New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday delivered his "State of the State" address, issuing a call for more learning time for students and a "bar exam" for teachers, among other ideas.
When asked for a response to Cuomo's statements, Three Village superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said in an interview Friday that "more is not necessarily better."
She said while some students could likely benefit from a longer school day or school year, it's a complicated issue to address.
"Given the tax cap and the budgetary restraints, I’m not even sure how it would come to fruition at this time," she said.
As part of that call, Cuomo announced competitive grants for districts that do extend learning time by at least 25 percent as well as creating and maintaining a plan to achieve better outcomes for students.
However, Pedisich cautioned against the reliance on such grants, saying they are not always sustainable in nature.
"If you get a grant for two years or three years and everything’s great, how do you continue to manage the program without the fiscal support?" she said. "Then there are deficits that come as a result of that. ... If the state education department wants to see it happen, they have to look at how they’re going to support districts are across the state by giving us some mandate relief so we can do some creative things."
Union negotiations would also have to be brought into the discussion, Pedisich said, because school days are defined specifically within teacher contracts.
Via the Three Village Patch Facebook page, some parents responded with mixed reactions to the governor's comments:
"The school day is long enough!" Samantha Reed said. "Kids burn out! Lengthen the school day and watch the drop out rate increase."
Kenneth Tinsley Sr. took a "why not" approach. "Teacher[s] send home for homework fifty percent of what should have taught in the classroom," he said.
The governor also called for more testing of teachers and proposed a system of "master teachers" who would receive a stipend for mentoring other teachers. But Pedisich said more information on that topic is needed before opinions can be formed.
"I’m not going to say I’m opposed, I just think there’s not enough information," she said. "If these exams were going to be developed, they need to be developed within the field of education and not developed by multimillion dollar companies like Pearson and others. It needs to have real kinds of pedagogical and educational focus."
Loriele Jablonski said via Facebook that teachers are already tested enough. "The State of NY requires their teachers to pass three exams before being certified, among many other requirements such as student teaching, observation hours, etc.," she said. "The NY licensure exams are notably the most difficult in the US to pass – I'm curious what more they can expect of us."