Long Islanders lambaste education changes at Merrick forum


Some of the most well-known names in Long Island’s anti-Regents Reform Agenda movement were in Merrick recently, discussing their views on new curricula, standardized tests, an evaluation system for teachers and principals, and student data-collection practices that debuted last year in schools statewide. A roomful of anxious and angry parents from Nassau and Suffolk counties turned up on a cold night, looking for solutions to what they perceive as the woes afflicting their children’s classrooms.

Lisa Katz, a North Merrick parent, and Jeanette Deutermann, a North Bellmore parent and the founder of the Facebook page “Long Island Opt-out Info,” organized the meeting, which took place in the golf course clubhouse at Merrick Road Park and was billed as a “community education forum.” Speakers included Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, frequent guest blogger for The Washington Post and the School Administrators Association of New York State’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year; Arnold Dodge, chairman of the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration at LIU Post, a former superintendent, principal and teacher and a Merrick parent; Joseph Rella, superintendent of the Comsewogue School District; Brian Wasson, a technology training specialist at St. Joseph’s College who has worked in a number of Long Island school districts; and Deutermann. About 60 people attended the meeting.

Katz, who introduced each speaker, said she booked the room in the Merrick Road Park clubhouse, which the Town of Hempstead allows community groups to use, and Deutermann booked the speakers. They promoted the forum via Facebook, word of mouth and fliers in mailboxes and public places in several Long Island communities, according to Katz.

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