Category Archives: Education

New York State voter registration deadline – October 14, 2016

This year’s election on November 8, 2016 will have far reaching implications for education as well as many other issues.  If you are not yet registered to vote and you live in New York State, you have until October 14, 2016 to register.

You may register to vote online
or

A New Vision of Education

The following resolution from the Patchogue-Medford school board on Long Island, New York was reported by Diane Ravitch and is well worth a read through.

A New Vision of Education:  A Resolution Passed by the Patchogue-Medford School Board in New York

I will include the resolution as well in case you can not access the link.

WHEREAS, Learning standards must serve as a guide to what all children should develop toward and be based on developmental norms rather than systematic back-mapping of any given college and career readiness benchmark; and that such standards should be created by New York State classroom educators and content area specialists experienced in the grade level for which they are creating standards, with feedback from parents, community members, and where appropriate, students; and that such standards must specify at what level of difficulty a student is expected to demonstrate proficiency on state tests; and that such standards should be based on peer reviewed and evidence based research for each grade level, including lexile benchmarks; and that such standards should serve as a guide to what skills to what skills and concepts are taught at each grade level; and that such standards must be broad enough to allow local teachers, as professionals, to determine methodology, content, and instructional practices and assessments that will best suit the needs of the communities and students they serve; and that such standards must include fine and gross motor skills, including handwriting; and that such standards must broadly address play skills, a well researched and critical aspect of learning for students, to ensure that schools allocate instructional time for self-selected and guided play, particularly in the early grades; and that such standards in all grades must address cultural competencies;

AND
WHEREAS, School districts must be given adequate funding to create or purchase culturally relevant curriculum that meets the needs of the communities and students they serve; and that all schools must have dedicated funding for curriculum-based field trips and project-based, experiential learning; and that music, art, physical education, and technology should be integrated into the curriculum for all students in grades K-12; and that all schools must offer at least one consistent foreign language in grades K-12; and that any state-wide digital learning platforms must be evidence based, piloted, and studied for both efficacy and safety before being implemented; and that all high schools must offer advanced mathematics and science courses as well as advanced electives in all disciplines; and that all schools’ curricula should offer significant opportunities for students to exercise choice and direct aspects of their own learning;

AND
WHEREAS, Any federally mandated statewide assessments must be created by New York State classroom educators, including test question construction and reading passage selection; and that in a system that includes local assessment, classroom educators must have the primary role in constructing or selecting the assessments; and that tests must be criterion referenced rather than norm referenced and results must be given back within 4 weeks of administration; and that College and Career readiness benchmarks aligned with test proficiency must be aligned with strong indicators of post-high school success that have been vetted for racial, cultural, and socioeconomic bias; and that any federally mandated statewide assessments must be no longer than one day per subject with time limits established by a committee of classroom educators experienced in the grade level for which the assessment has been developed; and that time limits must be based on grade level expectations for time on task; and that the misuse of assessment data must stop; and that statewide exams must be decoupled from any high stakes including but not limited to teacher and principal evaluations, grounds for school takeover or closure, use as admittance criteria to selective schools, promotion, programs, and retention; and that on any statewide test, all test content, reading passages, and questions must align to the grade level benchmarks and lexile levels for the grade in which it is being administered; and that test scores and high stakes exit exams must not be the only pathway to graduation; and that students must have the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in other ways such as portfolios and interviews; and that Regents exams must be scheduled in such a way so as to ensure that no student must take more than one Regent exam per day; and that assessments must be subject to full transparency, including the annual release of comprehensive technical reports that provide transparency on specific items; and that all parents and guardians must be notified of their right to refuse standardized tests for their child(ren), with notification must be provided in the parent or guardian’s native language;

AND
WHEREAS, New York State must fully and equitably fund our public schools; and that reasonable class size caps (for example, 18 students in K-3, 23-25 in other grades) must be used in aid and funding formulas as the basis for school aid determination; and that all schools must have at least one full time nurse, social worker, and security guard/safety officer, with all security guard/safety officers receiving crisis intervention and cultural competency training; and that all schools must have a well-resourced library and a full time librarian; and that all schools must have adequate counseling support provided by a psychologist, as determined by the overall number of students, the number of students with special needs, and the level of poverty a school is experiencing; and that all schools must have up to date technological infrastructure and resources, where state aid and funds for these resources should not be contingent upon schools increasing their capacity to administer computer-based assessments; and that in conjunction with parents, educators, school board members, and community members, the Board of Regents should develop a framework for what every public school in NYS must have in order to ensure equity and student success, where this framework should help drive the State’s accountability system as well as its funding; and that in Pre-K and in grades K-6, all students must have at least 60 minutes of recess per day in addition to the federally mandated 120 minutes of physical education per week; and that all students must be guaranteed at least 30 minutes for lunch, and this time may not be used for instructional purposes; and that all teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals must receive training in cultural competency, crisis intervention, and restorative justice practices; and that mandatory common planning time should be provided for general education, special education and ENL teachers, and intervention specialists who share students; and that New York State must prioritize the recruitment and retention of teachers from diverse backgrounds that reflect the students they serve, are trained in a fully accredited education program, and have completed a full course of student teaching with a trained mentor; and that all school districts must offer a strong teacher mentoring program to help new teachers navigate their first few years of service; and that schools must provide access to medical and dental services as well as high quality nutrition for ALL students who need them; and that all families must have access to fully funded, high quality Pre-Kindergarten;

AND
WHEREAS, The role of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) must be restored and allowed to drive instruction for the individual student and should be guided by the needs, interests & development of each student; and that the needs of the student must inform IEP goals rather than alignment to learning standards that are currently in flux; and that all special education teachers must receive training in evidence-based methodologies for teaching math and reading to struggling learners; and that all co-taught models must have a full time special education teacher; and that students with disabilities must have access to pathways that lead to a diploma and provide access to vocational training that is aligned with student interest and strengths; and that special education teachers must have time set aside on a weekly or daily basis to engage in differentiated curriculum work, intervention planning, communication with parents, and fulfillment of IEP and special education mandates;

AND
WHEREAS, The following five principles should be incorporated in any law or policy regarding the protection of personal student data in grades preK-12, and after students reach age 18, all these rights, including those related to notification and consent, should devolve to them:

Transparency: Parents must be notified by their children’s school or district in advance of any disclosure of personal student information to any persons, companies or organizations outside of the school or district. Once notified, parents to must be able to opt out of the disclosure of their child’s personal data. All disclosures to third parties should also require publicly available contracts and privacy policies that specify what types of data are to be disclosed for what purposes, and provide a date certain when the data will be destroyed.

No commercial uses: Selling of personal student data and/or use for marketing purposes should be banned. No advertising should be allowed on instructional software or websites assigned to students by their schools, since ads are a distraction from learning and serve no legitimate educational purpose.

Security protections: At minimum, there must be encryption of personal data at motion and at rest, required training for all individuals with access to personal student data, audit logs, and security audits by an independent auditor. Passwords should be protected in the same manner as all other personal student information. There must be notification to parents of all breaches, and indemnification of the same. No “anonymized” or “de-identified” student information should be disclosed without verifiable safeguards to ensure data cannot be easily re-identified.

Parental/ student rights: No re-disclosures by vendors or any other third parties to additional individuals, sub-contractors, or organizations should be allowed without parental notification and consent (or students, if they are 18 or older). Parents must be allowed to see any data collected directly from their child by a school or a vendor given access through the school, delete the data if it is in error or is nonessential to the child’s transcript, and opt out of further collection, unless that data is part of their child’s educational records at school. Any data-mining for purpose of creating student profiles, even for educational purposes, must be done with full parental knowledge. Parental consent must be required for disclosure of personal data, especially for highly sensitive information such as their child’s disabilities, health and disciplinary information.

Enforcement: The law should specify fines if the school, district or third party violates the law, their contracts and/or privacy policies; with parents able to sue on behalf of their children’s rights as well.

THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Education of the Patchogue-Medford School District, in agreement with the New York State Allies for Public Education, calls upon the Governor of New York State, the New York State Legislature, the New York State Commissioner of Education, and the New York State Board of Regents, to consider this outline as a new framework for public education in New York State, a framework that serves all students; an equitable public education system in which ALL students can succeed; a vision of public education that prioritizes child-centered and developmentally appropriate learning standards and assessments, research and evidence based practices and policies, equitable resources and opportunities, and an accountability system that supports rather than punishes; what all schools must have in order to foster creative, critically thinking, confident, well-rounded, independent, self-motivated, culturally competent, and well-prepared students who can work cooperatively and excel post-high school, whether they choose to attend college or pursue a vocation. Further, we call on all aspects of public education to be rooted in ethical practices and democratic decision making.

New York Perspective on Confirmation hearing of John King as U.S. Secretary of Education

I watched the H.E.L.P. committee confirmation hearing of John King yesterday and the statements made at the hearing are totally inconsistent with my knowledge of John King.

John King was the Commissioner of Education in New York before he went to Washington D.C. to work in the Department of Education.   His time as Commissioner was a failure and parents in New York State tried to get him kicked out of the position although he resigned and went to Washington D.C. in December 2014 before he actually got fired.  Unless the U.S. wants even more of the Common Core mess that we already have, you do NOT want John King as the U.S. Secretary of Education.

You can read the details about why John King should not be U.S. Secretary of Education, written when he resigned as NYS Commissioner of Education in December 2014, here.  Basically he totally supports Common Core, high stakes testing and judging teachers and schools by student test scores and I believe these things are all bad for students in New York State as well as the entire United States of America.

A detail that has not been posted on my blog until today is the fact that I know personally that John King did not listen to parents in New York.  I know this because I am one of the ‘Poughkeepsie Five‘. These are five of the seven parents who actually got to speak at the first Town Hall Meeting on the Common Core that Commissioner King held in Spackenkill (part of the Poughkeepsie area) in October 2013.  The other two speakers were not comfortable having their names publicly listed.  You can read the whole story of Commissioner John King’s failure to communicate with parents here or just the highlights below.

Full video of the Spackenkill Town Hall Meeting with Speakers beginning at 1:23:16.

Commissioner King didn’t like what we parents had to say or how the crowd responded to what he had to say about Common Core (we were not a very receptive audience particularly when he took up an hour and a half with his talking and left very little time for parent comments/statements) and therefore canceled all the rest of the forums around the state because the first one was “co-opted by special interest groups” (those pesky parents!)  This was just the beginning of a total lack of understanding of the concerns that parents were feeling/expressing that continued until the time John King left New York State.

John King stated in the H.E.L.P. confirmation hearing: “We believe that stakeholder feedback is critical.”  I cry foul!  John King did not listen to stakeholder feedback in New York State.

#noking4seced

Reject John King as Secretary of Education – Call now!

Please call Senator Schumer (202) 224-6542 and Senator Gillibrand (202) 224-4451 to let them know that parents from New York do NOT want the Senators from New York to approve John B. King Jr. as the Secretary of Education.

 Parents rejected him as Commissioner of Education here in New York and he should not be the Secretary of Education for the country!

If you don’t remember the general sentiment when it was announced that John King was resigning as Commissioner of Education in New York back in December 2014, read here and here.

Transitioning to Life After High School

Parents/Caregivers of Middle School and High School students with an IEP or 504 plan: these forums on graduation requirements and transitioning are for you!

The first, Pathways To Graduation, on February 16th is very critical for you to learn the options that lead to a diploma or a certificate.

Kingston Transition Planning Parent Series 2016

Forum details:

Kingston City School District in collaboration with the Kingston Special Education Parent Group cordially invite you to attend a series of free information sessions on important topics affecting students who are planning for their transition to life after high school.

Held in the High School AUDION (Room 517) from 6:30pm-8:30pm

Session 1: Tuesday, February 16th (Snow Date: Wednesday, February 17th)  Pathways to Graduation
This presentation will offer parents an overview on the requirements that need to be met in order to graduate with a diploma as well as a review of the different types of diploma options available for students with disabilities. An introduction to a new exiting credential of work readiness will also be shared.

Session 2: Tuesday, March 15th (Snow Date: Wednesday, March 16th)  Understanding the NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential
This presentation is especially recommended for parents of children with an IEP in 8th grade or higher, to learn about the requirements for an important exiting credential that students can earn upon exit from school which recognizes a student’s preparation skills and demonstration of knowledge and experience needed for entrylevel
employment opportunities. The Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential which is awarded only to students that have taken the NYS Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) will also be reviewed. (*Please note this session is not applicable to students with a 504 Plan.)

Session 3: Tuesday, April 12th (Snow Date: Wednesday, April 13) Preparing for the Transition to College
This presentation is designed to assist parents of young adults with an IEP or 504 Plan in understanding the differences that can be expected as students move from high school to a college setting. Topics include: laws which govern services at the college level; the process to access academic accommodations, disability documentation requirements; the changing role of parents; and tips on what students can do now to gain the
necessary skills needed for a successful college experience.

Session 4: Tuesday, May 17th  Transition Planning for Families – Preparing for Life after High School
This presentation will provide parents with information on the school to post-school transition planning process.  Families are essential partners with the school district and collaboration with the Committee on Special Education (CSE) team is extremely important to fully understand considerations for successful career development and transition to adulthood. The workshop will help parents to think about: your child today, your child in the future and the support required to help your child achieve his/her long-term goals.

Who will be the next Board of Regents Chancellor?

Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch announced in December that she will retire from the Board of Regents when her current term ends in March 2016.  Vice chancellor Anthony Bottar is also not seeking re-election.

NYSAPE announced support for Regent Betty Rosa as the next Chancellor and Regent Beverly Ouderkirk as Vice chancellor.  NYSAPE is also calling for the Board of Regents vote to select the next Chancellor to be delayed until April after new Regents are selected for the seats to be filled this year.

We are calling on the Board of Regents to postpone the elections for the offices of Chancellor and Vice Chancellor vote until April, when the two open seats are filled with new Regents. The current plan calls for a vote in March (as per the Board’s bylaws), but we believe that it makes very little sense for two outgoing Regents to vote for the next leaders of the Board they will no longer be serving on. – NYSAPE January 15, 2016

Please contact your legislators* and Board of Regents member to voice your thoughts regarding who you would like to see selected as the next Board of Regents Chancellor and Vice Chancellor and to request that the selection be delayed until April.

Your voice matters

 

*Note that legislators do not select the Board of Regents Chancellor but they, at minimum, have their individual opinion which they should be expressing to the members of the Board of Regents.  Also as legislators I am sure they have more ‘voice’ than the average citizen here in Kingston, New York and they should be using that voice to make the desires of their constituents known to the Regents.

Stealth Assessments and Competency Based Education

Stealth Assessments and Competency Based Education – from stopcommoncorenys

reblogging:

For anyone who wants to see how the new generation of Competency Based Ed rolling exams will be marketed and who is behind it, please check out the following. Note Gates and Pearson, among others. This is not the competency based learning from years ago.

click here to continue reading

kids-school-computer

Key points of concern:

You don’t have to be a technophobe to sound alarm bells. Children sitting on devices all day long – concerns all of us. For budgetary reasons, for health reasons, for social reasons, and for practical reasons, is this what parents and teachers want, and does it matter? And what becomes of the teacher who has acquired a masters degree, who is now to sit and be a tech support proctor? Where does the human interaction fall in this paradigm? Let’s not forget online vulnerability. Where does the data go? How safely is it protected from hackers?

We’re destroying our kids — for nothing

-reblogging

“We’re destroying our kids — for nothing: Too much homework, too many tests, too much needless pressure “

 If you have children who are stressed out in elementary, middle, or high school, this post is for you. If you have heard about the “new” SAT and have concerns, this post is for you. If you worry about high stakes standardized tests and the pressure cooker our government has thrown our kids into, this post is for you. If you wonder what is best for your children or grandchildren in education today, this post is for you. ….  – read full post here from “What’s the big idea?” blog November 14, 2015
Vicki Ables, the mom and filmmaker who brought us the award winning and eye opening documentary, Race to Nowhere, now brings us a new book and film, Beyond Measure.
Beyond Measure asks the important questions.“Rather than ask why our students fail to measure up, this film asks us to reconsider the greater purpose of education. What if our education system valued personal growth over test scores? Put inquiry over mimicry? Encouraged passion over rankings? What if we decided that the higher aim of school was not the transmission of facts or formulas, but the transformation of every student? And what if this paradigm-shift was driven from the ground up? By students, parents, and educators? By all of us?
….
To all parents: We are being used, our children are pawns in the game, and not only must we educate ourselves, we must spread the truth. Please share this information with everyone you know. Write editorials, speak to school boards, speak firmly and loudly to politicians. Our voices are stronger together. We must protect our children and their schools (pre-k to 20).The slick PR of the corporate education reform world is a sham. Let’s take care of our kids, and fight to prevent our future grandchildren from suffering in this Madison Avenue marketed manipulation and destruction of our school systems (both private and public) that is stealing the joy of childhood from our children.