Call to Action Letter Writing CampaignBriarcliff Manor Residents’ Call to Action for Albany

Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District is a leader among school districts in Westchester and the State of New York.  Briarcliff thrives because we have strong parental and community involvement, which supports our mission of creating a vibrant and caring learning community.  Maintaining the quality of our public schools is essential to the current student population, as well as being essential to ensuring that our long-term property values remain intact.

The Briarcliff PTA has joined the New York Suburban Consortium for Public Education (formerly the Lower Westchester Education Consortium), a group of PTAs, dedicated parents and school district administrators from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland Counties and counties in the Hudson Valley and Long Island. We have been meeting to discuss and craft letters for a letter writing campaign on several important issues including unfunded mandates, Common Core Standards and more recently, transparency.

We continue to be concerned with the quantity of state tests in public schools and the lack transparency and supporting qualitative data from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and NYS Board of Regents. Despite the reporting of flaws in the Common Core-based English and Math exams, NYSED refuses to release the new tests for public review and has not allowed our teachers and administrators to discuss the issues surrounding these exams. Not only are parents and educators denied access to information that can help them in determining which answers children struggled with and how to help them moving forward, but flaws in the tests and scoring are not subject to public scrutiny and correction.

This lack of visibility into the new state exams is a new development. Up until a couple of years ago, complete exams were routinely made public with full tests and scoring keys published on the Regents/NYSED website. It is also important to note that under the current Regents Chancellor and NYSED leadership, a new testing contract was signed in 2011 with a new vendor, Pearson. This nearly doubled annual spending on state tests from $3.25 million to $6.4 million. To the astonishment of parents and educators across the state, NYSED and the Regents insist that additional funding of $8.4 million dollars is now needed to release the exams in their entirety as they had in the past.

Beneath it all remains serious questions regarding the validity of these tests, not just in their accuracy and legitimacy for measuring student growth, but in measuring teacher performance as well.

Once again NYSED and the Regents are failing to respond to parents and educators who require appropriate evidence for making substantial changes in direction for public education in New York. When Commissioner King and Chancellor Tisch failed to address serious concerns of parents and educators regarding student data privacy and inBloom, legislators were forced to step in and pass laws stopping NYSED’s plans for data sharing. It is unfortunate that we seem to be heading down that same road again.

What do you need to do?  Read the letters and learn about the issues. 

Learn about the issues that threaten to compromise our children’s education and then make your voices heard. Please join us in asking your state legislators to do what they promised in terms of mandate relief and slowing down the rollout of the CCSS and protecting our children’s privacy. There is also a new letter regarding our concerns on transparency and access to information regarding the Common Core exams.

We encourage you to review the letters and – if you agree – send one, several or all of the letters to our state leaders .   You can also copy the letters at the bottom of the page and make changes that reflect your opinion and situation.  It is critical that our representatives hear your voice!  The legislators need to know that parents do not want their children to lose valuable programs because of their inaction.  Please tell our legislators to ACT NOW!  A high-quality education and sustainable future for our children’s schools are at stake…

You may copy and paste the content of these letters into your own email and use the appropriate government emails that are provided.

Here are the links to the letters:

  1. GAP Elimination Allowance
  2. APPR Evaluation System
  3. Oppose Field Test (NY State Assessments)

Email addresses are as follows:

Town of Mt Pleasant: NYS Senator – 40th District Greg Ball

Town of Ossining: NYS Senator – 38th District David Carlucci

Town of Mt. Pleasant:  NYS Assemblyperson – 92nd District Thomas Abinanti

Town of Ossining:  NYS Assemblyperson – 95th District Sandy Galef

New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King

New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch

New York State Govenor Andrew Cuomo

Thank you for your participation in this important campaign!

Please contact Stacy Anisman with any questions: