NY Group Asks Legislators For Help in Closing Website ‘Bullying’ Educators Who Support Standards
"We are writing to ask all of you to help us end a clear case of cyberbullying in our state’s education system," wrote leaders of High Achievement New York, a coalition that has battled the anti-testing movement.
"The website, which has posted public images and contact information for multiple educators for the 'offense' of supporting the State’s learning standards and annual tests, has a single purpose: to shame and intimidate educators until they are publicly silenced," the group’s leaders said.
The words “The Educational Wall of Shame,” superimposed on a brick wall, appear at the top of the site’s home page. Underneath are photos, contact information, and “truthfulness grades” of 15 administrators, largely superintendents and principals, all but two from New York State and many from Long Island.
Users can click to send disparaging pre-written emails or view the educators’ “shameful” acts, which are often letters to parents encouraging students not to opt out of state tests.
“As leaders in education and voices against cyber-bullying, you can supply… accountability by denouncing this cyberbullying site and taking action so it is taken down immediately,” says the letter, which is addressed to New York state Sen. Carl Marcellino and state Assembly member Cathy Nolan, who chair the education committees in their respective chambers, and state Assembly member Daniel O’Donnell, who sponsored the state’s student anti-bullying law. (Full text of the letter below)
Dear Senator Carl Marcellino (Chair, Senate Education Committee), Assembly Member Catherine Nolan (Chair, Assembly Education Committee) and Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell (Sponsor, Dignity for All Students Act):
We are writing to ask all of you to help us end a clear case of cyberbullying in our state’s education system – namely, the website sponsored by individuals against New York’s State Learning Standards and Assessments called the “The Educational Wall of Shame” located at www.wallofshame.cc.
The website, which has posted public images and contact information for multiple educators for the “offense” of supporting the State’s learning standards and annual tests, has a single purpose: to shame and intimidate educators until they are publicly silenced.
If this online bullying happened in our schools or classrooms, it would be widely denounced. And yet, because this intimidation is carried out anonymously against adults, it has been disregarded.
Let us be clear: the fact this website operates anonymously online does not make it any less wrong. If anything, it is even more insidious, operating without any accountability.
As leaders in education and voices against cyber-bullying, you can supply that accountability by denouncing this cyber-bullying site and taking action so it is taken down immediately.
With initial indications showing flat participation rates in State English Language Arts and Math assessments this year, there is a need to end the gridlock between those who support improvements to the tests and those who seek to end them.
Tactics like this “Wall of Shame” make a real, productive dialogue to resolve this impasse impossible. HANY, along with these victimized educators, stand ready to participate in a rational, productive and fair debate. What we cannot accept is an effort to silence educators and administrators who are simply trying to do what they believe is right by their students.
We believe the only way for us to move beyond this gridlock is for all stakeholders to work together to improve the state assessments – that begins by ending hurtful sites such as this.
We urge you to stand up with us against this clear case of cyberbullying in our state education system. We look forward to working with you on these and other important education issues facing our state.
Camille Artemus (Parent, Brooklyn, New York)
Derrell Bradford (Executive Director, New York Campaign for Achievement Now)
Niferteriah Jones (Parent, Brooklyn, New York)
Jenn O'Connor (New York State Director, Council for a Strong America)
Kim Namkoong (Parent, Bethlehem, New York and co-president of Bethlehem Parents for Excellence)
Stephen Sigmund (Executive Director, High Achievement New York)
Nakeia Porter (Parent, Brooklyn, New York)
Jason Zwara (Executive Director, Buffalo ReformEd)
Sam Radford (President, Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council)
Patricia Elliott (Director of CAO Better Schools/Better Neighborhoods and member of the Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council)
Bryon McIntyre (Chairman of Buffalo Public Schools Special Education Advisory Committee and member of the Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council)
New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa
New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia