He might remind the State Education Department that by suspending Syracuse’s $11.5 million School Improvement Grant funding on some rather weak grounds, it effectively impedes one of the goals of the students’ lobbyist, and that SED reconsider, and restore, the funding.
He might emphasize that not all students are needy in the sense of being deprived of education. Many are deserving of the opportunity for accelerated and college level courses — lobbying for funds and commitment to improve that end of the curriculum might be a good plan.
He might ask that the SED enhance the status and funding of career and technical education programs — learning a skill is not mutually exclusive of learning. Academic success within a skill building context is no less academic success.
He might promote some rethinking of the testing madness that has become synonymous with SED. Possibly he could propose that tests begin to assess success compared to expectations relevant to those being tested rather than on a common, unrealistic, statewide norm.
He might support exploring the means to enable schools to establish and maintain functional online technology. Enabling 21st century computer literacy goes hand in hand with the concept of achieving 21st century literacy itself.
Oh — one more thing. The governor should understand that those groups he mentioned who have lobbyists are something more than their lobbyists — they, along with the students’ parents, are the students’ primary supporters, advocates, caretakers and educators. The governor — and the “students’ lobbyist” — might be better off working with them instead of insulting them.
Herm Card is a former teacher with more than 32 years of classroom experience and 20 years as a professional development consultant. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.