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Speakers set for NYC’s Senate hearing on school issues

Senator John Flanagan’s office released a final roster of speakers who will testify tomorrow at a New York State Senate hearing in New York City.

New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch will be on the hot seat to start off the hearing, the fourth event that Flanagan convened this fall to probe the merits of sweeping policies ushered by Tisch and the State Education Department in recent years. Tisch will be joined by SED Legislative Director Nicolas Storelli-Castro.

The next two spots go to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and city schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, respectively.

In all, 27 speakers are scheduled to testify. They include parents, advocates, researchers and teachers. The hearing is expected to cover a variety of issues facing schools, from state testing policies, to teacher evaluations, to privacy issues around student data. It will also include John Owens, a publishing executive who taught in a Bronx high schools for a year and wrote a book, Confessions of a Bad Teacher, about the experience.

Tomorrow’s hearing will take place tomorrow in the Senate Hearing Room at 250 Broadway in downtown Manhattan.

Two rival advocacy groups are planning simultaneous rallies before the hearing gets started at 10:00 a.m. The first is being organized by New York City-based parent groups Class Size Matters and Change the Stakes, which have been critical of the state’s reforms. Starting at around the same time — and not too far away — will be advocates and parents from StudentsFirstNY, which lobbied for tougher state teacher evaluations, and Families for Excellent Schools, which organized a pro-charter school march across the Brooklyn Bridge earlier this month.

Here is the list of those expected to testify tomorrow, according to Sen. Flanagan’s office:

New York State Education Department/New York State Board of Regents
Chancellor Merryl Tisch, New York State Board of Regents
Nicholas – Storelli-Castro, Governmental Affairs, NYSED

United Federation of Teachers
Michael Mulgrew, President

NYC Board of Education
Chancellor Dennis Walcott

Parents
Lisa Shaw
Nancy Cauthen
Karen Sprowal
Jan Johnson

Specialists
Deborah Rayow, Vice-President, Core Curriculum and Credit Recovery,
Edgenuity
Ms. Nathalie Elivert, StudentsFirstNY
Ms. Tenicka Boyd, StudentsFirstNY

Advocacy
Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters
Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director, Alliance for Quality Education

Testing
Dr. Monty Neill, Ed.D., Executive Director, FairTest
Marco Battistella, Member of the Steering Committee of Time Out From
Testing

NYC Charter Schools
James Merriman, CEO of the NYC Charter School Center

Student Privacy
Sheila Kaplan

Council of School Administrators
Ernest Logan, President
Mark Cannizzaro, Executive Vice-President

NY Alliance for Public Education/Save Our Schools
Tracy Pyper, Co-Chair, NY Alliance for Public Education
Rosalie Friend, NYS Information Coordinator, Save Our Schools

Teachers/Principals
John Owens, Teacher and Author
Fred Smith, Retired Member of NYC Department of Education, Testing
Department
Nicholas Lawrence, 8th Grade Teacher and Educators 4 Excellence
Member

Special Education
Stephen Boese, Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Association
of NYS
Ellen McHugh, Citywide Council on Special Education

Higher Education
Dr. Ruth Powers Silverberg, Ed.D Associate Professor, Coordinator,
Post Master’s Advanced Certificate Program for Leadership in
Education, College of Staten Island, CUNY

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