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School is back in session ... why aren’t Albany legislators?

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With school just around the corner, this is a time of excitement for kids, teachers and parents. There is so much to consider when it comes to the education of New York’s youth, and being able to impact our education system is a great responsibility.

Now, more than ever, we need to press for reforms to our education system, including how we fund our schools and reform the Common Core curriculum. I believe action must be taken now to improve our broken system — the Legislature must be called back into session to pass these reforms. Otherwise, we are guaranteeing another year of children and teachers breaking down under the stress of the many, many tests brought forth by Common Core.

This spring, my Republican colleagues and I offered an amendment that would halt Common Core testing, but Assembly Majority leadership ensured it would not pass. Although some did cross the aisle to vote with us, I was baffled that so many refused to listen to the will of New York’s parents and teachers, and blatantly ignored the needs of our children.

No one is denying the need for high education standards. Common Core, however, with its incredibly flawed implementation, is not the solution our students need. Last fall, I hosted one of the 11 education tasks forces held by the Republican Conference and heard testimony from educators and parents who stated that Common Core was not working for their children and students. We took the thousands of pieces of testimony and used it to craft our solution to reforming education.

With the people’s input, we created the Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Launching Excellence Plan. The APPLE Plan would repeal Common Core testing, bring our educational system back to a teacher — and student — centered curriculum and fairly fund our public schools. These are the reforms we fought for all year — and the ones Albany’s leaders ignored.

School is about to begin again, and we cannot leave our students and teachers by the wayside. Albany’s legislators must be called into a special session now to focus on providing the reforms our education system desperately needs. I encourage each of you to stand with me in calling for educational reforms. You can learn more about our APPLE Plan and sign the petition by visiting www.childrenbeforepolitics.com.

As always, I welcome your input on education or any other state issue. Share them with me by calling 493-3909 or by emailing blankenbushk@assembly.state.ny.us.

State Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, represents the 117th District for the New York State Assembly. He can be reached at blankenbushk@assembly.state.ny.us or call his office at 493-3909.

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