"A test score does not encapsulate the whole student. There are so many things that can't be measured by a test score."
"Assessments and APPR are becoming more important than our studentsí social/emotional needs. Teachers know our kids the best in the classroom. Our kids' and teachers' social/emotional needs are not being met. Once their social/emotional needs are consistently being addressed, then their brains can open up to learning!"
"Kids are in need of social-emotional education and support now more than ever. This should be our number one focus as without mentally healthy kids, nothing else matters."
"We need an education system that affirms the lives experiences of black and brown students. The curriculum needs to be culturally responsive."
"The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the problems in our public schools that have existed for years. The excessive, out of touch, poorly written NYS testing program serves no purpose other than a political agenda."
"In my small rural community, the school is a safe place for students. We make sure that some of their basic needs are met. We feed them when they are hungry. We have to meet those basic needs before we can expect them to learn and want to become lifelong learners. That is just one example of how the school is the center of my community."
"Our students can't learn and reach their full potential in a space where they feel that they are not heard or valued. Racial justice is an educational must."
"We have been forced to work without access to best practices for the last 3 school years. Gaps are significant."
"Moving away from high-stakes testing allows teachers and schools to focus on best instructional practices and social-emotional needs. The tests are biased, and disproportionately harm students of minority groups such as race and socioeconomic status. By de-emphasizing testing, we can address the other top priorities more readily."
"Students and families need food, clothing, internet, help with rent and other basic factors for living. Schools provide some of these resources and connect families to others."
"We've had asynchronous learning for a year and a half in the district in which I teach. This does not work for students. Just because we have the technology to offer instruction a particular way does not mean that it is the best way for that instruction to happen. We all know that the relationship between the teacher and the student and among the students in the classroom is very important to the learning process."
"Mental and physical health comes first. Without them, children can't learn."
"Racial justice and equity of opportunity are essential if schools are to fulfill their mission to help build a more perfect union."
"I have been teaching for 30 years. In those years, I have seen how mental health affects our children. We need more therapists in our schools to help our children learn how to deal with their mental health issues in a healthy, nondestructive way. Having therapists in our schools will help all of our children regardless of the condition causing the mental health issue."
"If teachers use best practices and integrate technology where appropriate, students' academic, social, emotional and physical needs should be met in an environment that promotes appreciation for diversity and appropriately designed assessments driven by those who know the students best - their teachers."
"High-stakes testing causes damage to students, teachers and the educational system. It is not a reasonable method for improving schools. Teaching to the test results in the narrowing of curriculum and instruction happens most to low-income and minority students. Poor kids in under-funded schools get little more than test coaching that does not adequately prepare them for further learning. Excellent teachers also leave the profession as they feel discouraged by the overemphasis on testing."
"Social-emotional well-being needs to be the TOP priority of both students and staff! Without it, academics mean nothing. Get rid of high-stakes testing and find a way to allow older teachers to retire earlier due to mental health issues and burnout, and develop and foster ways to entice new teachers into this profession. Teachers are beaten up and my own mental health has been a fight the better part of my adult life and with not many years to go until retirement it has never been worse, and retirement seems like an eternity away. Please focus on these areas."
"NY schools are among the most segregated by race and socioeconomic status of any in the nation. We have the means to begin to make schools more equitable in offering resources and learning opportunities to all students. We now need to develop the will to do so."
"The pandemic has forced us into distance education modalities that may not be the best for teaching, for learning, or for our profession as a whole. With numerous research sources indicating that academic dishonesty and cheating rates have increased significantly over the decades, both in K-12 and higher ed, it is of grave concern to educators that students report higher rates of (and more lax attitudes about) cheating in online and remote classes. "
"More than ever, our communities need stable, staff, and dynamic spaces to gather, learn, and grow. Our public schools represent the promise of tomorrow and are natural gathering spaces for our community to invest in our students through life skills and support."