Concerns grow over education reform camp planned for Lake Placid

Some parents and teachers are complaining they’re being shut out of attending an upcoming conference on education reform. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is listed as the honorary sponsor of “Camp Philos, a philosopher’s camp on education reform,” planned for May 4-6 in Lake Placid. The event is being put on by Education Reform Now, a Washington, DC, based nonprofit whose board of directors includes hedge fund managers who also serve on the boards of charter schools. For $1000 a ticket, participants are invited to “embark on three spring days of fun, fellowship and strategy with the nation’s thought leaders on education reform,” according to the event’s web site. Parents and teachers who have been unable to register for the conference said they’re being blocked, and the state’s teachers union is organizing a protest. School administrators have also raised concerns, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal:

Ken Mitchell, superintendent of the South Orangetown schools and president of the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents, said New Yorkers should be concerned if the conference is focused on “entrepreneurial experimentation with schools.”

“Maybe we need an educational version of the FDA to ensure that the products and practices that vendors and philanthropic dilettantes advance are tested before they are legislated and then used on children,” Mitchell said. “Our political leaders need to demand the research behind any reforms such as assessing teachers through student test data, over-testing, charter schools or the Common Core.”


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