Op Ed- "Hit The Reset Button" On Education Reform Efforts
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 9:10PM


Gary D. Bixhorn and Susan A. Schnebel

After years of legislative gridlock in Washington, President Obama has signed the “Every Child Succeeds Act” into law and called it a “Christmas miracle”. The bill had strong bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Educators across the country have eagerly awaited the passage of this bill, which replaces the 15-year-old Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind Act” and the subsequent Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” program.  In combination, these two initiatives significantly expanded the federal government’s role in educational matters traditionally subject to state and local control. It’s been New York State’s implementation of these overreaching federal initiatives that’s generated so much dissent within the educational community and ultimately resulted in a public revolt in the form of the opt-out movement. 

It appears, based on the new federal legislation which scales back federal involvement and restores state and local control, that our leaders have learned an important lesson- a parent will not let their child’s education become an academic research project or a campaign platform. Parents expect schools to provide a safe, secure environment where teaching and leaning is fostered and protected.  Given the new federal direction, it’s now time for the state to work with local school districts to give parents what they expect and students what they deserve; schools meeting high standards, with outstanding teachers and rich program offerings.

Clearly, now is the time to “hit the reset button” on reform efforts. Many of the more controversial provisions of the State’s effort to reform education were put in place to align with federal requirements that are now changing.  Accordingly, key members of the state legislature are beginning to voice support for a moratorium on new State legislative requirements involving testing and teacher evaluation in accordance with recommendations of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and others.  In addition, both the Governor and the State Education Commissioner have established advisory councils to help sort out the tangled web of issues that has been created.

Mr. Gary Bixhorn is the executive director of Suffolk County School Superintendents Association(SCSSA), Mrs. Susan A. Schnebel is president-elect of the SCSSA


Article originally appeared on Smithtown Matters - Online Local News about Smithtown, Kings Park, St James, Nesconset, Commack, Hauppauge, Ft. Salonga (http://www.smithtownmatters.com/).
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