BY JOE MARVILLI
John Liu revealed his community education reform plan last week, touching on some major policies he would revise if elected.
Liu, a candidate for State Senate District 11, announced the plan outside of Bayside High School on Aug. 1. He said the reforms came out of concerns from parents and teachers in the area, who are looking for changes at the State level.
“Education is a key issue and a fundamental responsibility of State government,” he said. “Education is something we all think about on a daily basis. Education is the foundation of our society in the first place.”
For the Common Core, Liu advocated common-sense changes that would take the importance off of high-stakes standardized testing. It would also require the disclosure of test questions and answers so parents, educators and teachers can review the exams. It would establish an appeals process for parents who believe their child received an inaccurate score. The Commissioner of the State Education Dept. would have to issue an annual report on the testing system and its fairness as well.
“A common-sense, Common Core reform will seek transparency and accountability in the system but also seek to reduce this outsized emphasis on these high-stakes exams,” Liu said.
The former Comptroller said that smaller class sizes were essential for a positive learning environment and that the classroom trailers have gotten out-of-hand in Queens. Liu’s plan would prioritize capital planning based on population analysis for schools, establish a three-year sunset for the use of school trailers and reform school planning through data-driven methods.
“We know in Queens, we have some of the most severe overcrowding in the entire City, where we still have so many thousands of students going to classrooms in trailers that were supposed to be temporary in the first place,” Liu said. “My plan calls for the Dept. of Education to work with other City and State agencies to project out the demographics, to understand where the communities are growing fastest and where the needs for classroom space are going to grow the quickest in the coming years.”
Finally, Liu called for the revision of mayoral control, making input from parents, students and teachers count for more. Liu said he wants to restructure significantly the Panel for Education Policy by adding three appointments that would create greater community input. Those three representatives would be a retired educator, a parent from the Community Education Councils and someone from the CUNY system.
“This Panel for Educational Policy has left parents and the community out of the equation. We need to bring them back in so they can have meaningful input,” Liu said.
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) joined Liu for his announcement, along with several parents and educators concerned about the state of education in District 11.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.