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School superintendents call for mandate relief

At least one says take a thoughtful approach or students will suffer

Northeastern Clinton Central School Superintendent Peter Turner says mandate relief is needed in New York state.

Northeastern Clinton Central School Superintendent Peter Turner says mandate relief is needed in New York state. Photo provided

— “With the new state standards, all of our textbooks have to be aligned with the standards,” Marlow said. “Textbooks cost money.”

There is also talk of conducting computerized assessments, which would require schools to have more computers available.

All of this costs money, Marlow pointed out, and school districts are currently facing significant budget gaps. They are trying to maintain their existing programs.

“We need mandate relief,” Marlow said. “We need either the state putting money behind all of these initiatives or we need the state to not have such a tight timeline in which to unroll all of the requirements.

“It is getting to be very disheartening to see all of these new requirements come from the state level, and we just don’t know where the money to do these things is coming from.”

Peru Central School Interim Superintendent A. Paul Scott viewed mandate relief from another perspective.

“I think that during the years ahead, mandate relief, depending on your perspective, will be something that will either be helpful or may erode public schools.”

For example, New York state does not mandate kindergarten, and therefore school districts could save money and do away with it. Fortunately, Scott said, many communities understand the importance of kindergarten and provide it.

In addition, many students do not like to take Regents exams, yet they provide a certain level of quality assurance.

“If a state does not mandate Regents exams, that could set conditions that perhaps public education won’t be as well thought out as it might have been otherwise,” Scott said. “It all depends on the particular mandate as to whether or not it is thoughtful or helpful to have.

“It is absolutely the case that New York state has one of the most highly regulated and mandated education programs in the nation.”

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