, going forward, that has to







                                                                  200
       1      be taken into consideration a little bit more than

       2      it is.

       3             But, I wanted to ask this question, and, I'm

       4      gonna -- I want to explain my question after I ask

       5      it, but -- gives you some time to think about your

       6      answer, and I would be interested in your opinions.

       7             And my question is about Mesopotamia.

       8                  [Laughter.]

       9                  [Applause.]

      10             SENATOR ZELDIN:  The -- and, you know, we

      11      were discussing, like, you know, the standards, and

      12      whether or not they're age-appropriate.

      13             And -- so I have -- so my two daughters, as

      14      I mentioned a little while ago, they just started

      15      second grade.  They just finished first grade a few

      16      months back.

      17             And, you know, they've -- they've learned --

      18      they learned a lot in kindergarten, they learned a

      19      lot in first grade, and they're doing great.

      20             And the ELA standards, I'm just going to read

      21      a few of them.

      22             These are for first grade; first-graders.

      23             "Explain the importance of the Tigress and

      24      Euphrates rivers, and the use of canals, to support

      25      farming and the development of the city of Babylon."







                                                                  201
       1             "Describe the city of Babylon and the

       2      Hanging Gardens."

       3             "Explain the significance of the Code of

       4      Hammurabi."

       5             "Explain the significance of gods, goddesses,

       6      ziggurats, temples, and priests in Mesopotamia."

       7             I could go on.

       8             There's a lot of standards here for ELA.

       9             These are for first-graders.

      10             And my daughters who just finished first

      11      grade, you know, it's important for -- it's

      12      important for me as a parent to see them learn

      13      about, you know, the United States, our democracy,

      14      our Founding Fathers, our Constitution.

      15                  [Applause.]

      16             SENATOR ZELDIN:  And, it's also important

      17      that we challenge our students.

      18             And the goals -- I understand that the goals

      19      of setting these standards are, is that you're, you

      20      know, developing critical thinking.  You're making

      21      them think very deep, and you're looking into

      22      ancient civilizations.  And that's all important.

      23             I want to know more, and I -- just, I can

      24      tell from when you guys were both speaking, that

      25      you're, you know, the perfect people with some great







                                                                  202
       1      insight, as to whether or not the standards are

       2      currently age-appropriate?

       3             And if, going forward, we should be making

       4      any changes?

       5             Because in my opinion, it's not; it's not

       6      age-appropriate.

       7             We shouldn't be asking our kids some of this

       8      stuff.

       9                  [Applause.]

      10             DR. DONALD JAMES:  We just looked at each

      11      other and said, "Who will go first?"

      12             I think that -- that at the root of what we

      13      want to do in schools, is we want to know what we

      14      want students to know, be able to do

      15      [unintelligible] really understand.

      16             And a lot of that, and this is my humble

      17      opinion, has to be determined at the local level.

      18             And how we are preparing our students for

      19      success as they move through our program, and then

      20      whatever it is that they want to do when they

      21      graduate from high school.

      22             So, if we want students to develop a certain

      23      skill set that has to do with critical thinking, and

      24      some of the work that I think they were trying to

      25      get at by using those examples, we need the







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       1      authority to use other types of examples so that it

       2      meets the needs of our children.

       3             So do I think that they pushed it too hard?

       4      In some places, absolutely.  There is no doubt in my

       5      mind.

       6             We just talked about my pre-K child who --

       7      she came home and said, "What is this?"

       8             So -- so, if she's intuitive enough to say

       9      this is not appropriate, it appears all too obvious

      10      for us.

      11             And I'm not pandering, I honestly am not.

      12             I really do pride myself in listening to

      13      students, listening to teachers, parents, and those

      14      that are have deal with the greater policy issues

      15      associated with, as Tom said, moving this entire

      16      system, so -- and grappling with the issues

      17      associated, not just with, you know, districts that

      18      don't have -- or aren't struggling, but with

      19      districts that are struggling.

      20             But how they're doing that is really what I'm

      21      calling into question.

      22             So putting in place standards that are higher

      23      and harder, and so on and so forth, without allowing

      24      opportunities for staff to work with those

      25      standards, and then determine what they're going to







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       1      utilize at the local level to implement that, and

       2      bring children to a place where it's appropriate,

       3      that's really where the struggle is.

       4             We're saying -- or, we're being told,

       5      Everybody do this, everybody take this test, and

       6      you'll all get to the same place at the same time.

       7             It doesn't work that way.

       8                  [Applause.]

       9             DR. DONALD JAMES:  And it absolutely is

      10      developmentally-inappropriate.

      11             I will tell you, it is

      12      developmentally-inappropriate.  It is -- that's not

      13      right.

      14                  [Applause.]

      15             DR. TOM ROGERS:  As you might have guessed,

      16      I'll offer a more nuanced view.

      17                  [Laughter.]

      18             DR. TOM ROGERS:  I would say, just

      19      reflecting, that the concept of grade levels is this

      20      sort of archaic Prussian concept that was calcified

      21      by No Child Left Behind.

      22             So Regent Tilles talked about the experience

      23      of his daughter taking grade-level tests at a --

      24      when they weren't cognitively-appropriate.  And that

      25      is because of No Child Left Behind calcifying that,







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       1      based on an age, and not on a developmental level.

       2             So are there some first-graders who are ready

       3      for ancient civilizations, Hanging Gardens, and the

       4      Code of Hammurabi?  There are.

       5             Are all of them ready for that?  No.

       6             So the question is not, should kids be or not

       7      be exposed to ancient civilizations?

       8             The question is:  When are they ready for it?

       9             And can we give them -- can we not have low

      10      expectations for them, so we do push and challenge

      11      them, but do we not overestimate their abilities?

      12             So I'd offer you in, grade 3, the

      13      English-language-arts curriculum references passages

      14      by Leo Tolstoy.

      15             So, you know, from my own sense, Tolstoy in

      16      third grade seems a little bracing, to me.

      17             But, again, should students, at some point,

      18      be ready to challenge Tolstoy?  Absolutely.

      19             Ultimately, what we need to do is, get to a

      20      place where we're better able to personalize the

      21      instruction of students.  And that will mean,

      22      starting to think more about when it's

      23      developmentally-appropriate, not as though every

      24      child develops at the same pace, but, rather, when

      25      it's developmentally-appropriate for each child,







                                                                  206
       1      keeping the challenge on for them to be able to

       2      stretch their minds.

       3             SENATOR ZELDIN:  And just a little bit

       4      earlier, you were asking about whether or not to

       5      believe Harvard or Albany.

       6             And as I mentioned to Senator Flanagan,

       7      I graduated from the State University of New York,

       8      which we called "Harvard on the Hudson."

       9                  [Laughter.]

      10             SENATOR ZELDIN:  The -- I've seen the show,

      11      "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader."

      12             And when I read through some of these

      13      questions, I just wonder how many people in this

      14      audience, with all due respect to everyone who's

      15      here, how many people are smarter than a

      16      first-grader when you read some of this.

      17             Because, I mean, I would need a refresher

      18      course on the first grade if this was the standard

      19      to pass.

      20             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you very much,

      21      gentlemen.

      22             Appreciate it.

      23                  [Applause.]

      24             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Wait.  I'm sorry!

      25             Senator --







                                                                  207
       1             SENATOR LAVALLE:  No, no.  That's fine.

       2             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.

       3             All right, next we have the superintendent of

       4      West Hempstead, who has been patiently waiting with

       5      everyone else, John Hogan.

       6             JOHN HOGAN:  I guess I'm curious as to why

       7      Tom and Don get to sit together, and I sit by

       8      myself.

       9                  [Laughter.]

      10             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  They said they were

      11      nervous.  They're not really used to doing this.

      12             JOHN HOGAN:  Yeah, they're "nervous."

      13             Senator Flanagan, Senators, thank you for

      14      giving me the opportunity to represent

      15      West Hempstead today.

      16             It is truly an honor for me to do that.

      17             In terms of my background, I am presently the

      18      superintendent of schools, as you mentioned, in the

      19      West Hempstead School District.  I'm in my

      20      seventh year in that position.

      21             Prior to being superintendent in

      22      West Hempstead, I spent 11 years in the

      23      Elwood School District as a building administrator,

      24      and then assistant superintendent.

      25             I am somewhat unique, I think, from many of







                                                                  208
       1      my superintendent colleagues, in that, before being

       2      in public education, I spent 18 years in education

       3      in the Diocese of Brooklyn, which may be why I was

       4      sitting there trying to do your homework assignment.

       5             So I was sitting there, thinking, and I'm

       6      saying to myself, Okay, in kindergarten, you get

       7      some SLOs, and you get ELA SLOs, and you get student

       8      learning objectives, and you get math student

       9      learning objectives.  And then -- well, wait a

      10      minute, if we do social studies, there are probably

      11      student learning objectives for that.

      12             So I'm doing that, and I'm thinking, so, the

      13      kindergarten is, without me thinking too hard about

      14      it, already, probably up to six or eight exams, some

      15      at the beginning of the year, and some at the end,

      16      not to mention everything that happens in between.

      17             And I'm not at all sure that I'm right, to be

      18      honest with you, because the way in which SLOs work

      19      are somewhat -- is somewhat obtuse to me.

      20             And then I say, Well, let me think about the

      21      high school a little.

      22             And I stopped thinking about it very quickly

      23      when I realized that, you know, you have six or

      24      seven courses, and there are state exams, and

      25      everything else.







                                                                  209
       1             So, without going too far, I have to figure

       2      that, between kindergarten and twelfth-grade

       3      students, are somewhere between 50 and 100 exams.

       4             And that's not counting, in my view, the

       5      normal exams, quizzes, that teachers are giving on

       6      any given day or any given week.

       7             And I'm thinking maybe my testimony could end

       8      there.

       9             I am not a policy wonk by any stretch of the

      10      imagination, nor am I a data guy.

      11             And I think you probably saw that in my

      12      written testimony.

      13             I am a former -- not a former.  I'm still a

      14      social-studies teacher.

      15             I believe in narrative.

      16             And what I'm going to try to do is, is not

      17      replicate what I wrote for you, but just really try

      18      to speak from the heart, in terms of a number of

      19      things that I've heard this morning, and then

      20      reflect the West Hempstead community, as well as

      21      what I think after being in education since 1976.

      22             I have great fear that we're losing the joy

      23      of learning, and that we're losing the joy of

      24      teaching, in our schools.

      25             I have a daughter who just graduated college,







                                                                  210
       1      and sent out somewhere in the area, I'm going to

       2      say, 150 résumés.  And she was fortunate enough to

       3      find a job in a local Catholic school.

       4             And I will tell you, I was actually relieved,

       5      as her father, that she was not going to be teaching

       6      in the public schools.

       7             Because, I was very concerned that if she

       8      did, she wouldn't have fun as a teacher, and she

       9      wouldn't be able to connect with the kids in front

      10      of her, and she would be so consumed by APPR and

      11      evaluations, and so consumed by getting her children

      12      ready for exams that were going to happen in April,

      13      that, again, she would lose the joy of teaching and

      14      they would lose the joy of learning.

      15             And when we start to lose the joy of teaching

      16      and learning, and I think that we have, then we

      17      really have to step back and take a look at what

      18      we're doing, as a state, and as a state education

      19      department, and as educators.

      20             You know, West Hempstead, like other

      21      districts, has not had it easy over the course of

      22      the last few years.

      23             Our average budget increase has been about

      24      1.15 percent.

      25             We've had a contract freeze.







                                                                  211
       1             We've lost 108 positions in a school district

       2      that serves about 2100 boys and girls.

       3             We are unique, in that we transport about

       4      1500 boys and boys and girls each day to other

       5      locations.

       6             We have a district that's diverse, very

       7      religious, and they send their children either to

       8      yeshivas or they send them to the local Catholic

       9      schools.

      10             So we are transporting a hundred different --

      11      again, a hundred locations each day, which

      12      represents about 10 percent of our operating budget

      13      each year.

      14             When you talk about a district like ours that

      15      has lost 108 positions across the board, that is

      16      bound to have an effect on what you can do, and the

      17      product that you can deliver to the boys and girls

      18      in your care.

      19             We've lost teachers, we've lost clerical

      20      staff, we've lost custodians, we've lost directors.

      21             We've cut clubs, we've cut sports.

      22             We've lost, for example, seventh-grade

      23      volleyball and basketball for the boys and girls.

      24      We cut the wrestling program.

      25             We sit there year after year after year, and







                                                                  212
       1      we say, What's left?  How do we maintain a

       2      comprehensive school system?

       3             And we think we've actually done a pretty

       4      good job doing that, but then we turn around and

       5      something else is coming our way.

       6             The amount of data that is collected by the

       7      State Education Department on a daily basis has

       8      become insurmountable.

       9             And, on any given day, I will have an

      10      assistant superintendent, my director of technology,

      11      and a clerical person working all day long.  And,

      12      then, being [unintelligible] connected with the

      13      buildings, to make sure that we're either uploading

      14      or downloading or "side-loading," or whatever it is

      15      they're doing.

      16                  [Laughter.]

      17             JOHN HOGAN:  And in the meantime, they're not

      18      doing what I need them to do for the kids that we

      19      service.

      20             And that's very problematic to me.

      21             And when you get to the beginning of the

      22      school year, and this was mentioned earlier, we're

      23      already giving exams in the first or the second week

      24      of school.

      25             Teachers are already focused on, you know,







                                                                  213
       1      how are they going to maintain their effectiveness?

       2             And as a result of that, sometimes they're

       3      distracted.  And they don't want to be distracted

       4      from their primary purpose, which, of course, is to

       5      teach the boys and girls.

       6             APPR, for all intents and purposes, is, in my

       7      view, very onerous, and doesn't make much sense.

       8             It took us 18 months to put an APPR plan

       9      together that we thought would work for the school

      10      district.  And we're a small school district.

      11             We lost 180, "180," administrative days to

      12      training.

      13             I have 18 administrators, including myself,

      14      and we all had to do 10 sessions of training out of

      15      the school district.  And that doesn't count for,

      16      you know, the teachers that we sent out, or when we

      17      pulled teachers out of class for training.

      18             "180 days" may strike a bell with you.

      19             It's the -- you know, it's the school year.

      20             We lost a year of administrative time to

      21      training.

      22             Something's wrong.

      23             How do you run a school district when your

      24      principals aren't in their buildings?

      25             And how do you support new curriculum when







                                                                  214
       1      your principals aren't in the building?

       2             How do you support new curriculum when

       3      teachers are being taken out, so that they can learn

       4      the Common Core, which they absolutely want to do?

       5             How do you remain, quote/unquote,

       6      "effective"?

       7             How do you run a school district when you're

       8      giving exams that last three days for ELA, three

       9      days for mathematics, and you have to bring in subs,

      10      perhaps, because you now have to grade those exams

      11      afterwards?

      12             How many of the 180 days, "180 school days,"

      13      do you have left after all of that has been taken

      14      care of?

      15             You've heard it before today, I know you

      16      have, you know, the Common Core assessments were

      17      given too soon.

      18             I mentioned in my written testimony, being in

      19      a test-and-measurements course back in 1974.

      20             And Professor Healey [ph.], it was actually

      21      Brother Healey, was standing there, and he said to

      22      us -- and I'll never forget it -- he said:

      23             "If you give a test and more than 50 percent

      24      of your kids fail that test, then you did something

      25      wrong.  You either didn't teach it well, or the test







                                                                  215
       1      was poorly constructed.  And you have the obligation

       2      to go back and fix it, either by reteaching it,

       3      figuring out what you did wrong and reteaching it;

       4      or, by reconstructing that exam."

       5             I would submit to you that, in his wildest

       6      dreams, he never expected any of us in that room to

       7      give an exam to our kids knowing beforehand that

       8      they were going to fail it.

       9             It never would have crossed his mind.

      10             He would have expected that we would have

      11      prepared them.

      12             And another thing I mentioned in my written

      13      testimony, it's like saying, I'm going to teach my

      14      child how to swim, so I'm going to throw them in

      15      20 feet of water and see if they swim.

      16             Well, what if they drown first?

      17             Many of our kids drowned last year, and now

      18      we're dealing with the aftermath of that, and trying

      19      to explain it to our teachers, to the boards of

      20      education, and, to the parents, most importantly;

      21      parents that are generally supportive.  In fact,

      22      very supportive of what we do.

      23             We have parents in West Hempstead who are so

      24      supportive, but even now, they're saying, Maybe we

      25      should join this opt-out movement.







                                                                  216
       1             I respectfully --

       2                  [Applause.]

       3             JOHN HOGAN:  I respectfully submit to you

       4      that I think State Ed has a tiger by the tail, and

       5      they don't know it.

       6             I sat in my office a few years ago, and

       7      parents were saying, you know, We're concerned about

       8      this.

       9             And I said, Well, you need to make your

      10      voices heard.

      11             And at that point, you know, they really

      12      didn't do that.

      13             Another piece of this that I don't get,

      14      frankly, is, and it was mentioned earlier, I think,

      15      by the teacher who was here, one of the other things

      16      we were taught was:  When you give an exam and you

      17      get it back, and you grade it, you utilize that exam

      18      for teaching purposes.

      19             We can't do that with Common Core standards.

      20             25 percent of the questions have now been put

      21      out there for us to look at and analyze.

      22             Well, if we're going to look at data, how do

      23      you do a proper analysis if you don't have the data

      24      in front of you?

      25             How do I know that the 25 percent of the







                                                                  217
       1      questions they put out there were questions that, in

       2      some ways, my kids did well on, or perhaps my kids

       3      didn't do well on?

       4             And what about the district next door?  Maybe

       5      those 25 questions represent well for them, but not

       6      for me.

       7             There are just a number of things that aren't

       8      making sense to us.

       9             Whether or not it reflects college-readiness,

      10      again, it's been addressed.

      11             Depending upon which expert you read, they'll

      12      say, Yes, it does.  Or somebody will say, you know,

      13      No, it doesn't.

      14             All I know, as I look at this, and I look at

      15      the data, is that, in my view, kids are being hurt.

      16             And, I've been at this a long time, and the

      17      last thing you ever want to do is walk away from

      18      your classroom or from your school, and say, You

      19      know, somehow we did harm this year.  We hurt kids.

      20             I don't know how you explain to a kid who's

      21      always been considered proficient, or beyond

      22      proficient, that, all of a sudden, they need AIS

      23      services.

      24             I don't know how you do that.

      25             So, we sit there and we write letters.







                                                                  218
       1             Tonight I have a board meeting.

       2             That should be entertaining.

       3                  [Laughter.]

       4             JOHN HOGAN:  In fact, maybe I'll just stay

       5      here and keep talking here.

       6                  [Laughter.]

       7             JOHN HOGAN:  But, so far, it's been okay.

       8             Those of you -- well, you're all politicians,

       9      so you know Dwight Eisenhower, and you know that

      10      when he left office, he said, "Be very careful of

      11      the military industrial complex."

      12             One of the things I've said in public at my

      13      board meetings is, "Be very careful of the

      14      educational industrial complex."

      15             I wonder how much of -- I'm worried about the

      16      connections we now have between our State Education

      17      Department and large testing companies who are

      18      creating the exams, creating the textbooks, creating

      19      the online resources.

      20             I'm just concerned about it.

      21             And I think that, you know, the State Senate

      22      needs to be concerned about that as well.

      23             One of the things I was asked to address was

      24      special education.

      25             I'm not a special educator.







                                                                  219
       1             I, obviously, know something about it.

       2             I would not pretend to sit before you this

       3      afternoon and tell you that I know everything there

       4      is to know about it.

       5             What I do know about it is, putting kids in

       6      the room and telling them to take an exam that in no

       7      way, shape, or form they could possibly pass, is

       8      cruel.

       9             There's no other word to describe it.

      10             It's just cruel.

      11             A few years ago, I watched a young lady take

      12      a math Regents, and watched her break down into

      13      tears; knowing that we all knew it, knowing that she

      14      couldn't pass it, but also knowing the only way she

      15      could get to the RCT would be to take this exam.

      16             So she got less than 20 percent on that, and

      17      then she took the RCT and was able to pass the RCT.

      18             And instead of getting an IEP diploma, was

      19      able to get a local diploma, which, for all intents

      20      and purposes, we don't offer any longer.

      21             And I have to question, why do we keep doing

      22      that; why do we keep putting kids in positions where

      23      we know they can't succeed?

      24             Again, I submit the only word I can come up

      25      with is "cruel."  There's a cruelty to it.







                                                                  220
       1             I watched as my special-education boys and

       2      girls this year, who normally do better, I watched

       3      just three-quarters of them scored at Level 1, on

       4      the average.  And in some cases, 85 percent of them

       5      scored at Level 1.

       6             None, "none," at Level 4.

       7             I echo what's been said earlier.

       8             My board sent a letter to a number of

       9      legislators about many of the things I'm mentioning

      10      here: about the loss of local control, about the

      11      micromanagement from Washington.

      12             I understand enough about politics, that, you

      13      know, I understand a lot of things get tied to

      14      money.

      15             I understand that.

      16             But I really wonder how much authority our

      17      local school boards have retained over the course of

      18      the past few years.

      19             A few years ago -- some of you may have known

      20      him, some in the audience may have known him --

      21      I was at superintendents conference in the fall, and

      22      Dr. Santo Barbarino, who tragically passed away last

      23      year, stood up to address the Commissioner, and

      24      basically said:

      25             What's the hurry?







                                                                  221
       1             Can't we pilot this?

       2             Can't we take a look at how this is best

       3      going to work?

       4             The answer, you know, politely, was "no."

       5             So here we sit today, and I have to question,

       6      you know, is this where we want to be?

       7             You know, is this the end we wanted to get

       8      to?

       9             You know, do the means justify the end, and

      10      is the end really what's best for the boys and girls

      11      in our care?

      12             All I can do is ask you to consider my words,

      13      and the words of those that have been here.

      14             I don't think any educator will ever tell you

      15      that assessments should not be given.

      16             Of course, they should be given.  We have to

      17      know where our boys and girls are.  We have to know

      18      how they're progressing.

      19             But, I would again just submit to you, that

      20      I think we could have done this in a better way,

      21      with perhaps a little bit more thought.

      22             I worry when kids are constantly a number,

      23      because kids aren't a number.

      24             You know, there's more to life than data.

      25             Life is very complex, and there are an awful







                                                                  222
       1      lot of culture aspects that get involved.

       2             A lot happens in a classroom that's not

       3      measurable, but, I've observed enough teaches and

       4      I've seen enough principals to know when they're

       5      connecting with kids, and when they're interested in

       6      kids.

       7             And I have to tell you, I don't think it

       8      matters what school district in the state you go to,

       9      you're going to find those people, because they're

      10      educators, and that's what they want to do.

      11             But I think, sadly, in many ways, we've put

      12      assessments and data ahead of the best interests of

      13      the boys and girls, again, who are in our care.

      14             So, I thank you for this opportunity.

      15                  [Applause.]

      16             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  John, I appreciate your

      17      sincerity.

      18             I just wanted to throw out one thing in

      19      particular.

      20             Working with my colleagues, and on a couple

      21      of the points that you raised, we have actually,

      22      genuinely, really tried.

      23             For example, I, as representative of our

      24      conference, have been very outspoken about the

      25      transition of APPR.  We fought like the dickens, but







                                                                  223
       1      to no avail, frankly, with the Executive, in

       2      particular, about a smoother and more timely

       3      implementation.  Something like a pilot program, or

       4      a scrimmage, or a spring training; however you want

       5      to analogize it.  And, we didn't have partners.

       6             We fought like heck to get money in the

       7      budget to pay for the proper implementation of APPR.

       8             And, while I have great respect for SED, they

       9      didn't like it, the Executive didn't like it, and,

      10      Jack Martins, in particular, was quite vociferous on

      11      an issue like that.

      12             And the problem was, we didn't have partners.

      13             As it relates to computerization and

      14      PARCC testing, and what's coming, we have actually

      15      passed a bill in the Senate -- this is gonna be a

      16      big shock to some of the people in the room -- we

      17      passed a bill in the Senate.  It said, if the State

      18      is going to mandate this, we have to pay for it.

      19             And, to me, that's -- while it's separate, to

      20      some extent, we're at a fundamental crossroads in

      21      terms of the financing of education and some of the

      22      educational mandates.

      23             And in our area, we certainly have our

      24      complications.

      25             But in the rural parts of the state, as you







                                                                  224
       1      well know from your colleagues, they don't even have

       2      the bandwidth.

       3             JOHN HOGAN:  Correct.

       4             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  So, to force them to do

       5      something that they can't even do if they had the

       6      money is somewhat patently absurd.

       7             But those are just a few quick comments.

       8             I appreciate you being here.

       9             And, if you want to stay and -- you know, we

      10      can give you a note for the board meeting.

      11             JOHN HOGAN:  No, I will just add, in terms of

      12      the computerized testing, how about the student --

      13      one student takes it on a screen this big, another

      14      student takes it on a screen this big, another

      15      student [gestures with hands].

      16             And then the district's going to be facing a

      17      phone call from a parent who's going to say, My

      18      child took it on an iPad.  They really should have

      19      taken it on, you know, a 19-inch screen like the kid

      20      in the next classroom did.

      21             So, there's -- there are all sorts of things.

      22             It reminds me, when all of this started,

      23      of -- I was principal at the time at

      24      John Glenn High School, and my assistant principal

      25      came in and he said, you know -- and you've all







                                                                  225
       1      heard this analogy before -- "You know that light at

       2      the end of the tunnel?"

       3             And this is, 2001, 2002, he said, "That's not

       4      a light.  That is a locomotive that is coming at us,

       5      and it's just going to overwhelm us."

       6             And he was right.

       7             And now the question is, you know, How do you

       8      get that locomotive to slow down?

       9             I -- you know, I hope you're successful.

      10             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  We are trying.

      11             Thank you very much.  We appreciate your time

      12      again.

      13             JOHN HOGAN:  Thank you.

      14                  [Applause.]

      15             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  All right,

      16      Claudine DiMuzio, from the Pines Elementary School

      17      in the Hauppauge School District, who is a

      18      principal, who is a parent, and who is a facilitator

      19      for the Hauppauge Parent Advocacy, Group, or

      20      Council, I'm not sure of the title.

      21             But, the principal was extraordinarily

      22      gracious.

      23             Commissioner King had been out to Hauppauge

      24      last week, and had a chance to see her school in

      25      full-blown operation.







                                                                  226
       1             I guess it was -- it really was the first day

       2      of school?

       3             CLAUDINE DIMUZIO:  Yes.

       4             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  So they treated all of us

       5      very well.

       6             So, Claudine, thank you.

       7             CLAUDINE DIMUZIO:  You're welcome.

       8             And thank you for attending our school.

       9             It was a pleasure to have you, and to have

      10      the Commissioner there as well.

      11             We were very proud to showcase our students

      12      and our programs.

      13             And, we really were so grateful to receive so

      14      many compliments, that we were off to a great start

      15      right from the get-go.

      16             I wanted to introduce myself as the principal

      17      of Pines Elementary School, and also a facilitator

      18      of the Hauppauge Parent Advocacy Group.

      19             I am very fortunate to have many parents in

      20      my building who are concerned about the direction

      21      that State Education has taken their education

      22      reforms.

      23             And I was very fortunate that they involved

      24      me in their very early discussions about how we

      25      could advocate for our students, because they have







                                                                  227
       1      very deep concerns.

       2             So, we were able to organize as a district.

       3             And we have also been reaching out to other

       4      districts, to start letter-writing campaigns, and to

       5      make more parents aware of what is going on in our

       6      schools, so that parents can advocate appropriately

       7      for their students and our children.

       8             So I am here today to speak on their behalf

       9      as well.

      10             And, also, as you said, I am also a parent of

      11      four children, all who will be involved in state

      12      testing, either now or in the future.

      13             Our concerns are really, as you know,

      14      multifaceted.

      15             We really have five points that we outline in

      16      our letters.

      17             And, today, I won't read for you, word for

      18      word, but I will try to summarize where we are

      19      coming from, collectively, and not repeat too much

      20      of what has been said already.

      21             I wanted to talk a little bit about the time

      22      spent on testing in schools.

      23             I know that some people here today talked

      24      about the time on testing, and, we didn't hear as

      25      many specifics.







                                                                  228
       1             We did come up with some specifics to

       2      Hauppauge, in our attempt to make our SLOs

       3      meaningful for teachers, so that they could receive

       4      some data that was also accurate about children,

       5      but, realizing that we were doing this because we

       6      had to fall under our APPR requirements.

       7             We now give our students many, many tests.

       8             And when we looked at a fifth-grade student

       9      throughout the year, we are now giving an additional

      10      19 separate state and local APR tests.

      11             And when we totaled the time, it was about

      12      930 minutes of testing a year that we would not be

      13      giving our students unless we were trying to reach

      14      those APPR and state mandates.

      15             If you think about how long the students sit

      16      for these tests --

      17             I know that the gentleman from the State

      18      said, Oh, 90 minutes, and 90 minutes.

      19             -- but I don't know if people realize that

      20      the length of the state tests that our third-graders

      21      start taking, up to our fifth-graders, and then up

      22      to eighth grade, are longer than the AP exams, the

      23      SAT exams, the ACT exams, the GRE exams, the LSAT

      24      exams, and the MCAT exams.

      25             Only the test that accountants take, which







                                                                  229
       1      maybe is why my husband never became a CPA, and he's

       2      only a public accountant -- a private account, is

       3      longer than what our students sit for this year.

       4             And, we also prepare in tests -- for tests

       5      during the school year.

       6             As you can imagine, teachers feel a lot of

       7      pressure to prepare students for tests, and that's

       8      twofold:

       9             We want to prepare students so that they're

      10      successful, we have an obligation;

      11             And we also want our teachers to be

      12      successful, because they also have an obligation to

      13      their profession.

      14             And, I know the parents that are here today,

      15      they have been so wonderful in public to speak about

      16      how our teachers are not pressuring students, or

      17      putting students in a position to feel badly about

      18      taking these tests, or to put them in situations

      19      where they feel any more stress than they need to.

      20             But, let's face it, we're taking a lot of

      21      meaningful time away from the schoolday throughout

      22      the year to prepare for these tests.

      23             And when the State talks about

      24      implementation, last year, it was very difficult to

      25      even find materials, forget curriculum, to prepare







                                                                  230
       1      students for state tests.

       2             We were asking colleagues all over the

       3      Island, you know, What are you using?  What are you

       4      using?

       5             There weren't a lot of good resources to even

       6      prepare students for the tests.

       7             So, people were really grappling with a lot

       8      of issues, to prepare students for the test.

       9             But, you talk about being able to help

      10      students who are struggling, or to help enrich

      11      students, as we've always tried to do in the past,

      12      more of our time was spent preparing for tests than

      13      ever before, for those reasons.

      14             When you think about the State's goal of

      15      twenty-first-century skills, I know that many

      16      people, such as Tony Wagner, Thomas Friedman, they

      17      talk about what students need to know in the future,

      18      and they disagree with where the State is going in

      19      having our approach be so test-driven.

      20             The way the that tests are created, these are

      21      not the best assessments to assess what students

      22      know.

      23             They are not the type of skills that are

      24      necessarily the skills that students will need.

      25             So there really are great concerns from







                                                                  231
       1      people in academia about where we are headed with

       2      these tests.

       3             So, that is a very -- you know, a very big

       4      problem.

       5             Then, also, the reliability of these tests.

       6             When you look at teachers' scores, you look

       7      at principals' scores, you have experts in the field

       8      that have been warning for years about the

       9      reliability and the validity of these assessments.

      10             And, that, is not to be taken lightly.

      11             You talk about a teacher who is a 1 out of a

      12      20, or an 8 out of a 20, and people aren't supposed

      13      to feel that.

      14             Well, think about students who are receiving

      15      those scores too, and how many experts in the field

      16      are saying these tests are not reliable and accurate

      17      from year to year?

      18             Is the State going to guarantee that these

      19      tests are true measures year after year of

      20      performance?

      21             In the past, they always said that they

      22      weren't.

      23             The third-grade test wasn't -- the

      24      fourth-grade test wasn't created to be a true

      25      measure of what the students then learned in between







                                                                  232
       1      third grade.

       2             Now are they?

       3             I mean, that's a very big problem.

       4             I did submit with my testimony, some research

       5      about that, which it was created by many people in

       6      the field.

       7             And just looking at two examples that are

       8      recent:

       9             If you look at Florida, they've been using

      10      grades for schools for over a decade.

      11             And they are saying that schools, where

      12      students are served with high minority or high

      13      poverty rates, those schools tend to get D's and F's

      14      in their scoring systems.

      15             And schools where there are students who are

      16      served by higher affluent populations, those schools

      17      rarely -- schools never receive those scores.

      18             So is it fair to rate teachers and principals

      19      for students in those communities?

      20             And then you have D.C. Councilman Brown

      21      talking here, trying to get teachers to come to

      22      Washington, and waiving evaluation systems tied to

      23      scores.

      24             So how can we tell teachers and principals

      25      and students in New York State that these scores are







                                                                  233
       1      fair, when so many other systems have seen the

       2      results of them and they're backing away from them

       3      now?

       4             Also, when you talk about the arts, there

       5      hasn't really been a system where school districts

       6      are -- are -- have the same measures in place for

       7      music and art, so, they're grappling with those

       8      assessments.

       9             And in many times, believe it or not, you can

      10      have a physical-education teacher being assessed on

      11      the ELA scores.

      12             They don't teach ELA, but they had to pick

      13      something.

      14             Or, they could be assessed on students that

      15      they don't even teach in gym, because they chose

      16      fourth-grade math scores, but they don't teach

      17      fourth-grade students.

      18             Is that really a fair and accurate measure

      19      for teachers and students?

      20             We're also very concerned about student

      21      privacy.

      22             And something that people haven't spoken

      23      about here yet, is, you think about identity theft.

      24             Will parents have to pay to protect their

      25      children's data one day?







                                                                  234
       1             Will grade theft become the new identity

       2      theft?

       3             People are very concerned about other people

       4      having that information about their child.

       5             We talked about having information about

       6      special education or family situations.

       7             Is a child supposed to live with this data

       8      out there and have, who knows who, having access to

       9      this data over years?

      10             It would seem to me, as a parent, very scary

      11      that this data will not be, as I did not know,

      12      controlled by someone who is elected.

      13             I think that there are all sorts of scenarios

      14      that we can imagine that are disastrous for

      15      children.

      16             Also thinking about the costs associated with

      17      the APPR, I believe Hauppauge is receiving a little

      18      bit less than $20,000 for RTT money.

      19             And, we've spent a lot of money on buying

      20      materials to prepare students, scoring students,

      21      testing students, getting locals in place...all of

      22      these things at a time when, as you know, we also

      23      are facing the tax cap.

      24             And I believe that, Hauppauge, we've done a

      25      great job trying to keep those costs under control.







                                                                  235
       1      Our units have all accepted deals, and have done

       2      what they've needed to do, but, you know, let's face

       3      it, we had to spend a lot of money on APPR.

       4             And our taxpayers, many of them, don't feel

       5      that was a good way to spend their money.

       6             That could have went directly to children and

       7      instruction.

       8             And, then, Common Core implementation.

       9             Again the State talked about the insufficient

      10      materials, the curriculum that wasn't there.

      11             It's -- I mean, it was very hard for

      12      teachers, last year, this year.

      13             You talk about the math modules?  Things are

      14      slowly coming out.

      15             And when you tell people teachers have to

      16      teach to a test, when there really isn't a

      17      curriculum, or, you're getting the curriculum a week

      18      before you can do that module, that's not fair to

      19      teachers, it's not fair to students.

      20             Last year, we thought about fifth-grade

      21      students.

      22             Fifth-grade teachers had to go back and teach

      23      children fourth-grade math, third grade math, in,

      24      pretty much, the same amount time we had during the

      25      schoolday in previous years.







                                                                  236
       1             And our fifth-grade scores, when they came

       2      out, they were not good.

       3             And teachers felt horrible that they had done

       4      a disservice to children because they just couldn't

       5      catch them up.

       6             They couldn't catch them up.

       7             And to see children struggling like that, it

       8      breaks your heart when you're at the building level.

       9             To see teachers struggling like that, it's

      10      just demoralizing.  And it just, like, it makes you

      11      wonder.

      12             That gentleman said he's glad that his child

      13      isn't teaching in a public school.

      14             I would probably never advocate for any of my

      15      four children to go into public education right now,

      16      because I feel that this direction is just not good

      17      for the long term.

      18             Talk about research labs, people haven't

      19      talked about these things.

      20             You know, Massachusetts, Finland, Ontario,

      21      they've all implemented reform models that didn't

      22      include this test-driven, heavy-handed punitive

      23      system.

      24             Massachusetts?

      25             New York is sitting here and saying, Oh we're







                                                                  237
       1      the first state to offer curriculum to go with those

       2      standards.

       3             Massachusetts did that a long time ago, and

       4      they did it with good results, and they put money

       5      into the schools that needed it, and they also gave

       6      teachers the support that they needed.

       7             So, it didn't have to be that way.

       8             And, then, when you also talking about these

       9      test scores, and how important these scores are, if

      10      you read Paul Tough's research, he has spent a lot

      11      of time in Harlem, with Geoffrey Canada.  He's

      12      really been in a lot of areas where people are

      13      really struggling to find ideas that are new and

      14      fresh.

      15             And he interviews the gentleman in charge of

      16      the KIPP charter schools, and they were so proud

      17      that they were graduating students with very high

      18      standardized test scores.

      19             And then they were finding out that they were

      20      barely graduating college.  They were having very

      21      few children graduate college.

      22             If you go to page 52 in this book, it

      23      outlines how KIPP, even after those very high

      24      standardized test scores, we did a lot of what they

      25      do to include social-emotional learning, character







                                                                  238
       1      education; teaching children the other facets of

       2      life, because, just thinking about math and reading

       3      and test scores was not producing the citizen that

       4      they thought that they were producing in the

       5      long term.

       6             So, today, you know, I put my questions for

       7      you to think about in my testimony.

       8             And I think that -- you know, I know that you

       9      come to our school.  I think that you think that we

      10      have a great school.

      11             I know we have a great school.

      12             And, I think that the State Education

      13      Department needs to include educators in the

      14      conversation, because these pieces are really

      15      important, and it's affecting children right now.

      16             "Right now."

      17                  [Applause.]

      18             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Claudine, thanks a lot.

      19             And I'll just tell you, quickly, as a living

      20      example of the quality of education, I've been over

      21      there in the last couple of years.  They have

      22      student-government elections, and it's great,

      23      because they have -- for the different grades, and

      24      all of the kids get up, and they have to give a

      25      speech.







                                                                  239
       1             Some of it's hysterical.  You know, some of

       2      the kids get upset.

       3             But, it's -- it really is a lot of fun to

       4      watch.  And that's educational in its own right.

       5             But thank you again, and appreciate your

       6      patience, and being here and waiting.

       7             And, we're good, so you're free --

       8             CLAUDINE DIMUZIO:  Thank you.

       9             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  -- for now.

      10             And, now we have -- she was here first, and

      11      she has been extraordinarily patient,

      12      Michelle Marino, who is the principal in

      13      Southdown Primary in the Huntington School District;

      14             And, John Nocero, who has -- and he's been

      15      around a long time, a story career in the local

      16      area, with the Council of Administrators &

      17      Supervisors.

      18             And we appreciate both of you being here.

      19             And, in deference to the lady, ladies first.

      20             Michelle.

      21             MICHELLE MARINO:  Thank you.

      22             It was an honor to have been asked to be

      23      here, and I do appreciate being asked, and I'm

      24      looking forward to giving you my impressions of how

      25      it went last year, my concerns, and maybe some







                                                                  240
       1      advice as well.

       2             I've been in education for over 30 years, and

       3      I've seen many, many changes.

       4             And I would like to ask you to perform some

       5      mental imagery with me right now, if you wouldn't

       6      mind.

       7             So, pretend that you are flying a plane and

       8      you're in midair, but, the engineer is still

       9      creating the plans, and the mechanics are still

      10      tweaking the engine, and you're still learning the

      11      dashboard and how to land this plane; but, yet, you

      12      have, 30, or 400, students behind you.

      13             That's pretty much what happened this year

      14      with our rush to the Common Core and the state

      15      assessments: we were building the plane as we were

      16      flying it.

      17             Rushed implementation: I don't understand why

      18      we were the only state that decided to implement the

      19      assessments the very same year that we implemented

      20      the Common Core curriculum.

      21             It was unfair to teachers, and it was unfair

      22      to students.

      23             To place a test in front of students whom

      24      have not been comprehensively taught these skills

      25      that they'll be tested, was a tragedy.







                                                                  241
       1             And our test results showed that as well.

       2             As a district, we spent a tremendous amount

       3      of time and energy, and, to help our teachers to

       4      embrace the Common Core standards and the modulars,

       5      with professional developments, with learning

       6      opportunities for them.

       7             We have an amazing website, and our

       8      superintendent of schools and board of education

       9      have done a magnificent job of informing parents of

      10      the Common Core, and what the standards are, with

      11      many, many presentations.

      12             But the reality is, that there was no time.

      13             Teachers were not allowed the time to learn

      14      the curriculum, to embrace it, and then to figure

      15      out a way to help their students become engaged in

      16      that curriculum in a meaningful way.

      17             It was not just a matter of opening your

      18      textbooks, "Let's learn it, let's do it."

      19             You know that the single most variable in

      20      student success is that connection that a student

      21      has with their teacher and the learning.

      22             And that was something that I really think

      23      was pushed to the side in this implementation.

      24             Okay, I'm just going to rush -- go through my

      25      points.  I don't want to regurgitate a lot of things







                                                                  242
       1      that have already been said.

       2             There is a danger in relying on testing as a

       3      single indicator of student success and teacher

       4      effectiveness.

       5             There is a tremendous amount of research that

       6      cites multiple measures as being a better indicator.

       7             Our board of education, this last summer,

       8      passed a resolution, calling upon the federal

       9      government to reduce testing mandates, and support

      10      the role of focus on multiple measures on student

      11      learning and student quality of accountability

      12      systems.

      13             When you're spending the kind of testing that

      14      we are doing with our children, we are eroding the

      15      educational system.

      16             I overheard one of our teachers say that she

      17      felt as though New York State has hijacked teaching

      18      and education.

      19             And that really is a common thought among the

      20      teachers; that, they are not given the time to

      21      develop the curriculum to help their students learn.

      22             We are now in a very difficult place, in

      23      that, our -- well, our APPR scores have already come

      24      out, and my teachers already know where they scored

      25      last year.







                                                                  243
       1             And, of course, a lot of that was the

       2      20 percent and 20 percent, which was a very

       3      difficult pill to swallow.

       4             And now the parents are going to be in the

       5      same place very soon.

       6             This is going to be difficult for them to

       7      understand, that this was truly not a student

       8      problem.  This was not that students learn less and

       9      teachers taught less.

      10             This was a test problem.

      11             This was a calculated effort to move the bar,

      12      and we knew in advance that our students were going

      13      to drop.

      14             And although our parents -- many of my

      15      parents were prepared, because I spoke of this many,

      16      many times.

      17             And our teachers were prepared.  They also

      18      knew the reality of, when that score came out and

      19      they saw the scores of their students.

      20             It was heartbreaking.

      21             "It was heartbreaking."

      22             We spend a lot of time with our students,

      23      trying to help them develop a positive-growth

      24      mindset.

      25             I'm not sure if you know the work of







                                                                  244
       1      Dr. Carol Dweck, but it's very powerful.

       2             Basically, what it is, is that some students,

       3      and many adults, think of themselves as being

       4      art-smarts, or, I'm not good at math.

       5             That's called a "fixed mindset."

       6             That's, "No matter how hard I work, or no

       7      matter what I do, I'm just not good at it, and I'm

       8      not going to get any better at it."

       9             That's a "fixed mindset."

      10             And it's very dangerous for children, and

      11      it's dangerous for adults.

      12             We spend a lot of times with our students,

      13      trying to help them to realize that it's a positive

      14      mind growth.  It's something that you can change.

      15      If you're not doing something well, we have to try

      16      to figure out what it is that you need to work a

      17      little harder on, and that we'll continue to move

      18      forward.

      19             So our students were very involved in the

      20      assessments; the ongoing multiple assessments that

      21      we use throughout the year; for example, the math

      22      sprints.

      23             Math sprints are trying to help our students

      24      develop fluency, which is one of the shifts for

      25      mathematics.







                                                                  245
       1             We wanted our students to learn those math

       2      facts quicker and quicker, so that when they were

       3      presented with a math problem that involved a lot

       4      more than just calculation.  They had to figure out

       5      what did they know about this problem, to be able to

       6      move forward with an unknown.

       7             They tracked those math sprints.

       8             And students looked at those scores, with the

       9      teachers, and said, You know, you did really well

      10      here.  Look at your score this week compared to last

      11      week.  Or, today versus yesterday.

      12             So students were invested in making those

      13      strides forward.

      14             They are now going to get this, kind of,

      15      badge of failure.

      16             And it's going to be very difficult, on my

      17      end, to try to help them to promote that positive

      18      growth.  To let them know that this was not about,

      19      what do they know?

      20             This is truly about setting the bar --

      21      resetting the bar, and we're going to move forward.

      22      It's going to be a very, very hard task ahead.

      23             Lastly, I am very afraid that the assessments

      24      are going to widen the gap for the English-language

      25      learners and the students with disabilities.







                                                                  246
       1             Again, it's the multiple measures that are

       2      going to count there, because, if we look strictly

       3      at the absolute performance, those students are

       4      going to be in danger.  And that's what my fear is.

       5             So, it was a very interesting year.

       6             I look forward to having more modulars to

       7      work with my students and my teachers.

       8             Again, they were not there for us.

       9             Last year, we started in September with not

      10      one math modular to even look at, and they trickled

      11      out through the year.

      12             That is a very uncomfortable place for me,

      13      and for my teachers, when they have to turnkey that

      14      learning into meaningful and engaging teaching.

      15             So, I appreciate being here.

      16             Thank you.

      17             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Michelle, I appreciate

      18      that.

      19                  [Applause.]

      20             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  And we'll have John, but

      21      I just wanted to add, I think, one of the unique

      22      aspects of Huntington School District, which I knew

      23      when I represented it, was the diversity of the

      24      population.

      25             You have some of the wealthiest people in the







                                                                  247
       1      country, and some of the poorest people in the

       2      country as well.

       3             CLAUDINE DIMUZIO:  And some of the greatest

       4      children in the country.

       5             Just to say.

       6                  [Applause.]

       7             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  That's true.

       8             That is true.

       9             But just the diversity of languages, it

      10      was --

      11             CLAUDINE DIMUZIO:  Yes, yes.

      12             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  -- I always found to be

      13      quite illustrative of diversity.

      14             So, John.

      15             And it's 37 years; right?

      16             JOHN NOCERO:  Yes, it is.

      17             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.

      18             JOHN NOCERO:  Good afternoon.

      19             My name is John Nocero.  I'm representing

      20      today the Council of Administrators & Supervisors of

      21      Nassau and Suffolk county.

      22             We represent over 1300 school administrators

      23      in Nassau and Suffolk county.

      24             My own personal experience: I was a teacher

      25      and school administrator in the Smithtown Central







                                                                  248
       1      School District for 37 years.

       2             And I had the pleasure of retiring this

       3      summer.

       4             With that pleasure goes the responsibility to

       5      share my experiences, and what I have seen change

       6      over those many years as an administrator.

       7             And I would like to share with you today a

       8      lot of the comments, concerns, that we have heard

       9      from our council members.

      10             My joy as the school principal, was arriving

      11      to school early each day, seeing the students come

      12      off the buses, see them go to their classes, smiles

      13      on their face, greet them in the hallways; walk into

      14      classes, see exceptional teaching taking place; meet

      15      the students in the cafeteria; stay after school and

      16      see a sports program, a concert, a drama production.

      17             Well, that is changing, and changing quickly.

      18             As the reasons we've heard today, and the

      19      many reasons that have been cited, there's no more

      20      joy in our schools.

      21             I'm sad that I'm not a principal anymore

      22      because I would enjoy facing that challenge, but,

      23      our current administrators are facing tremendous

      24      challenges with the students.

      25             We do not disagree with the fact that we need







                                                                  249
       1      higher learning standards, we need to better prepare

       2      our students, that we need to implement

       3      twenty-first-century learning skills to prepare our

       4      students.

       5             We don't agree with the need for testing or

       6      assessment.

       7             We do disagree with the way this has been

       8      implemented, and we've heard this over and over

       9      today.

      10             We've heard the statement that we're flying

      11      the plane --

      12             You stole my line.

      13             That's the joy of going last in a program.

      14             -- before it's been assembled.

      15             And I think, you know, we certainly have

      16      heard that and seen that today.

      17             Dr. King had stated that, you know, we must

      18      act now, and we must implement this testing now, for

      19      the benefit of our students.

      20             And I will disagree, on behalf of our members

      21      today, saying that the way we're implementing it is

      22      incorrect, inappropriate, and, in fact, it will hurt

      23      our children in the long run.

      24             We're forgetting one fact here, ladies and

      25      gentlemen, today, that we're in this business for







                                                                  250
       1      children; for what's best for children.

       2             And I don't think there would be one

       3      administrator in our council that would disagree

       4      with the fact that we need to make some changes, but

       5      as I said, it's the way we're doing it.

       6             So I will quickly summarize my testimony,

       7      which you have in front of you.

       8             Most of this we have heard today.  This is

       9      the joy of going last on a program.

      10             We are concerned, number one, with the

      11      implementation of the new standards, and the way

      12      that it's been rushed and pushed ahead without

      13      teacher preparation.

      14             We've heard today the fact that eighth-grade

      15      students are taking an assessment that they have not

      16      been prepared for in alignment with Common Core.

      17             Wouldn't it make more sense to phase this in

      18      in a more rational, prepared way so we don't hurt

      19      our students and put them in undue stress?

      20             We need a bottom-to-top overhaul, but it's

      21      the way we're doing it that's an issue.

      22             The questions on the assessments are often

      23      ambiguous.  They were designed for students to fail.

      24             We were told that before the students even

      25      took the assessment.







                                                                  251
       1             I don't understand what kind of good

       2      educational practice that is, when we tell students

       3      "you're going to fail" before they take the test.

       4             We have neglected, and we've heard this also

       5      today, the developmental stages of children.

       6             Their brains at a young age, as you quoted,

       7      "Mesopotamia," are a very concrete way of thinking.

       8             And as children develop, and if we understand

       9      child development, we know that their thinking

      10      becomes more abstract as they get to middle school,

      11      and go to high school.

      12             This has been neglected with the test

      13      questions.

      14             We're concerned about the time allocated for

      15      the testing.

      16             We've heard over and over, the amount of

      17      time, the number of tests that students are taking.

      18             And here's one other fact that wasn't brought

      19      up today:

      20             Many of our special-needs students have IEP's

      21      that allow them extended time.

      22             So when we're saying 90 minutes of testing a

      23      day, some of those students will get

      24      time-and-a-half.

      25             That is excessive for any student.







                                                                  252
       1             And when you look at children as young as

       2      8 or 9 years old, that is indeed cruel to do to

       3      them.

       4             One of the concerns I had last year was,

       5      I believe it was the seventh- and eighth-grade ELA

       6      assessment, there was of the same question on each

       7      assessment.  And we were told that one of those

       8      questions was a field-test embedded question.

       9             Well, what about the student who cannot

      10      answer that question, their self-esteem, their

      11      confidence in continuing on that assessment?

      12             And then, my school, Accompsett Middle School

      13      in Smithtown, was required to administer, in any

      14      case, a field test, in addition to the field-test

      15      embedded questions.

      16             We're concerned about, what are we going to

      17      do with the remediation in an era of 2 percent tax

      18      cap?

      19             You know, and it seems to me that it's a

      20      contradiction, and a disservice to our students, for

      21      us to say:  70 percent of you need remediation; yet,

      22      what we're going to do is, we're going to give you a

      23      waiver this year.  You really don't need it.  We're

      24      going to take a look at that comparable rigor chart,

      25      and we're going to say, You don't need it this year.







                                                                  253
       1             Isn't that talking out of two sides of our

       2      mouth?

       3             If we're saying these students need the help,

       4      then let's give them the help, and give us the

       5      resources to help them.

       6             The 2 percent tax cap, we've heard many

       7      districts, the challenge with that, and how they're

       8      addressing it, and we're all abiding by that.  But,

       9      with these additional staffing needs for

      10      remediation, I don't know how we get around that.

      11             We're concerned about the lack of

      12      availability of the previous tests, and how our

      13      teachers, students, parents, administrators, can

      14      learn from that.

      15             We're concerned about teaching to the test,

      16      as we have heard.

      17             I have to say, I was a music teacher in the

      18      Smithtown School District for over 20 years before

      19      I became a school administrator.

      20             I saw the joy students had from performing

      21      music.

      22             I saw the connection we can make with

      23      students when we give them an opportunity to excel

      24      at something that love, and want to come to school,

      25      as Regent Tilles had indicated earlier.







                                                                  254
       1             I saw that firsthand.

       2             And I saw many students who would not have

       3      been successful in school, become successful,

       4      because the opportunities we provided them through

       5      the arts, through the humanities, that, today, we

       6      are reducing, because we say:  You have to go to AIS

       7      for remediation.  We don't have the money for a

       8      music program.  We're discouraging creativity.

       9             The high-poverty districts, low-income

      10      districts, we've spoken about.

      11             What about the student that comes to school

      12      hungry, that comes from substandard housing, who

      13      have a family that is not intact and not a nuclear

      14      family; what are we doing as a society to help those

      15      students?

      16             The testing results used to score:

      17             I have to say, I was fortunate to be the

      18      principal of Accompsett Middle School from 2004

      19      until my retirement.

      20             Senator Flanagan, you helped us open the

      21      school back in 2004, and it was a day of excitement.

      22             Our teaching staff has come together in a

      23      very unique way, and they have become so

      24      child-oriented, child-centered, and caring about

      25      what's best for kids, delivering, not only academic







                                                                  255
       1      programs, but social-emotional programs.

       2             This new system is throwing that into chaos.

       3             Our teachers have become demoralized.

       4             From what I understand, the start of the

       5      school year is presenting many new challenges.

       6             And it really is unfortunate for those that

       7      put their love and heart on the line to help

       8      children, that, now, scores are being used to deem

       9      them ineffective.

      10             What about the measurements of the qualities

      11      teachers bring to a classroom: teaching character

      12      development, teaching how to be good citizens in

      13      this country of ours?

      14             Where does that come into play?

      15             Or, is the score merely what we're going to

      16      account?

      17             And, of course, you know, we've spoken about

      18      the over-testing today.

      19             And my perspective on that is, yes, it's

      20      taken an emotional toll on the students.  It's put

      21      unwanted stress and anxiety, as we have heard.

      22             Our teachers are becoming demoralized.

      23             And, I'm sure there are many people

      24      questioning why they should go into such a field.

      25             Our parents, as we have heard, and I've seen







                                                                  256
       1      this and heard this from my own PTA organization,

       2      are very concerned, and are beginning to opt out.

       3             Our school administrators, who I represent

       4      today, have become frustrated.

       5             We have spent excessive amount of times in

       6      training for the APPR, for the different character

       7      programs that we need to put into our schools.

       8             The days of testing, where we're pulled out

       9      of the building, last year, I believe, I had,

      10      probably, about 10 training sessions, out of the

      11      building, during the schoolday.

      12             And in addition to that now, we as school

      13      principals have the additional responsibility to

      14      evaluate each and every teacher, in depth.

      15             And that is not just so simple, ladies and

      16      gentlemen, as to walk into a classroom and to

      17      observe the teacher, and score something;

      18             It takes a pre-conference meeting with the

      19      teacher;

      20             It takes the observation itself;

      21             It takes reflection on my part and the

      22      teacher's part;

      23             A-post conference meeting;

      24             And then a follow-up observation.

      25             When you have a high school of 150 students,







                                                                  257
       1      or, a middle school like mine, with teachers -- with

       2      approximately 80 teachers, how do you do that

       3      several times during the school year; yet, be

       4      hands-on with your parents, your teachers be an

       5      instructional leader that you need to be?

       6             So I'll sum up my comments, and you can read

       7      the rest of my testimony then.

       8             We do have a wonderful opportunity to

       9      implement higher standards if it's done in the right

      10      way.

      11             I hope that the State Education Department is

      12      listening to us today; listening to the testimony we

      13      have heard through these many hours that we have sat

      14      here, and I do hope that they consider making some

      15      changes.

      16             We're not looking to eliminate the rigor and

      17      the higher standards, but it's how we're going about

      18      this process that we need to take a close look at,

      19      the best impact, the students of New York State.

      20             I thank you today, Senators, for the time,

      21      and the opportunity to speak.

      22                  [Applause.]

      23

      24

      25







                                                                  258
       1             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Michelle and John, thank

       2      you again for your patience, and for all the work

       3      that you do.

       4             And, that word "retiree," people like you

       5      don't retire, John.

       6             JOHN NOCERO:  I can sit here all day.  I have

       7      nowhere to go.

       8                  [Laughter.]

       9             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  John Hogan may need help

      10      at his board meeting tonight, so...

      11             All right, we have two more, and I appreciate

      12      everyone's courtesies.

      13             We have Professor Arnold Dodge, who is the

      14      chairperson of the Department of Educational

      15      Leadership and Administration at CW Post, LIU.

      16             Professor Dodge, I know you are keenly aware,

      17      and I see that you have some very interesting

      18      testimony here, and your ability to summarize that

      19      will be greatly appreciated.

      20             PROFESSOR ARNOLD DODGE:  Absolutely.

      21             Well, I have actually switched my notes

      22      six times, because everything's already been said,

      23      so, I'm going to be saying, hopefully -- hopefully,

      24      I will not repeat what's already been said.

      25             First of all, I am of the ivory-tower crowd







                                                                  259
       1      for about six or seven years, but before that, I was

       2      a teacher and a principal and a superintendent of

       3      schools for 38 years, so, I come with a great deal

       4      of observation of the public schools in New York.

       5             And the last six or seven years, I've had the

       6      opportunity to travel around the world, and see

       7      schools around the world, and around the country.

       8             And, as bad as things that you've heard today

       9      are, from the witnesses' standpoint, they're worse

      10      than that in New York State.

      11             It is my contention that New York State is

      12      maybe doing the worse job of all of the venues that

      13      I've seen around the world.

      14                  [Applause.]

      15             PROFESSOR ARNOLD DODGE:  And this very

      16      painful.

      17             I went to school in New York, not only public

      18      school, but I went to college in New York.  I'm a

      19      graduate of my current university.

      20             And, I take this very seriously.

      21             And I, quite frankly, think what's going on

      22      in New York is shameful.

      23             I have never seen a group of policymakers so

      24      out of touch with the reality of what children's

      25      needs are, and I know this has been said in so many







                                                                  260
       1      ways today.

       2             So, I took it upon myself with, actually, a

       3      delegation of other colleagues, to travel around to

       4      different parts of the world.

       5             And I actually have a project going on

       6      regularly in South Africa, where we deal with issues

       7      of poverty and schools.  And we have a very

       8      interesting relationship with schools in New York

       9      and schools in South Africa.

      10             But, I want to focus on the two other places

      11      that I've been recently, and one of them was China.

      12             And we visited ministers in China, and we

      13      visited, everybody, from students to teachers; we

      14      were rural communities, we were in Shanghai, we were

      15      in Beijing; because I wanted to know, What's the

      16      deal here?

      17             How competitive are these Chinese people

      18      going to be in terms of their education?

      19             And let me tell you something, almost to a

      20      person, and I'm talking about, from the ministers,

      21      down to the children, they said:  You know what our

      22      problem is?  We're too competitive.  We've got to

      23      have kids ease up.  We got to get kids to say, You

      24      know what?  Enough already, with all these tests.

      25             They take this major test that is the







                                                                  261
       1      be-all-and-end-all of whether they're going to get

       2      into a university, and everything else is put aside

       3      while they're taking this test.

       4             And the kids go crazy.

       5             Literally, some of them go crazy.

       6             And the parents in the largest country in the

       7      world have said, Enough already.

       8             And the ministers have said, Enough already.

       9             And what is so ironic, is that New York State

      10      says, No, we're going to double-down and make it

      11      even more difficult, more pressure.

      12             And I've heard Bill Gates in person, say,

      13      I've been to Shanghai, and it troubles me that we

      14      don't do as well as Shanghai.

      15             Well, I've been to Shanghai, and Shanghai is

      16      like Beverly Hills on the water.

      17             So, you can't compare the very rich portions

      18      of some countries to a 300-million

      19      heterogeneously-populated United States.

      20             So there's all kinds of mythologies about

      21      this issue.

      22             And in my testimony that I gave you, there's

      23      a wonderful article from last week's "Times," in

      24      which they talk about the fact that the Chinese kids

      25      are now saying, All we do is memorize.  And we







                                                                  262
       1      understand, in America, they actually have science

       2      equipment.  We like that.

       3             So instead of us doubling-down on our science

       4      equipment and STEM, we say, No, we need more tests

       5      with bubble sheets.

       6             The stupidity of it, we are awash in

       7      stupidity.

       8             And it is so galling to me, as someone who

       9      cares so much about, and my colleagues as well, to

      10      hear this kind of stuff going on;

      11             And to have our chancellors say, We should be

      12      in the deep end, and have, you know, the image of

      13      kids flopping around.

      14             And someone mentioned earlier, and they drown

      15      in the deep end.

      16             Well, you know, if there has to be

      17      casualties, there has to be casualties.

      18             And then you got a governor who says, You

      19      know, for failing schools, we might need the death

      20      penalty.

      21             It's this kind rhetoric and this kind of

      22      imagery that is the opposite of everything I signed

      23      up for when I got into this profession, which was

      24      the nurturance and the developmental needs of

      25      children.







                                                                  263
       1             And they are all being ignored, to the -- and

       2      we can't even tell how bad this is yet.

       3             Because I think, as some people have said

       4      today:  You're only 8 years old, once.  You've only

       5      got an 8-year-old psyche, once.

       6             If you damage that psyche, I don't know if

       7      you ever repair it, because you are so vulnerable

       8      and fragile.

       9             We are damaging these kids' self-esteem right

      10      now with this program.

      11             Even Daniel Koretz, who was a supporter, and

      12      consultant from the State Education Department, just

      13      recently in an interview said, I don't know what

      14      New York State's doing.

      15             I'm paraphrasing.

      16             He said, Because we don't even know what

      17      college- and career-ready even means.

      18             I was -- had the opportunity three months ago

      19      to be in California, where Secretary Duncan was

      20      speaking.

      21             And he laid out a speech to education

      22      researchers about how, Enough already with the

      23      pressures.  We have too many multiple-choice tests.

      24      I hate to hear to hear kids say their numbers.

      25             Well, they made a mistake, and they gave me







                                                                  264
       1      the microphone.

       2                  [Laughter.]

       3             PROFESSOR ARNOLD DODGE:  And I asked him if

       4      he had even read his own law.

       5             I said:

       6             Do you understand, you can't talk out of both

       7      sides of your mouth and not think smart people are

       8      going to not get it?

       9             Okay?

      10             Because, you are screwing us up.  You're

      11      suffocating the kids with this.

      12             And if you don't stop, we're gonna have no

      13      innovation, no imagination, no creativity, and your

      14      idea that we're going to be more competitive in the

      15      world is gonna be a laughing stock of the rest of

      16      the world.

      17             So I ask you, Mr. Secretary will you call a

      18      moratorium?

      19             He said, "I'll get back to you."

      20             So I'm still waiting.

      21             But I think speaking truth to power now, and

      22      I've said this for the last number of years, we as

      23      educators have to do that.

      24             That's why I was so delighted that you

      25      invited me to speak today.







                                                                  265
       1             And I've seen you at meetings before, and

       2      you're an excellent listener.

       3             For five hours, you've been listening

       4      attentively.  And I knew -- and this gentleman as

       5      well.

       6             And I knew, even if I were one of the last

       7      ones, you'd still pay some attention.

       8             So, I appreciate this.

       9             I'm going to tell you, this is an emergency.

      10             We can't wait any longer.

      11             We can't have this debate.

      12             I said in 2001, when I saw NCLB, I was at a

      13      big meeting, I said, "This thing is not going to

      14      work."

      15             And somebody said, "Oh, sit down.  You know

      16      how these things come and go."

      17             Well, you know what?  Ten years later,

      18      Race To The Top is NCLB on steroids.

      19             And what is the next version going to be?

      20             What is the next President going to come in

      21      with, or the next Secretary of Education, and say:

      22      We're going to do it.  You know what?  There's a

      23      little too much oxygen in the room for other things.

      24      Let's completely take all the oxygen out of the room

      25      and make it only about tests.







                                                                  266
       1             We are losing our kids.

       2             We are losing our kids to this debacle.

       3             And somebody, responsible adults, like

       4      yourselves, have to step up and say "No."

       5                  [Applause.]

       6             PROFESSOR ARNOLD DODGE:  Politics aside,

       7      individual interests aside, we must say no to this,

       8      because it is damaging our children.

       9             Thank you.

      10             [Applause.]

      11             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Professor, I have one

      12      question based on what you said.

      13             How do you define "college- and

      14      career-ready"?

      15             You're in college now.

      16             PROFESSOR ARNOLD DODGE:  Daniel Koretz

      17      actually started -- starts the conversation, which

      18      we should be having, which is, for some kids, it

      19      means a certain kind of college.  For other kids, it

      20      means a certain kind of career.

      21             Do you know, in Finland, 45 percent of the

      22      kids in tenth grade go to vocational school.  Almost

      23      half the population.

      24             They say, We're gonna start thinking about

      25      careers now.







                                                                  267
       1             I think we've got the whole thing backwards.

       2             We like these slogans, but do we really even

       3      know what we mean when we say "college- and

       4      career-ready"?

       5             I defy anybody to take a 7- or 8-year-old and

       6      tell me what 10 and 15 years from now, a "college-

       7      and career-readiness" would even mean, given the

       8      technology we have, given the changes that we have.

       9                  [Applause.]

      10             PROFESSOR ARNOLD DODGE:  We are fooling

      11      ourselves if we think we can do that with a 7- and

      12      8-year-old.

      13             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay.

      14             Thank you very much.

      15                  [Applause.]

      16             PROFESSOR ARNOLD DODGE:  Thank you.

      17             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay, so, Professor Dodge

      18      certainly doesn't lack for passion, which is good.

      19             UNKNOWN FEMALE SPEAKER:  [Inaudible.]

      20                  [Laughter.]

      21             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  And last, but certainly by

      22      no means least, I have had a couple of nice

      23      conversations with Lisa Rudley, who is from the

      24      Autism Action Network.

      25             She's actually -- well, she's like a lot of







                                                                  268
       1      people here.  She's involved in about 89 different

       2      things, but, she is kind enough to come down today,

       3      and will be focusing her comments on privacy.

       4             But, Lisa, thank you for your patience.

       5             LISA RUDLEY:  Thank you so much.

       6             And it's an honor to be here, and I'm very

       7      appreciative that you asked me to speak.

       8             Yes, I'm involved in many different

       9      organizations.

      10             I'm here representing Autism Action Network.

      11             We all know that there is about

      12      1 in 50 children now diagnosed with autism.

      13             It's an epidemic.

      14             We've been working a lot in the state to

      15      protect the rights of people with autism.

      16             I also am here representing the newly formed

      17      New York State Allies for Public Education

      18      Organization, where my wonderful friend and

      19      colleague Jeanette is part of.

      20             It's a centralized group that represents over

      21      40 allies across the state, and growing.

      22             We -- the last count we had was about

      23      60,000 hits to our Facebook.

      24             And that's a number -- that's a force to be

      25      reckoned with.







                                                                  269
       1             And, I think, about 59,000 come from

       2      Long Island, but, uhm...

       3                  [Laughter.]

       4             LISA RUDLEY:  You know, I woke up today, and

       5      I went and got the -- our local newspaper, the

       6      "Journal News," and it says, "We must not become a

       7      'collect it all' society."

       8             And today happens to be Constitution Day.

       9             In 1787, our framers signed the Constitution.

      10             And, I'll read one excerpt.

      11             "The Constitution, the Fourth Amendment,

      12      protects the right of the people to be secure in

      13      their persons, houses, papers, and effects, except

      14      when the government obtains a warrant based on a

      15      probable cause."

      16             Today I'm here to speak about privacy of our

      17      children's personally identifiable data.

      18             And I think we touched on that a lot towards

      19      the end of this hearing.

      20             And, everybody's asking the question, Why did

      21      we rush the Common Core?

      22             And why do we rush the assessments for the

      23      Common Core?

      24             It took me about five hours, and I wasn't

      25      quite -- you know, I was thinking, Well, should







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       1      I mention this?

       2             And it became very clear, we rushed this,

       3      because it's a data point.

       4             It's a data point that they want collected in

       5      this huge database cloud that is hosted by

       6      Amazon.com.  And the name of the database is called

       7      "inBloom."

       8             And I think it's really important that people

       9      understand that, "FERPA," the Family Education

      10      Rights and Protection Act, was expanded unilaterally

      11      by our Secretary -- our United States Secretary

      12      Arnie Duncan, unilaterally, without Congressional

      13      approval, to expand, to allow, third-party vendors

      14      to be authorized representatives.

      15             And what that did is, that opened the door to

      16      these contracts throughout the country, eight of

      17      which have -- essentially, eight states,

      18      essentially, have pulled out of the inBloom

      19      contract.

      20             Two of those states are on the -- one of

      21      those states are on the fence.  That's

      22      Massachusetts;

      23             And the other two have -- one district or

      24      two districts are straggling.

      25             New York State is the only state that is







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       1      still standing alone in giving our personally

       2      identifiable data, New York State, to this inBloom

       3      database.

       4             So you have to ask yourselves, well, of

       5      course they rushed those assessments.  I mean, they

       6      need a data point.

       7             And, you know, quite frankly, I wrote the

       8      State -- I wrote New York -- EngageNY Help Desk,

       9      because I said, "How do I opt out my children from

      10      their personally identifiable data being shared?"

      11             And they said to me -- well, the

      12      Problem Request was, "Ms. Rudley would like to know

      13      how to opt out uploading of her three children's

      14      information to inBloom, and if all schools are

      15      required to use inBloom?"

      16             It's funny, I was on the phone with State Ed,

      17      and I said, you know, "How do I opt out my

      18      children?"

      19             And they said, "You have to e-mail EngageNY."

      20             The answer I got back is, "Yes, every school

      21      is required to upload student data into inBloom.

      22             "You should contact your" -- I'll paraphrase.

      23             You should your child's school district to

      24      inquire about their policies.

      25             Well, gentlemen, Dr. Rogers just said that







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       1      the data is controlled by the State, not by the

       2      districts.

       3             The ambiguity around who is responsible for

       4      our student data is really concerning.

       5             And I think it's important to note, some of

       6      the items, the attributes, that were created.

       7             And before I do that, there's a great comment

       8      from this commentary in our "Journal News."

       9             It says, "Just because we've built the

      10      technology doesn't mean we have to populate it."

      11             Some of the attributes makes my hair curl,

      12      but, I -- curl even more.

      13             "Discipline Information," it's a category.

      14             The data that would be uploaded:

      15             Student Violation:  Victim.  Witness.  If

      16      you're a reporter.

      17             The Academic and Disability information:

      18      Learning-disability type.  Class-tracking grouping.

      19      Career-path type.

      20             Which, FERPA has said is unconstitutional,

      21      and it is not legal to upload this information.

      22             And even more disturbing, even the

      23      long-outdated and stigmatizing references to

      24      "mental retardation."

      25             That is an attribute in the database.







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       1             Parental Home Information:  If there's a

       2      single parent at home.  A military parent.

       3      A pregnant teen mother.  A displaced homemaker.

       4      Parent and personal work e-mails.

       5             Why do we even need to collect this data?

       6             You can talk about encryption, security; you

       7      can talk about all of that, but it's a civil-rights

       8      violation.

       9             It's the -- without parental consent, to have

      10      this data uploaded, and this issue hasn't been

      11      talked about very -- hasn't been talked about, until

      12      recently, because we didn't know what was happening.

      13             So, Race To The Top funds were attributed,

      14      and states were told that if they take the Race To

      15      The Top funds, they also had to be mandated to

      16      create this database.

      17             Why is New York standing alone?

      18             So, it's been a long day for everybody.

      19             And as -- under my name, the topic was

      20      "Special Education."

      21             And Regent Tilles spoke about his daughter,

      22      and it being developmentally-inappropriate.

      23             And there are many, many children who have

      24      special needs, and are classified for special

      25      education, who are sitting for these excessive







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       1      tests.

       2             And no amount of extra modifications is going

       3      to make these tests any more appropriate,

       4      developmentally, in any which way or form.

       5             And I conclude with this:

       6             Last spring, the Assembly passed two bills

       7      unanimously, bipartisan support, to protect

       8      students' data.

       9             One of the bills is to allow you to opt out,

      10      and the other one is for parental consent.

      11             And just recently, as of Friday, I found out

      12      that the Senate, two people on the

      13      Education Committee, Senator Jack Martins and

      14      Senator Joseph Robach, have also introduced same-as

      15      bills.

      16             So what I come here today, is to ask the

      17      Senate to, of course, please move that forward,

      18      those two bills in the Senate, and see to it that

      19      it's passed through the Legislature, and, hopefully,

      20      signed into law.

      21             But the real -- the real ask here is, we

      22      should be removing and pulling out of this contract.

      23             It's not necessary to have this data.

      24             The outcomes -- for students to have better

      25      outcomes with the data is not connected to







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       1      personally identifiable data.

       2             And I ask you, the Senate, to carry this

       3      forward, Senators from the Education Committee.

       4             And, I really appreciate being here today.

       5             And, thank you.

       6                  [Applause.]

       7             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Lisa, I know the hour is

       8      late, and I try very hard not to speak for my

       9      colleagues.  I have enough challenge doing it for

      10      myself.

      11             But, Senator Zeldin chairs the

      12      Consumer Protection Committee, and, identify theft,

      13      and issues in that area of the law, he takes very

      14      seriously.

      15             I must say, following up on some of the

      16      things that Tom Rogers said, this one, to me, is

      17      a -- it's simple in a way, but it's vexing and

      18      frustrating at the same time, because there are a

      19      lot of moving parts.

      20             And I recognize the basic need for

      21      appropriate data that ties into things that enables

      22      you to get State aid, that enables you to get

      23      federal aid.

      24             And I want to ask you a couple of quick

      25      things.







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       1             I'm leaving aside perspective right now, but,

       2      FERPA, as many of the things we talked about today,

       3      NCLB, all that kind of stuff, emanates from the

       4      federal government.

       5             I haven't seen this, so I'm asking you in

       6      earnest, are you aware of any pattern of violations

       7      that exist right now?

       8             Because, when I do think about it, and

       9      Dr. Rogers talked about this, you know, if you

      10      have one central repository, that's perilous, and,

      11      it may be efficient as well.

      12             Because, I look and think, there are real --

      13      no real safeguards or protocols for the school

      14      districts who now may be trying to do the right

      15      thing, but may not, by default, if nothing else.

      16             Are you aware of any egregious violations

      17      that we should be aware of?

      18             Because I haven't seen anything like that.

      19             LISA RUDLEY:  Well, this database doesn't

      20      exist with this personally identifiable data.

      21             So, in terms of talking about student data

      22      today that's personally -- again, personally

      23      identifiable and sensitive data, it does not exist

      24      today.

      25             However, there have been breaches.







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       1             If you just Google "security breaches and

       2      student data," you'll find that there are breaches

       3      in many different facets in higher education,

       4      mainly.

       5             So the issue is -- for me, is, one, why are

       6      we even collecting this sensitive data?

       7             Two is, absolutely, there's been breaches in

       8      security.  I mean, it's been publicly documented.

       9             Living Social, a discount company, there's an

      10      Amazon -- the Amazon cloud that it exists on, was

      11      breached, and all these consumers' information was

      12      available to the public.

      13             I think, in Virginia, there was a mistake in

      14      the database, and all the mailing labels had the

      15      students' social security numbers on it.

      16             It's about the sensitive data.

      17             I understand, and I appreciate, that we need

      18      to share the data with the busing companies.

      19             I understand we need to share the data for

      20      scheduling.

      21             But why does someone need to know if -- what

      22      someone's career path is when they're in third grade

      23      or fourth grade or fifth grade?

      24             Why do they need to know if my child is

      25      diagnosed with autism?  Or has mental retardation?







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       1             Here's a great example, or, you know,

       2      something we can play out.

       3             My son is very close to being declassified

       4      right now.

       5             And, what if, down the road, this

       6      identifiable data, he goes for an opportunity and

       7      they say, Well, you know, Max you had autism, you

       8      know, you were classified for autism, so, you know,

       9      we don't think you can get the job.

      10             And if everything else is in place, because

      11      that piece of data, that he -- he can choose to tell

      12      that company he had autism, or has autism, but it's

      13      his choice.

      14             And it's my choice as a parent to protect my

      15      children's data.

      16             And without my consent, this data should not

      17      be shared, this sensitive data.

      18             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay, let me -- I just

      19      want to refocus for a second.

      20             Since you have a burning interest in this

      21      area, that's one of the main reasons I'm asking.

      22             Now, you talked about Amazon.com.

      23             I'm focusing with a laser-like attention on

      24      schools.

      25             And if you have it, please share it with us.







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       1             Can you share with us any data that

       2      demonstrates there have been problems with the

       3      inappropriate release of data involving schools and

       4      students?

       5             And I'm going to throw in one fact, the fact

       6      as I know it.

       7             State Education Department represents,

       8      frankly, in adamant capacity, that they do not

       9      collect social security numbers of students.

      10             So, in one respect, I have to take that at

      11      face value.

      12             But if you have anecdotal evidence, or you

      13      have statistics, it would be useful for us to know

      14      that.

      15             Because, again, I recognize the need for some

      16      of this, but like many other things in life, it's a

      17      balance.

      18             I have three kids, they're a little older.

      19      You know, I don't want their data shared.

      20             And I don't -- frankly, I don't want my own

      21      data shared.

      22             So, your assistance in that regard would be

      23      very helpful.

      24             And I do appreciate you traveling down, and

      25      I'm sure we will talk again.







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       1             LISA RUDLEY:  Great.

       2             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank you very much.

       3             LISA RUDLEY:  Thank you.

       4             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Okay, quick recap:

       5             You're like the strong and the faithful here.

       6             It's -- we started at twenty after ten.  We

       7      had it scheduled for four hours.  We ran over for

       8      one hour.

       9             I appreciate everybody listening,

      10      I appreciate everyone's attention.

      11             I'll reiterate that, all the testimony was

      12      put online last night.

      13             All the written e-mails that we had received,

      14      and will receive, we will put up for people's

      15      edification.

      16             We made it clear to anyone who submitted,

      17      that they have to have an expectation that we would

      18      put it out there.

      19             We don't have --

      20             Lisa, you'll be happy to know about this.

      21             It's only a name.

      22             So if it's "John Flanagan," all it says is,

      23      "John F."

      24             There's no e-mails, no phone numbers, or

      25      anything like that.







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       1             We will have three more hearings.

       2             And, we are having people asking us to do at

       3      least one more.

       4             So, the timing, again, they're every other

       5      week.  That gives everyone a little breathing room.

       6             And, the goal here, is to provide

       7      information -- to seek input, to get that input, and

       8      to provide information to the Governor's Office, to

       9      the State Education Department, to the Regents, and

      10      certainly to my colleagues.

      11             And, I would be remiss if I didn't -- well,

      12      since you served, I may be taking a liberty here --

      13      I want to thank my wingman for staying with us all

      14      day.

      15                  [Applause.]

      16             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  Thank God he's got those

      17      two school-aged daughters.  That's how we kept him

      18      here for five hours.

      19                  [Laughter.]

      20             SENATOR FLANAGAN:  So, ladies and gentlemen,

      21      thank you again.

      22                  (Whereupon, at approximately 3:13 p.m.,

      23        the public hearing held before the New York State

      24        Senate Standing Committee on Education concluded,

      25        and adjourned.)