November 3, 2013

Forum on public education scheduled

PLATTSBURGH — Margarita Garcia-Notario hopes to inform local parents about the effects state mandates are having on their children’s education.  

For that reason, the mother of two Plattsburgh City School District students and adjunct lecturer at SUNY Plattsburgh has helped to coordinate a forum titled “Our Children Are More Than a Score: The Future of Public Education in the North Country.”

Presented by the North Country Alliance for Public Education and hosted at SUNY Plattsburgh, the public event is scheduled to take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in Room 200 of Yokum Hall. 

State Assemblywoman Janet Duprey will deliver the forum’s keynote speech, and a panel will discuss a number of current education issues.

That panel will comprise AuSable Valley Central School parent Michelle Doorey; Garcia-Notario; Chazy Central Rural School teacher Kathryn Brown; AuSable Valley Elementary School teacher Tim Butler; Chris Vanhouten, a school psychologist; former Chazy Central Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, who is now the president of the Northeastern Zone of the New York State Retired Teachers Association; and ninth-grader Sophia Stevens. 


Topics will include the state-mandated Common Core Standards, high-stakes testing, Race to the Top and education funding, to name a few. 

“Our main goal is to inform parents who know very little about this situation,” said Garcia-Notario, who also serves as the president of Stafford Middle School’s Family School Organization and co-president of Plattsburgh High School’s Community School Organization. 

Like many public-school constituents across the state, she has grown increasingly concerned with the amount of time students are spending taking state exams and teachers are spending trying to prepare kids for the tests. 

“We do not agree with this outrageous amount of standardized testing,” Garcia-Notario said.

In addition to monopolizing time in the classroom, she noted, it causes both educators and children undue stress.

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