Favorable reaction from Buffalo for new Regents leader
There is some very positive reaction in Buffalo on the selection of Betty Rosa as the new State Regents Chancellor. Rosa, a Bronx educator, was selected Monday to replace out-going Chancellor Merryl Tisch. WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter says Buffalo’s Hispanic organization and the city teachers union are very pleased.
“I’m sure this is a great moment for education,” said Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore. He is reacting favorably to Rosa's appointment. “Finally we’re going to be paying attention to what students need and what teachers need to improve their education.”
The teachers union, parents and educators are hoping Rosa will be able to move forward on changes to standardized testing.
At a news briefing, Rosa was not afraid to speak her mind on a parent's right to have their child opt out of state testing. Rosa says she supports a parent’s right to have their child opt out of standardized tests. Rosa noted the state law allows opting out.
“If I was a parent and I was not on the Board of Regents, I would opt out at this time,” Rosa told reporters in a news conference after the vote, yes," stated Rosa during a Monday news briefing.
“What we are doing is, we are hoping that the parents, who opted their children out of these tests will not have their own children opt out, but talk their friends and neighbors to opt out because this isn’t over yet,” stated Rumore
The Opt Out movement has been in response to parents and students saying there is too much testing.
Dr. Tamara Alsace is secretary of the Hispanic Heritage Council. She also serves as President of the New York State Association for Bilingual Education. Alsace is very pleased with Rosa’s appointment.
“Really understand the needs and the fact that you can’t necessarily apply a business or medical model to education because we are dealing with human beings and their circumstances are all so different and I think that’s one of the things that really stands out about her,” explained Alsace.
Alsace points to Rosa's time in the classroom. Rosa was a bilingual teacher. She is also a former principal and served as a superintendent in the Bronx. Alsace tells WBFO Rosa will work as an advocate for what makes sense for students and families.
“In a realistic view and the purpose of testing. Really testing should be used as an assessment to monitor student progress and plan instruction. People are trying to use it for too many different purposes and not for what it is intended,” replied Rosa.
Some of the Buffalo Public school population struggles with language barriers and live in poverty, Rosa should be able to give students the support they need to reach state standards.
“I really think she doesn’t believe in lowering standards for students, but giving them the support they need to succeed and to meet those standards. You can’t just raise the standards and not give the support,” Alsace responded.