Tag Archives: Board of Regents

N.Y. Regents question standardized test data comparisons

The Board of Regents actually did a LOT more than just question standardized test data comparisons at their September 2016 monthly meeting according to this article.
 

The board that sets education policy for New York questioned Monday why the State Education Department touted gains on standardized test scores this year when most agree the data can’t be compared against previous years.

The department released the results of the state’s 2016 reading and math tests in July, showing that statewide proficiency grew 6.6 percentage points in reading and 1 percentage point in math compared to last year.

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia warned against making direct comparisons with results from prior years — a point she would reiterate in weeks to come — since the 2016 tests were shorter than previous years and untimed. But in their first public meeting since the announcement, the Regents expressed concern that comparisons were made at all.

“When we send out a package that says, you know, we’re moving up and charter schools did so much better, this goes to the press and then to the political people who make decisions on our behalf sometimes based upon data that can’t be compared,” said Regent Roger Tilles.

They questioned whether charter school test data is valid because charter schools do not have to follow the same rules as public schools so students might be receiving help with the tests. They also compared the tests to ‘child abuse’ for students new to the English language and Regent Tilles said “But I really don’t like giving those tests, even if we’re asked to do so. I would choose to opt out of them.”

Board of Education sees need for change

The Patchogue-Medford school district Board of Education passed the following resolution on February 4, 2016. What an awesome example that other school boards could follow!
 
Whereas, the current Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents will be stepping-down in the Spring of 2016 and two positions on the Board of Regents will be subject to appointments beginning in April of 2016, and
Whereas, the members of the New York State Legislature are empowered with making appointments to the Board of Regents and the members of the Board of Regents are empowered with electing their Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, and
Whereas, the Board of Education of the Patchogue-Medford Union Free School District sees the need for change in the way public education in New York State is managed, be it
Resolved, that the Board of Education calls upon those legislators who are responsible for said appointments and those regents who will be choosing their leaders to assure the people of the state that the entire Board of Regents, especially the new regents , chancellor and vice-chancellor:
1. Be aware of and sympathetic to the concerns of parents of children in grades K though 12.
2. Understand that the Common Core Standards are chronologically and developmentally inappropriate.
3. Understand that high stakes testing benefits no student or teacher.
4. Support the notion that local control of education is essential to providing quality education for the children of the State of New York.
5. Support multiple pathways for children to achieve a high school diploma.
6. Advocate for Special Needs students and make the evaluation process fairer by reinstating the Regents Competency Tests.
7. Advocate for English Language Learners, as the Common Core has no provisions for them.
8. Lead, by example, in support of the public education system and trained professional educators who know that a “one size fits all” educational system is not beneficial to any student.
9. Be willing to continue moving forward to appropriate changes to and removal of the flawed Annual Professional Performance Review system and the untested, never-piloted Common Core Standards.
10. Be leaders, open to new and diverse ways and means suggested by the people of New York State and willing implement these strategies, when proven meaningful.
11. Be accessible to the general public and willing to meet with diverse groups around the state, in dialogue, about current educational issues.
and be it further
Resolved, that the District Clerk is directed to send this Resolution to the members of the New York State Legislature and the members of the New York State Board of Regents.

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.

Please complete NYSAPE Common Core Survey today

** UPDATE:  Survey results in –  NYSAPE Survey shows New Yorkers overwhelming REJECT Common Core Standards, tests & evaluation policies **  

From NYS Allies for Public Education:

If you haven’t already done so, please complete NYSAPE’s  Common Core survey today to have your voices heard regarding the common core standards, curriculum and testing.  Please share this survey widely.  For more details about this survey, please click here.

The results of this survey will be made public and presented to the Board of Regents, Education Commissioner Elia, Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force, and NYS Legislature.

Together, let’s keep up the fight to ensure all children receive the education they deserve. We wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Very best,

NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org

*****

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 23, 2015 

More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) www.nysape.org

NYS Ed Commissioner Elia is Misleading Public with Deceptive Common Core Survey

Immediately following the release of NY Education Commissioner’s Maryellen Elia’s Common Core ‘AimHighNY’ survey a few weeks ago, critics sounded the alarm that the State Education Department was preventing the public from offering any comment on the standards that did not adhere to the survey’s arcane format –a complex maze of ‘click here’ boxes for each specific standard.

During this month’s Board of Regents meeting, Commissioner Elia claimed that the survey DID provide the opportunity for general public comment and that she never expected people to respond to each specific standard.

Calls to the NYS Education Department following that meeting revealed there was no opportunity for general public comment in the survey, and feedback NOT aligned with the lengthy and complex standard-by-standard format would NOT be included in the public record.

From the NYSED website, “This [survey] is not a referendum on the standards. Only comments tied to a specific standard will be considered.”
Experts, parents, and educators alike are outraged.  Not only is the survey fundamentally flawed, it is designed to silence legitimate criticism and exclude the views of most members of the public, who according to the polls, overwhelming oppose the Common Core standards.

Sandra Stotsky, a leading expert who designed the esteemed Massachusetts education standards, said, “A review of a set of standards, standard by standard, is a dishonest and deliberately unproductive method for the state to ask for because the organization of the standards is the key to their quality and effectiveness, whether in mathematics or English language arts.”

“Members of the public are not fooled.  When you ask for ‘Public Comment’ but prevent most parents and teachers who do not have the time to follow your complicated rules, we know that you are really not interested in what they have to say.  The survey is designed to block out dissenting voices,” said Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator, and Opt Out CNY founder.

“Elia has declared war on parents who are trying to protect their children from these harmful reforms.  This disingenuous survey along with Elia’s ‘fear mongering’ School Administrator Toolkit demonstrates a complete disregard for parents who are choosing not to participate in this failed system,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and Long Island Opt Out founder.

Alan Singer, Hofstra University professor and Huffington Post blogger, wrote in his recent post [link] “… the problem with this bogus survey is not each individual standard. No one is going to vote that we should not teach children to read, write, and think. However, nowhere can you vote that Common Core Standards aligned with high-stakes testing have undermined education in New York State, stressed out students and teachers, turned curriculum development over to test design companies, and transformed schools into test prep academies. These are the real reasons parents and teachers oppose the Common Core.”

Parents know the poorly designed survey is the reason why only 5500 people across the entire state have responded.  Elia also reported at the Board of Regents meeting that while most speakers at public hearings have been opposed to the Common Core, this controversial survey shows a different result that so far, 70% of teachers [less than 1% of NY Teachers responded] support the Common Core.

“The Albany Fix is already in.  Parents predict Commissioner Elia’s survey press release will likely declare that despite overwhelming opposition in statewide polls and at public hearings, a majority of respondents support the Common Core,” said Lisa Rudley, Hudson Valley public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.
Instead, NYSAPE just released a user-friendly survey to maximize public participation and input, and offer the results to the Board of Regents, Commissioner Elia and the Governor’s Common Core Task Force for their consideration.

NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) is a coalition of more than 50 parent and educator grassroots organizations throughout the state.

Your voice matters

 

AimHighNY survey is not reflective of public opinion

Commissioner Elia reported to the Board of Regents regarding the AimHighNY survey on Monday.   According to her report:

 So far, about 71.5 percent of the feedback elicited through the survey has been “supportive of the standards,” according to the department’s presentation. The remaining 28.5 percent was not supportive.

Remember, this is a survey that is geared towards supporters. You must respond to individual standards and are not allowed to give general comments about the standards or problems with the ‘common core package’. There is no place for opposing views. And just like the state standardized cut scores, the NYS education department can produce the outcome they want.  Many parents who are opposed to Common Core, including myself, have not bothered to fill out the survey because it is considered to be a farce.

The Common Core standards have been publicly blasted around the state during the Common Core Task Force listening tours and task force members have got an earful.

Various reports from the Common Core Task Force listening tours so far:

Thoughts from task force members after first public meeting on October 29, 2015:

Task force chairman Richard Parsons said the meeting was “useful.”

“It gives you some sense of the heat and the passion under various points. You get a sense of how people feel about it, so that was useful,” said Parsons, a senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners and former Citigroup board chairman who led the governor’s education reform commission in 2012. “At some point in time, you need to get outside of the silver realm of just the experts, the people who spend all day, every day doing this and hear what parents think, what teachers think, what other educators who aren’t in the process think.”

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, who chairs the chamber’s education committee, said she learned a lot from the meeting.

“There is certainly a lot of intensity around these changes here and clearly there were a lot of mistakes in the implementation and the rollout [of the Common Core standards], but also in the underlying concept,” Nolan said. “There was too much emphasis from the people who developed the Common Core on using testing as a sort and select mechanism.”

Nolan also questioned the amount of testing and “to link it so extensively to teacher evaluation.”

In addition to the task force, the state Education Department is reviewing the Common Core standards. Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who also is on the task force, said the audience reaction Thursday showed how “involved and passionate” people are about the work that’s going on.

“We had some really great panelists tonight and I think they brought us a multiple set of views on various things,” Elia told POLITICO New York after the meeting. “I heard some things that I think we need to be looking at and those are many of the things I’ve been talking about, so I think we’re on the pathway.”

Parents, teachers at Common Core task force meeting bring the ‘heat’ – October 29, 2015

If Commissioner Elia can sit through the Common Core Task Force listening sessions and still retain the belief that the AimHighNY survey is giving a true picture of public sentiment, then she is really NOT listening to what the public is saying.  I also find it interesting that Commissioner Elia has her recommendations as a member of the Common Core Task Force ready before the listening tour is even completed.

The Commissioner is a member of all three work groups and this presentation outlines the anticipated recommendations from the Commissioner to the task force.

There is a public session tomorrow November 18, 2015 in Amherst New York.  How does Commissioner Elia know what is going to be said at that session before the listening session is held?  Is it not possible that some awesome testimony will reveal new perspectives about Common Core that will alter her thinking?

The AimHighNY survey, as it is being reported, is not an accurate indicator of public opinion regarding the Common Core State Standards.

*****

Notes:

  • You may provide public testimony to the Common Core Task Force via their website here through November 30, 2015.
  • The AimHighNY survey is available for input through the end of November.

 

Editorial: Finally, testing obsession is under review

This editorial from lohud is an excellent summary of the state of testing and Common Core in New York right now with a bit thrown in about President Obama’s about-face on testing last week.

At the first public meeting of Gov. Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force on Thursday, a Bronx principal named Jamaal Bowman displayed a picture of his young daughter on a big screen and said he would not send her to a public school in New York because of our “test-and-punish culture.” The task force members, including state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, sat impassively at the College of New Rochelle as Bowman, an invited speaker, decried an overemphasis on standardized testing at the expense of innovation, creativity and richer methods of measuring student achievement.

Read the rest of the article here.

I would like to highlight the following points where parents have made a difference as noted by the editorial staff:

  • Cuomo’s task force is charged with reviewing New York’s testing program and its close ties to the Common Core standards by year’s end.
  • Cuomo just named Bedford Superintendent Jere Hochman his deputy for education. Hochman has sharply criticized New York’s focus on “high-stakes” testing and has called for the state’s widely disliked teacher evaluation system, tied to student test scores, to be torn up and replaced.
  • Longtime Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who has overseen the state’s test-centric “reform” agenda, will leave the board when her term is up in March.
  • The state Education Department is also reviewing individual Common Core standards — but not the role of the Core itself.
  • The Board of Regents plans a serious review of the teacher evaluation system, which Cuomo and legislators have essentially taken control of in recent years.
  • Congress is trying —struggling, really — to rewrite the federal No Child Left Behind law to reduce the federal role in education while maintaining accountability measures for school systems.

The battle for the education of our kids has been long and hard and there is still much to do.  We don’t know yet if those in charge of ‘education’ are really going to start listening but we can hope that this is a step on the path to dealing with the testing mess and Common Core.  Do not despair and continue to do what is best for the children.

It’s debatable how much Obama’s new posture will help. But he knowingly gave a shot in the arm to parents, teachers and others who are fed up with federal and state prescriptions for saving our supposedly failing schools.

Have no doubt that New York’s opt-out movement forced Cuomo, legislators, the Regents and newcomer Elia to reconsider testing and related policies. Tisch and Elia may condemn opting out as counterproductive, but when 1 in 5 bubble sheets are not filled out, which is what happened in New York last spring, you’ve got a big problem on your hands.

******

In case you can not access the lohud editorial, here is a PDF containing the article – Editorial_ Finally, testing obsession is under review

 

Act now regarding Regents low pass waiver

I shared a post yesterday from One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform regarding a new regulation to allow special education students to apply for a waiver if they have taken a Regents exam twice and failed it with a 52 to 54.

Today Christine has a specific action requesting everyone to help by submitting comments to NYSED regarding an amendment to the regulation.  Please take action as requested.

From One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform:

Please take the time to cut and paste these comments and send to the email address:

 spedpubliccomment@mail.nysed.gov

Members of NY STOP GRAD HST respectfully request members of NYS Regents to vote Yes to amendment ID. NO.EDU-40-15-00007-P; Regarding Students With Disabilities Diploma Requirements.

Specifically we request a vote during the upcoming December 2015 meeting in order to allow year 2016 potential graduates additional safety nets to successfully meet their graduation requirements.

Currently there are three safety net options available to students to graduate with a local diploma;

  1. Low Pass Safety Net Option: 5 required Regents exams with a score of 55 or better.
  2. Regents Competency Test (RCT) Safety Net Option: This option, which is available to students who entered grade 9 prior to September 2011, allows a student with a disability to receive a local diploma based on a passing score on the RCT if student does not achieve a score of 55 or higher on the Regents examination.
  3. Compensatory Safety Net Option: For students not relying on RCTs, a student with a disability may receive a local diploma if he/she scores between 45-54 on one or more of the five required Regents exams, other than the English language arts (ELA) or mathematics, but achieves a score of 65 or higher on another required Regents exam which can compensate for the lower score. A score of 65 or higher on a single examination may not be used to compensate for more than one examination for which a score of 45-54 is earned.

We support and are seeking your support as well regarding approval of the below amendment which includes an additional safety net option for a score of less than 55 for a student with a disability to earn a local diploma;

(*Note: While this appeal option may be important for some students, data shows that in the 2010 cohort, there were only 258 students with disabilities who did not graduate who received a test score between 52 and 54 on any Regents exam; this statement requires clarification as students still had the RCT option in that cohort).

-score up to three points below a score of 55 on a Regents exam after at least two attempts, and attain at least a 65 course average in the subject area of the Regents examination under appeal;
– provide evidence that they have received academic intervention services by the school in the subject area of the Regents examination under appeal;
– have an attendance rate of at least 95 percent for the school year during which the student last took the required Regents examination under appeal;
– attain a course average in the subject area of the Regents examination under appeal that meets or exceeds the required passing grade by the school and is recorded on the student’s official transcript with grades achieved by the student in each quarter of the school year; and
– the student is recommended for an exemption to the passing score on the required Regents examination under appeal by his or her teacher or department chairperson in the subject area of such examination.  Appeals by students with disabilities of a score of less than 55 under the proposed amendment would be reviewed by the same committee that reviews all other Regents appeals.

The final average for the waived Regents exam may be excluded in the calculation for the final class average, if it will bring that score below a passing grade.

Crocodile Tears

“At 6 p.m. on a Thursday night, I come home from a meeting, my phone rings, and it’s Merryl Tisch,” Ms. De Vito said. “She said, ‘I received your letter,’ and she said, ‘It made me want to cry.’”

This is quoted from this NY Times Article that describes the new regulation to allow SPED students to apply for a waiver if they have taken a Regents exam twice and failed it with a 52 to 54.

Click here to read the rest of the post from One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform.

The Regents tests and Common Core are failing our kids and actually increasing the number of students who do not graduate.  Crocodile tears and minor changes are not what is needed.

As Christine writes (I actually know the blogger from One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform – she is an amazing advocate for changes needed regarding high school graduation requirements and the Regents tests and not just for special education students but for all students):

Tisch is throwing away a generation of New York State citizens with the punitive graduation requirements approved under her tenure.  It is time for a reinstatement of multiple pathways to a meaningful local diploma and end to high stakes testing as the sole path to a New York State High School diploma.

 

Board of Regents approves 50% of teacher evaluation based on state test scores

The Board of Regents voted 10-6 to approve the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system that bases 50% of the evaluation on the test scores of the students sitting in the classroom.  The current evaluation system is not just bad for our teachers; it is bad for our students!

I am getting tired of the ‘heavy hearts’ and ‘nose holding’ but still going along with what Governor Cuomo wants. The state legislators did it in March (read here and here). The board of Regents did it in June and again today. I want someone in Albany to have the guts to stand up and tell Governor Cuomo that his education plans are BAD and New York says No!

Regent Tilles talks of a ‘lack of confidence in the current evaluation system’ but he still voted for it.

“We have to express a lack of confidence in the current evaluation system,” said Regent Roger Tilles of Long Island, who voted for the rules. “We have to express a lack of confidence in the current growth model. We have to … call for changes to the evaluation system as it currently exists.”  – “After debate, Regents pass teacher-evaluation rules”  Democrat & Chronicle September 15, 2015

I KNOW I have a lack of confidence in 10 members of the Board of Regents who voted to continue the current teacher and principal evaluation system that places 50% of the evaluation squarely on the shoulders of the students sitting in the classroom.

Diane Ravitch got it exactly right in her blog on September 16, 2015:

Today, the New York Board of Regents will vote to approve the harsh and punitive educator evaluation plan that Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through the Legislature last spring as part of a budget bill.

In doing so, the Regents will abandon their Constitutional authority over education policy. The New York State Constitution grants full control over education to the Board of Regents. It grants none to the Governor. The Governor does not appoint a single member of the 17-member Board of Regents. The State Legislature selects them. The Governor does not appoint the state Commissioner of Education. That is the job of the Regents.

Today the Regents will approve Cuomo’s plan to tie 50% of educator evaluations to student test scores. The Governor’s plan was shaped in his office, without benefit of hearings, public discussion, public debate, or expert testimony.

The Regents have the power to reassert their Constitutional authority. But they are weak. They will fold to the will of a Governor whose determination to rule is greater than the Regents’ commitment to the State Constitution. Or to the children, or to the educators, or to the best interests of education in New York.

Parents have been ignored throughout this charade of the Governor flexing his political muscle. They will have a chance to be heard next spring, when the tests are administered. More students will opt out, more than the 220,000 who refused the tests in 2015. Will it be 300,000? 400,000? This is parents’ only means to be heard. They will be heard.

I will be doing everything I can to make sure that the 10 Regents who voted in support of the continued emphasis on state testing today will NOT be re-appointed.  Ulster County representative Regent Josephine Finn is one of the 10 who voted to continue the teacher evaluation system that is harmful to our students, teachers and local public schools.

Regents APPR vote 9 16 2015

Regents Rosa, Cashin, Chin, Collins, Johnson and Ouderkirk voted against the teacher evaluation system in June and again today. Please thank them for taking a stand for the children.

I will also be encouraging parents to continue to REFUSE the state tests for grades 3-8.  Apparently 220,000 test REFUSALS were not enough to let New York State know that the tests are unsatisfactory to the parents of New York so I guess we will have to have more REFUSALS.

Test refusal letter links:

 

Diane Ravitch response to the widely expected (and disappointing) “vote” by the NYS Regents today making Cuomo’s attack on public schools permanent. Again, no surprise that the weak Regents bowed to a bully Cuomo, but the blatant ignoring of over 20,000 written appeals to vote NO is appalling. The Regents, Legislature and Governor are all begging parents to Opt their kids out of this mess (oh.. And they’re renaming Common Core – same problems, different name).

All 6 votes against we’re women, all men voted yes joined by 3 women and Brown from Rochester was absent. Nice.

“Today, the New York Board of Regents will vote to approve the harsh and punitive educator evaluation plan that Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through the Legislature last spring as part of a budget bill.

In doing so, the Regents will abandon their Constitutional authority over education policy. The New York State Constitution grants full control over education to the Board of Regents. It grants none to the Governor. The Governor does not appoint a single member of the 17-member Board of Regents. The State Legislature selects them. The Governor does not appoint the state Commissioner of Education. That is the job of the Regents.

Today the Regents will approve Cuomo’s plan to tie 50% of educator evaluations to student test scores. The Governor’s plan was shaped in his office, without benefit of hearings, public discussion, public debate, or expert testimony.

The Regents have the power to reassert their Constitutional authority. But they are weak. They will fold to the will of a Governor whose determination to rule is greater than the Regents’ commitment to the State Constitution. Or to the children, or to the educators, or to the best interests of education in New York.

Parents have been ignored throughout this charade of the Governor flexing his political muscle. They will have a chance to be heard next spring, when the tests are administered. More students will opt out, more than the 220,000 who refused the tests in 2015. Will it be 300,000? 400,000? This is parents’ only means to be heard. They will be heard.”

Call Board of Regents today 9/16/15 BEFORE 3pm!

The resolution to make the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system permanent is on the Board of Regents agenda for 3:15pm today September 16, 2015.

Contact Ulster County Board of Regents member Josephine Finn and tell her to vote NO on making the evaluation system permanent.

Josephine Finn (518) 474-5889  Regent.Finn@nysed.gov

 

Also contact the at-large Board of Regents members and tell them to vote NO.

Merryl Tisch  (518) 474-5889   Regent.Tisch@nysed.gov

Lester W. Young, Jr.  (718) 722-2796  Regent.Young@nysed.gov

James E. Cottrell  (718) 270-2331  Regent.Cottrell@nysed.gov

Wade Norwood  (585) 436-2944 (when you get his work # its 110 NOT 111)  Regent.Norwood@nysed.gov

If you are not familiar with the problems associated with the evaluation system and why it is bad for STUDENTS and teachers, click on the APPR topic in the right sidebar to read more.