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Teachers Discuss New Education Guidelines At BOCES' Regional Forum

Educators gather to discuss federal education guidelines at BOCES in Yorktown.
Educators gather to discuss federal education guidelines at BOCES in Yorktown. Photo Credit: Contributed

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Teachers in Westchester and Putnam counties met recently at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES to work on developing a plan to implement the federal government's Every Student Succeeds Act.

The federal law passed in March 2016 calls for education reform.

It replaces the No Child Left Behind measure signed by President George W. Bush in 2002.

Each state must develop a plan to implement the law.

Already, the state Education Department has come up with ideas, looking at such topics as accountability measurements, supporting English language learners, supporting excellent educators and creating challenging academic standards.

But before writing up a plan, feedback is needed from parents, students and educators around the state.

The forum in Yorktown was one of many throughout the state where educators were invited to comment on the plan, said a release.

Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Superintendent James Ryan greeted participants and gave an overview of some of the "high concept ideas" being developed.

New York State Regent Judith Johnson attended the session and urged participants to speak their minds.

Unlike No Child Left Behind, the new law allows states to come up with means of measuring school success.

Participants at the forum praised the idea of giving schools partial credit for improvement when students show progress even if they have not yet reached proficiency.

They also praised the idea of using high school graduation rates for four, five and six years, rather than the existing four-year rate because some students take longer but eventually earn a high school diploma.

And they supported taking a high school student’s highest Regents exam score as a measure of success because it promotes perseverance.

However, participants said they continued to be concerned about measuring school success solely on the basis of standardized test scores.

Frances Wills, the superintendent of Putnam Valley schools said the state needs to recognize other ways to measure student success, like portfolios of work, projects or presentations, according to the release.

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