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Column: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano

“Governor reimagining education would be a nightmare for our kids”

During a press conference this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed skepticism about students returning to the classroom and wondered aloud whether it was a viable long-term option. He announced that he has tasked Bill Gates with “reimagining” New York state’s education system.

Emergency restrictions on gatherings were sold to New Yorkers as temporary measures to stop the spread of the virus, not radical, permanent changes to everyday life. Our kids learn so much about social interaction in school -- how to make friends, how to resolve conflicts, how to collaborate. Our special needs children receive an array of life-changing services in the classroom setting. That in-person interaction is critical to student growth, learning and achievement.

And while the hard work and dedication our educators have put in to get distance learning off the ground so quickly is a credit to their ingenuity and skill, there’s no replacing the organic experience of learning in the classroom. In addition, many students and families, particularly in our rural communities, do not have access to a reliable internet connection and other needed technologies. This problem was evident before this crisis and clearly manifested during it. Technology is meant to be a tool to help provide assistance in educating our children, not a replacement for actual teaching and learning in the classroom.

Unfortunately, both the governor and Bill Gates have promoted a senseless emphasis on standardized testing and the disastrous Common Core Program, focuses that have consistently stifled the creativity of teachers and the authority of local school districts. Instead of trying to score some headlines by working with Bill Gates, the governor should be reaching out to our teachers, our principals, our school superintendents and our parents if he wants to fix our schools and improve outcomes for our kids.

Let me be very clear: students and teachers belong in school and in the classroom, period.

Photo in text: Asssemblyman Phil Palmesano

Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Carl Blowers, Jim Howell, Michael Lausell, Van Harp

Bottom row: Gary Gray, David Reed, Phil Barnes, Mark Rondinaro


Legislature Chairman

Carl Blowers, 535-6174 or 237-5469

Legislature Members:

Gary Gray, 292-9922

Van Harp, 329-2160

Jim Howell, 535-7266 or 227-1141

David M. Reed, 796-9558

Michael Lausell, 227- 9226

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen, 481-0482

Mark Rondinaro, 398-0648

County Clerk: Theresa Philbin, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Holley Sokolowski, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano-- Steuben, Schuyler, Yates
Room 723, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-5791


© The Odessa File 2017
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869