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Monday, October 20, 2014
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Capitol News 09/03/2014 Standing for student-centered education By Assemblyman Marc Butler

Sunday, August 31, 2014 - Updated: 7:07 PM

I always enjoy this time of the year when my wife and I send our grandkids to school. It is a time of promise and hope for our children who are being prepared to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Our state has a great responsibility to provide the best education possible to New York’s children and it is something I take very seriously. Providing a quality education to our students has become difficult recently for our educators, school administrators and parents due to funding cuts as well as other challenges forced on them by the state. Yet they have persevered through all the challenges.

Now, our already-stressed education system is facing another challenge that will add more pressure on our schools: the poorly devised and implemented Common Core standards and curriculum. This set of standards has taken education out of the hands of our knowledgeable teachers and centered it on stressful testing.

At the hands of faceless bureaucrats, our children’s education has been industrialized and the lessons that are essential to living productive and connected lives as part of a community have been pushed out of our classrooms. Under Common Core, testing trumps life-skills and working with students’ individualized talents.

I cannot bear the thought of our grandchildren or your children or grandchildren having to face an education like this. It is apparent to me that something must be done, and because the Legislature failed to act earlier this year they must be called back to pass reforms to our education system now.

Last fall, I hosted a task force on Common Core and your testimony, along with testimony from other forums held across the state, was compiled to create a solution to Common Core and other education challenges New York is facing. Our solution, the Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan, aims to halt Common Core testing, have teacher-driven curriculum, and fully fund our schools.

We fought hard all session to build consensus on this plan and the need to reform Common Core. Despite our successes, a comprehensive reform was neglected by leaders in Albany. We cannot wait another year.

It is important that we stand together for the children of our state. Please visit www.childrenbeforepolitics.org for more information on the APPLE Plan and to sign the petition calling for Albany to take action now. Share your comments with me by calling my Herkimer office at (315) 866-1632, my Johnstown office at (518) 762-6486 or by emailing me at butlerm@assembly.state.ny.us.

     

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