State lawmakers at local school board meeting

Posted at: 12/04/2013 11:34 PM
Updated at: 12/05/2013 8:56 AM
By: Dan Levy

BETHLEHEM - It's not every day when two state senators and one assembly member show up for a local school board meeting. But that's exactly what happened on Wednesday night as the frustration continues to grow regarding the state's Common Core implementation.

According to Albany Assembly woman Pat Fahy, what's happening with the state of New York State's education is a perfect storm of frustration.

"I was hearing with almost unanimity the number of concerns," Fahy says, "And when you start hearing from educators, parents and even students, then you have to start to pay attention."

That's why Fahy accepted an invitation to address the Bethlehem School Board on Wednesday night. Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk (D - Duanesburg) says she's hearing similar complaints from her constituents.

"They're angry, frankly," Tkaczyk, who like Fahy is a former school board member, says, "They're angry because some of the implementation of the Common Core has not gone well. So they're angry that what they're seeing doesn't quite make sense to them."

Tkaczyk, Fahy, and Senator Neil Breslin (D - Bethlehem) tried to help things make sense to the Bethlehem school board members and parents, answering questions about the Common Core, gap elimination, school testing, and state education funding.

"Now we have what's called gap elimination, teacher evaluation, principal evaluations and we have all of the school districts getting together to come at us as a team," says Breslin.

Breslin believes that wehn people stick together, when they write letters and make phone calls, it keeps education on the front burner.

Bethlehem Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Douglas points out funding education isn't just about money.

"Education is a major economic indicator for all states," he says, "especially New York State, and over the last four years, we've lost 35,000 positions and if this was major corporations, our government would be trying to help out."