Tedisco Testimony to Common Core Task Force


As a former public school special education and resource room teacher, I’m not opposed to higher standards and standardized testing.


But standardized tests must be developmentally appropriate for the age of the students taking them and the tests should be just one of a myriad of diagnostic tools to measure teacher effectiveness and a child’s academic performance, and not the Holy Grail for determining success.


Any standardized test should be integrated holistically into a school’s curriculum with input from New York teachers, administrators and parents, along with several other measures that influence how and if children learn.


The Common Core’s heightened emphasis on standardized testing is forcing teachers to spend too much time teaching to the test rather than engaging children in true learning. The tests are too long as well as developmentally inappropriate for the grades of the children taking them.


Tests and how they are weighted in evaluating teachers and schools do not take into account the socio-economic and developmental factors that play a major role in how students learn. Nor do they factor in the different needs of students from high-need, low-wealth districts that don’t have the same resources as more affluent schools.


This past April, 20 percent of New York parents with children in grades 3-8 exercised their constitutional rights to express their displeasure with Common Core tests and how the standards are being implemented by refusing to have their kids take the exams.


The Governor and state education leaders are still coming to grips with how to respond to the growing opt-out movement and the frustration felt by many students, parents and educators about the tests and Common Core curriculum.


Renaming and rebranding Common Core as some have proposed is not going to solve the problem.


It makes one mindful of the analogy of putting lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. A new name is not going to make Common Core any prettier, effective or acceptable to students, parents, educators and school administrators.


Don Draper from the TV show “Mad Men” couldn’t devise a marketing plan to make the way Common Core doesn’t work now more palatable.   


While this new Common Core panel has some educators as members, there is no sizable representation from any of the parent/teacher groups who have been critical of the standards and tests. Nor is there a task force member from the Assembly who also has real world experience as an educator.


If this task force is serious it will recommend, and the administration, Regents, and our State Education Department will implement, a real overhaul of Common Core that does more than just change its name but actually respects educators and encourages students’ love of learning.


We need high standards and appropriate testing primarily as a diagnostic tool. However, our state’s leaders must understand that the solution to having children meet those standards does not lie solely on what’s going on in the brick and mortar of our school buildings but in the socio-economic environment of the homes and communities where they live.  


Until those needs are addressed, Common Core, or whatever name they call it, will experience little success at best and continue to be as the Governor declared, a “failure.”



            Assemblyman Jim Tedisco

            112th Assembly District

Tedisco to Governor: Act Now to Prevent a Crisis for New York’s Developmentally Disabled

Assemblyman calls on Governor to make it a high priority in state budget to provide consistent care for people with developmental disabilities by including funding to recruit and retain skilled workers so they don’t find other jobs that pay more


Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to prevent a staffing crisis by using some of the expected state budgetary windfall to help provide the highest level of care for thousands of New Yorkers with developmental disabilities by increasing services for clients and support for the professionals who directly care for them.


Tedisco, who helped lead the effort two years ago to restore $90 million in state funding the Governor cut for the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), has written Cuomo (see attached) asking that the state give a high priority to recruit and retain a skilled workforce to care for the disabled who are facing increasing pressure to find work in other jobs that pay more.


Read more

Tedisco Demands Justice for Abused Dog, Removal of Judge Who Gave “Get Out of Jail Free Card” to Convicted Animal Torturer

Assemblyman who was the driving force behind passage of Buster’s animal cruelty felony law renews call for passage of state animal abuser offender list to protect people and pets


Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville), the driving force behind passage of the landmark Buster’s felony animal cruelty law to protect people and pets, today is blasting the shocking decision by Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Angelo Delligatti to free a convicted animal torturer potentially putting public safety and the well being of companion animals at risk.


Tedisco also says this incident underscores the need for passage of his statewide animal abuse offender list to ensure convicted abusers can never own a pet again. 


In a case that has stunned and outraged people across the state, a 34-year-old kennel worker in Nassau County with no medical training or experience, cut off the ears and leg without anesthetic of a puppy named “Miss Harper.” The man plead guilty to three felonies and two misdemeanors. 

Read more

“This Veteran’s Day, it’s time to G.I.V.E. Back to our Veterans”

Tedisco, Veterans Call for New

Legislative Internship to Jobs Program for Veterans

Legislation to enable wounded warriors to participate in

New York’s annual state legislative internship program


BALLSTON--In advance of Veteran’s Day, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) joined with veterans and advocates at the Guardian House, shelter for homeless female veterans in Ballston to call on the New York State legislature to pass G.I.V.E. Back NY (Giving Internships for Veterans not fully Employed) legislation (A.3477/S.2182) to enable disabled veterans to participate in the chamber’s annual paid legislative internship program that could help lead them to future employment.


Tedisco proposes setting aside 10 percent of the current legislative internship program positions in the Assembly and Senate for veterans to see the inner workings of the representative democracy they put their lives on the line for to the extent that some now have a life-long disability.


“Let’s not just talk the talk, let’s walk the walk and give back to our veterans and wounded warriors by truly thanking them for everything we hold dear as Americans and as New Yorkers by offering them a birds eye view of the government they sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears and nearly their own lives to protect,” said Tedisco. “As our veterans learn about state government, my colleagues and I and our college interns will learn from them about honor, duty, courage, and perseverance, lessons that our leaders in state government probably need now, more than ever. 

Read more

Tedisco: Cat Found Nailed to Tree in Schenectady Eerily Similar to Case that Inspired Buster’s Law & Torture of Railroad Puppies Hudson & Pearl

Tedisco: Cat Found Nailed to Tree in Schenectady Eerily Similar to Case that Inspired Buster’s Law & Torture of Railroad Puppies Hudson & Pearl

Assemblyman who was the driving force behind passage of Buster’s animal cruelty felony law calls for passage of state animal abuser offender list to protect people and pets


Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today said the disturbing incident of animal cruelty of a cat found nailed to a tree in Steinmetz Park in Schenectady underscores the need for the state legislature to pass his legislation to create animal abuser offender list (A.2484/S.2935) and prevent abusers from owning an animal ever again. 


“Whoever did this to this cat needs to be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This is very disturbing and eerily similar to the original case that inspired the creation of Buster’s Law, where a teen in Schenectady doused a cat with kerosene and set it on fire. It’s also similar to the incident a few years ago when an abuser nailed railroad puppies Hudson and Pearl to railroad tracks in Albany,” said Tedisco.


In 1999, Tedisco led a statewide effort to collect over 118,000 signatures to pass the landmark Buster’s Law creating the felony category of "aggravated cruelty to animals," punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.  

Read more

Tedisco Briefed on “State of Homelessness” in Capital Region

One-day count shows 1,417 homeless adults and 193 children in Capital Region; 349 adults and 24 children in Schenectady; 282 adults, 6 children in Saratoga Region


Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today announced that he met with Stephanie Ford Kreis (pictured in photo with Tedisco) of the Capital Region Coalition to End Homelessness and was briefed on the “State of Homelessness in the Capital Region.” 


When the Coalition held a one-night census in January of this year, it was found that there were 1,417 homeless adults and 193 homeless children in the Capital Region (349 adults and 24 children in Schenectady County and 282 adults and 6 children in the Saratoga/Glens Falls/Washington/Warren/Hamilton Counties region).

Read more

Tedisco to SED Commissioner Elia: Don’t Bully New York’s Parents & Schools on Common Core Opt-Outs

Assemblyman says Common Core Parental Refusal Act needed now more than ever to protect students, parents, educators and schools from “vindictive” state bureaucrats


Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today is calling on New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to stop intimidating New York parents and school districts with threats of pulling funding from schools with high percentages of students who opt out of grades 3-8 Common Core standardized tests -- in essence, telling them to stop trying to “kill the messenger” for their introduction of a flawed system.


On Wednesday, the State Education Department released the results of this year’s Common Core Math and ELA tests and revealed that 20 percent of eligible students statewide refused the tests. In the Capital Region, close to 27.5 percent of students opted out.


“Commissioner Elia should stop bullying New York’s parents and schools because huge numbers of students are opting out of the flawed, developmentally inappropriate Common Core standardized tests. Unless there are real changes made to Common Core, these opt-out numbers will only grow exponentially next year,” said Tedisco.

Read more

Tedisco Calls for Arming of NY National Guard to Protect Civilians & Soldiers Against Terror Attack

Assemblyman who represents Stratton Air National Guard Base urges Governor to do what 7 other states have and issue Executive Order arming service members so they can save lives  


In the wake of the terrorist attack killing four Marines and a Navy sailor in Chattanooga Tennessee and increased threats by the terrorist group ISIS to kill American service members, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to issue an executive order to arm all New York National Guard members. 


Currently, seven governors have authorized their state National Guard units to be armed. Those states include: Florida, Texas, Indiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Wisconsin.


The 112th Assembly District, which Tedisco represents, includes the Stratton Air National Guard Base and its 109th Airlift Wing, as well as the Navy Operational Support Center which has 8 Navy Reserve units – both located in Glenville.


Read more

Tedisco: Kids, Cops & Cones to Kick-off Safe Summer Program

Assemblyman Tedisco, Supervisor Lewza, Mayor Romano, Sheriff Zurlo, County Clerk Hayner Kick-off Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program

Assemblyman launches his 2015 Safe Summer Bike Helmet Safety Program at Milton Town Summer Camp in Ballston Spa with Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, Stewart’s Shops, Friendly’s, Hayner’s Ice Cream Hall of Fame & Ben & Jerry’s to encourage kids to wear bike helmets for safety


Children in Saratoga and Schenectady Counties will have an added incentive to stay safe this summer as Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) is partnering with local officials and businesses and 12 area police departments to launch the 2015 Safe Summer Bike Helmet program.


Tedisco today joined local officials and businesses, police and kids at the Town of Milton summer camp to kick-off this year’s program to distribute 5,000 “good tickets” for free ice cream to reward children who wear their helmets while bicycling, skateboarding, and rollerblading, and give free bike helmets to kids who need one. 


It’s the law in New York State that children up to age 14 must wear a bicycle helmet. According to the New York State Department of Health, an average of 54 New Yorkers are killed each year in bicycle crashes and 19,000 residents are treated at a hospital due to bike-related injuries. 


Head injuries are the leading cause of death and permanent disability in bicycle crashes, accounting for more than 60 percent of bike-related deaths. The cost of a bicycle helmet is approximately $20.00. The average charge for a hospital stay due to a bicycle related brain injury is $23,000 with an average length of stay of four days. In New York, annual hospitalization charges related to care for persons with a bicycle related brain injury is $20 million.


The Safe Summer Program aims to address these alarming statistics by using positive reinforcement to get all neighborhood kids into the habit of wearing their helmets for safe biking, in-line skating, or riding a skateboard or scooter.  

Read more

Tedisco Salutes Outstanding Work of Law Enforcement to Capture & Remove Public Threat Posed By Prison Break Escapees

Assemblyman renews call for Prisoner Privileges Limitation Law & Independent Investigation of NY Prison Break to ensure this doesn’t happen again  


Statement from Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville)


“The people of New York State can finally breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the tireless efforts of all the law enforcement units who tracked down the worst-of-the-worst escaped inmates under some of the most difficult conditions imaginable.”


“It is thanks to our local and state police and federal law enforcement agencies along with assistance from police from other states and communities and all the people who volunteered their time providing support to our police and the tips from the public that they were able to successfully find the two escaped convicts without any innocent loss of life or injury.”


“Now that Richard Matt is dead and David Sweat is back in custody, an outside and truly independent investigator should be appointed to examine what caused the prison break and then make recommendations to help prevent something like this from happening again. An in-house Moreland-like investigator that reports to the Administration is not acceptable.”

Read more