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Dear Editor,

Submitted on Thursday, August 27, 2015
As students, parents and grandparents shop for back to school supplies and teachers prepare their classrooms, my concern about the course of our state's public education system continues.
Because of this year's state budget, there will be greater emphasis on flawed evaluations of our hardworking teachers, which will further pass the stress of standardized testing on to our kids.  And, while our local public schools suffer, our state legislature just handed out $250 million dollars to non-public schools, many of which are in New York City.  These new policies are unacceptable when our Hudson Valley homeowners and business owners are getting hit with unbearable property taxes just to keep our public schools afloat.
However, a sense of renewed energy is building with the start of this school year, and we must keep fighting to improve our public schools for every child in every zip code. This starts with holding our state officials accountable for the mismanaged common core, and insisting that they make our local public schools their top priority. We must fight against those that give our hard-earned tax dollars to New York City Charter Schools, while accepting millions in campaign contributions from those schools' Wall Street backers.
Most importantly, we must keep the pressure on the state legislature to change course by implementing new funding strategies that will support a world-class education system that is fair to all stakeholders: one that allows teachers to teach and students to learn in an environment that focuses on individualization over standardization.
Terry Gipson
Rhinebeck, NY
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