Finch Urges Senate Majority to Put Children First

Fears gridlock, dysfunction threatens important ed bill
June 4, 2018

A bipartisan bill championed by Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) is awaiting action in the state Senate, a chamber wracked by gridlock. Each caucus has 31 members in Albany. The Majority members, who do not control the chamber, are seeking political concessions in exchange for good-faith participation in the legislative process.

Finch is particularly concerned that the dysfunction wrought by the Assembly Majority, will prevent the passage of legislation that would prevent student performance on high-stakes state tests from impacting teacher evaluations. Finch has fought for the measure for years, and finally helped pass it in the Assembly this spring.

“This is about educating our children and empowering our teachers. We want to emphasize effective instruction, and we don’t think that means being laser-focused on exams written by bureaucrats,” said Finch. “The Majority in the Senate shouldn’t play politics with this. Amending the bill to ensure we don’t open the door to expanding testing at the local level is one thing. Holding up bipartisan legislation that our teachers, administrators, parents and students have championed for years to extract a political price is just wrong. This is among the most important bills before the Legislature right now and there is no excuse not to get this done.”

In 2014, Finch and his colleagues called for a moratorium on state testing after meeting with teachers, administrators, parents and students. In 2015, Finch and many of his colleagues voted against spending bills which tied teacher evaluations to standardized tests.

Finch noted that the Majority’s actions in the Senate are particularly cynical, given that a Minority senator is absent from the chamber to fulfill the requirements of his military service.