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As the mother of four children, I completely understand the message that parents are trying to send to the state. Unfortunately, our young children are in the middle of this political debate.

The true essence of educating our students and assessing their learning and growth has become lost in this nationwide conflict. Assessing student growth and learning has been a part of teaching and learning ever since the beginning of American education. As of late, the outcomes of student assessment have been tied to teacher evaluation, district funding and a lack of understanding of Common Core Learning Standards. With the focus on these areas, social media and the news media have distorted the true purpose and value of these examinations. Emotional discussions on these topics have led to a significant distraction that is felt throughout the educational community.

As parents seek to understand the impact of assessment on their children, it is important to understand the impact on the educational community--including our local schools--in totality.

First, we will not have a complete understanding of the effectiveness of our instructional practices when 25% of our students refuse or don’t participate. In addition, planning instruction to meet the instructional needs of individual students in order to maximize their growth is more difficult. Finally, we expect to experience negative consequences from NY State and the federal government at the classroom, school and district levels. Resources will be diverted to manage these unfortunate consequences.

The focus of the Homer Central Schools has been educating every child and will continue to be so. Over the years, the district’s structure for assessment has remained consistent by providing an opportunity for all children to participate and demonstrate their learning and growth.

One Homer parent said to me, "Please understand young children are listening to every word and cannot possibly comprehend this complex issue as it is politically debated by adults." This parent is correct.

Please work with us to maintain our positive environment here in Homer for all our children by keeping our children out of the political arena.

Nancy S. Ruscio
Superintendent of Schools
Homer CSD

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Homer Central School District
Ms. Nancy Ruscio, Superintendent

80 South West Road
Homer, NY 13077
607-749-7241

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