Senator James Seward Stands up for His Constituents

For most readers of this blog, our senator of the 51st district is Senator James L. Seward. Senator Seward recently expressed the dissatisfaction that many of us feel at Commissioner King’s decision to cancel the town hall events.

Senator Seward’s statement deserves our appreciation.

Commissioner King should immediately reverse his decision and reschedule public meetings across the state to gather comment and solicit opinion on the state’s roll out of the Common Core standards.

The commissioner’s cancellation of the planned events, citing the influence of ‘special interests,’ is an insult to parents, teachers, students and administrators who are working through the sea change in modern curricula, and testing. They wish to offer honest insights into the effects of Common Core and assessments on students and local districts – the commissioner should want to hear from them.

Every year, state legislators meet with constituents across our districts to hear the views of those who elected us. Commissioner King should meet with his constituency as well – the taxpayers of the state who have valid concerns about our educational preparation and testing trajectory and who foot the bill for our salaries and for the cost of educating our students.

On October 1, 2013, Senator Seward took part in a New York State Senate Education Committee hearing, “The Regents Reform Agenda: Assessing our Progress.” During the hearing, Senator Seward had the opportunity to question Commissioner King. During the interview, Senator Seward was a strong advocate of his constituents and asked Commissioner King some good questions.

It is a good sign that Senator Seward is becoming more aware of the issues that parents and teachers have been raising over the past year. I would encourage each one of us to send Senator Seward a message of thanks and to encourage him to continue his efforts to stand up for his constituents and demand clarity and community from the dept. of education.

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About Betsy Bloom

Betsy is an Associate Professor of Education at Hartwick College in Oneonta NY. She is also a parent of two, a nine year veteran middle school social studies teacher and the current president of the NYS Foundations of Education Association, an organization dedicated to achieving social justice through public education.
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