Assemblyman Santabarbara Pushes Common-Sense Reforms for Local Schools

Assembly passes legislation ensuring schools receive state aid and age-appropriate tests for students

The Assembly has approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) that ensures state education funding will not be delayed, children receive age-appropriate tests and our public schools have more time to implement teacher evaluation plans that make sense (A.7303-A).

“Our children must always be the top priority when it comes to crafting policies that affect our schools. The legislation I’ve been fighting for includes much-needed reforms that guarantee our schools receive the funding they deserve and that students are not overburdened by unfair and inaccurate testing,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “I have remained committed to working with our hardworking teachers and parents to strengthen our public schools and the passage of this legislation is evidence that our partnership is working.”

“As an educator and a parent, I strongly support the education reforms approved by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and the Assembly. This legislation puts the focus back on learning in our public schools and ensures our children take tests that make sense and our public schools receive the state aid they need,” said Amy Glick, a Schalmont teacher and mother of four children.

“This legislation is a step in the right direction for the success of our public schools and our students. Hopefully, this piece of legislation will give schools adequate time to review the new teacher evaluation requirements, guarantee that state education aid increases won’t be delayed and ensure that students are taking age-appropriate tests,” said Amsterdam teacher and Amsterdam Teachers Association Co-President Rich Peters. “I appreciate Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara’s support for this legislation and his ongoing efforts to help our public schools.”

The education reforms in the legislation include:

  • The creation of a content review committee to ensure students take age appropriate tests;
  • an additional year for school districts to draft and implement teacher evaluation systems;
  • a guarantee that public schools receive the state aid increases approved in the state budget regardless of the implementation of new teacher evaluations;
  • an $8.4 million investment in standardized tests that make sense;
  • a requirement for the state Education Department to release test questions and answers from standardized tests to ensure educators and parents can provide appropriate feedback; and
  • a review of Common Core education standards by the education commissioner, who would then recommend changes.

Assemblyman Santabarbara also sponsored an Assembly resolution urging the U.S. Department of Education to not withhold critical funding for our public schools as punishment for the increased number of students who chose not to participate in the recent state standardized tests. This resolution, which was approved on Wednesday, supports the right of parents to have a voice in their children’s education.

As part of his commitment to strengthening our public schools, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara launched a website earlier this year to collect local input on key education issues. He encourages them to use this website to weigh-in on this legislation and other critical education issues.