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East Hampton Schools Not Sold On Gov's Ideas

East Hampton and Wainscott school district superintendents weigh in after Gov. Cuomo's State of the State address.

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo may want extend the school day or year, in the school district superintendent said he would rather find more ways to train teachers within the current framework of the school year.

In his State of the State address, the governor proposed some education reforms, including extending the school day and year, as well as creating a "bar exam" for teachers.

Cuomo proposed a new competitive grant program for schools that develop initiatives to improve student achievement that include extending learning time by at least 25 percent and a high quality plan to achieve better outcomes for students.

The governor also proposed increasing admission standards for entry into educator preparation programs as a way to ensure that the best teachers are in New York classrooms. Teachers would have to pass an exam, similar to "the bar exam" that attorneys take in order to receive certification.

Districts around the state make take some convincing.

When asked to comment, Rich Burns, the superintendent of East Hampton School District, said he would like to focus more on training for administrators and teachers to insure quality instruction within the current school day and year. "This endeavor could use support and funding from the State," he said.

Burns said there are already many improvements taking place in public education, such as the new teacher evaluation program and its expected link between teacher effectiveness to the performance of students, as well as the shift to the common core curriculum, insuring all students are college and career ready.

"All of these changes will provide better instruction for our students. I don’t believe it is the time to divert possible revenue sources to a lengthened school year/day. Let’s work with the present initiatives," he said.

Stuart Rachlin, the superintendent of the Wainscott School District, said outcomes from his school are already quite good. "An extended program would likely reflect more enrichment than 'academics,'" he said.

When it comes to the governor's proposal for teachers, Rachlin said he thinks that creating a bar exam would actually have the opposite effect. "As it is, increasing demands and negative opinions of teaching/teachers cause fewer 'best and brightest' to go into teaching; I'm not certain that creating a bar exam would create a better pool of potential teachers but, on the contrast, dissuade even more possible candidates to seek other employment pathways," he said.

Burns had this to say: "The highest quality of teachers only can mean better instruction in the classroom. Teacher education programs should insure bright, dedicated and compassionate individuals enter the field."

What do you think of the proposals?

Dominick Grieco January 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM
A good test taker does not make a good teacher. Knowledge of subject area, classroom management and dedication do. All of these can and should be evaluated bregularly by administrators. Does a high score on the Bar Exam make a good lawyer?

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