Tag Archives: Board of Regents

Common Core divides New York State’s Regents board

Regent Betty A. Rosa wants people to know that her board of 17 members aren’t all in agreement about the public education reform agenda that’s currently upsetting many parents, teachers and school administrators statewide.

“They are using false information to create a crisis, to take the state test and turn it on its head to make sure the suburbs experience what the urban centers experience: failure,” said Rosa, a former teacher, principal and superintendent from the Bronx.

Click here for the full article.

The Board of Regents will be meeting next Monday and Tuesday October 20 and 21, 2014 in Albany. If you have concerns about the reform agenda or anything else the Regents will be discussing, you can contact the Board of Regents member representing Ulster County Josephine Finn before the meeting – RegentFinn@mail.nysed.gov or (518) 474-5889.


Rob Astorino’s Education Plan for New York State

Rob Astorino is running for Governor of New York State and he has vowed to Stop Common Core if elected as Governor.  His 15 point education plan presents what he will replace Common Core with as well as his vision for education over all in New York State.

This bold plan will replace Common Core with high standards achieved at the local level, with the input of parents and teachers, and it will make the governor’s office directly responsible for school improvements through an executive-appointed State Education Commissioner.”

Astorino’s plan also calls for, among other things, increased vocational training and greater availability of science, technology, engineering and math programs. It also would reduce reliance on “high stakes assessments,” and increase “life skills training,” such as nutritional and financial literacy instruction.  – Daily News, September 2, 2014

The 15 points are:

Astorino’s plan:

1 – Replace Common Core and with standards and curriculum developed by in-state educators with input from parents.

2 – Develop more accurate measures of student, teacher and school performance, reducing reliance on high stakes assessments.

3 – Reform Board of Regents by creating an elected 13-member board.

4-  The governor appoints education commissioner who must be confirmed by the Board of Regents with a majority vote.

5 – Increase availability of vocational training in schools for careers in home economics, carpentry, mechanics, electrical, etc.

6 – Increase coordination between community colleges, local school districts and local industry.

7 -Increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in schools.

8- Create three new diplomas: Career and Technical Education (CTE); STEM Regents; Academic Regents.

9 – Ensure full funding for special education services.

10 – Increase life skills training in schools, such as nutritional literacy instruction in middle school and financial literacy instruction in high school.

11 – Provide more school choices for parents of children in schools determined to be failing, including more charter school availability and vouchers for private or religious school.

12 – Pass the Education Investment Tax Credit to encourage more private donations to public and private schools.

13 – A new marketing campaign to encourage greater parental involvement in their child’s education.

14 – Combat chronic absenteeism.

15 – Begin foreign language instruction in elementary school.

Daily News, September 2, 2014

and the full plan can be read here.

Feds feed testing mania, New York State Regent Phillips says

At least one New York State Board of Regents member is NOT happy with Arne Duncan’s rejection of the request to allow special education students to be tested two grades below their actual grade level and he believes he knows why the tests MUST go on!

Why is there a testing mania? The need for accountability is the claim. But it is well known that countries whose students far outperform ours require much less testing. A claim for the efficacy of Big Data is made by Pearson and other education testing companies. Testing more frequently is supposed to give us more data. In the long run, more data is supposed to improve our education system. For sure, it improves the bottom line of companies that provide the tests.

Read Regent Phillips opinion article in lohud here.

UPDATE 9/8/14:  This article gives additional explanation regarding the New York State request to allow special education students to be tested two grades below their grade level.

Parents and Educators Reject the Tests, the Scores and Corporate Agenda of NYSED & Pearson

Test scores for the 2014 New York State standardized math and ELA tests were released yesterday.  The following press release articulates concerns that many parents and educators have with the tests themselves and the resulting scores.

More information contact:
Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) http://www.nysape.org

Parents and Educators Reject the Tests, the Scores and Corporate Agenda of NYSED & Pearson

Today Commissioner John King and Chancellor Merryl Tisch released the test scores of the state exams in 3-8th grades, showing that, more than 68% of the state’s students were judged not proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) and more than 64% not proficient in Math. The overall results were largely flat with little to no change year over year with only small gains and drops for specific demographic groups.

Members of the New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of more than 50 parent and educator advocacy groups, challenge the quality of the tests, the accuracy of the scores, and the motives of those who have manufactured these results. This past spring, NYSAPE estimated that at least 44,000 students had opted out of the state exams; today the Commissioner admitted that the number was as large as 60,000 compared to 10,000 in 2013.

As the growing problems with New York’s excessive and speculative testing reforms are exposed, parents across the state are outraged and calling for an overhaul at the state education department.

Lisa Rudley, Westchester county public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE said, “Though Commissioner John King assured us that the new Common Core state tests would be a much better reflection of the skills students will need for ‘college and career’ success with the release of 50% of the questions last week, we learned what educators were forbidden by law from telling us: these were flawed tests, riddled with vague questions, inappropriate reading passages and multiple product placements. In its new Pearson contract signed amidst a financial crisis, NYSED doubled annual spending on testing and even worse, eliminated the transparency of the previous McGraw-Hill contract. Where is the management from NYSED and the oversight from the Board of Regents?”

Dr. Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School on Long Island said, “Considering the more than $28 million taxpayer investment in curriculum modules, this paltry increase in scores is one more indication of the ineffectiveness of State Education Department’s reforms, and the inappropriateness of the Common Core tests. Parents should take heart in knowing that the ‘college readiness‘ proficiency scores have no connection with reality. My high school and many other well-resourced high schools in NY have proven records of preparing students for college success that are no way connected to the state’s newest measure of proficiency.”

Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE said, “If the released questions are this bad, you have to wonder how much worse the other half were. I have no confidence in the results released today. Parents now demand new leadership for a Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education who repeatedly fail to adequately respond to their legitimate concerns.”

“Many of the multiple choice questions required up to five steps and compelled 8 year olds to flip back forth between numbered paragraphs. The question becomes more of a measure of attention, memory and test taking skills rather than their deep understanding of a text. The commissioner has stated that education should not be about test prep, but these tricky assessments all but ensure that test prep will continue — to the detriment of real learning,” said Bianca Tanis, an Ulster County public school parent and special education teacher.

Jeanette Deutermann, Nassau County public school parent and founder of Long Opt Out said, “This past spring, 55,000 to 60,000 New York State students were spared from yet another year of test scores that were designed to show a large majority of failures. The number of opt outs will steadily grow until NYSED takes the concerns of parents seriously and makes the necessary changes to our children’s excessive high stakes testing regimen. High stakes testing and the Regents Agenda have hijacked our classrooms, and every day more parents become aware of how they too must protect their children from these harmful policies.”

Jessica McNair, Oneida County public school parent and educator notes, “Until the NYSED acknowledges that these developmentally inappropriate exams take time away from instruction, cost taxpayers, and set kids up to fail — in an attempt to perpetuate the false narrative of Governor Cuomo’s ‘death penalty’ for schools — parents will continue to refuse to allow their children to participate in these state tests.”

“The test content was not sufficiently disclosed and there was no quality assurance or mechanism for parents or educators to obtain valuable feedback. The bottom line is that students are getting hurt, money is being wasted and precious time is being spent on high stakes testing at the expense of more meaningful instruction. The system surrounding the NYS testing program is dysfunctional to say the least,” said Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent.

Fred Smith, a test specialist formerly with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) stated, “The State Education Department took a half-step by releasing 50 percent of the English and math questions from the April 2014 exams. It was a half-step not just because it falls halfway short of full disclosure, but also because SED fails to provide data at its disposal that would enable objective evaluation of the questions, each of which is a brick in the wall of the testing program.”

“Like many other parents, I see how flawed the tests are as a measure of learning, and fear for all those millions of students who are told, unjustly, and at an early age, they aren’t ‘college and career ready’. These tests which ask our children to prove the existence of Big Foot and expose them to numerous and inappropriate product placements are the furthest from rigor one could imagine. I question the motives of the bureaucrats and the testing companies who are forcing these inappropriate exams onto our children – to try to prove to the public that our schools and children are failing, so they can better pursue their privatization agenda and the outsourcing of education into corporate hands,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.


Action to contact Board of Regents regarding CDOS – Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential

The Board of Regents discussed Multiple Pathways to Graduation as part of the May Education Committee meeting. CDOS, the Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential, was discussed and the May minutes say the discussion will continue with additional information being presented to the Regents by their staff at the June meeting which is next week June 23-24, 2014.

Stop Common Core parent Christine Zirkelbach has written an extensive explanation of her research regarding the various CDOS issues on her blog and here.

The Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential is supposed to be an “important new exiting credential for students with disabilities.”  In reality, it is a door slam in the face.  What the Regents fail to grasp is that there are so many different types of disabilities.  The CDOS ends up being a door shut in the face of about 4% of students in school districts as per parents and teachers that I have talked to since Common Sense Lobby Day.

The CDOS replaces the IEP/local diploma starting in 2015.  Now if students are not able to pass 5 Regents exams (Math, US History, Global History, ELA and Science) and earn a Regents diploma, all they will receive is the CDOS.

The CDOS automatically labels the holder as being ‘disabled’.  CDOS is not currently recognized as a valid credential for admission to college, trade school, the military, civil service or the federal government.  CDOS is specific to New York State so employers outside New York will not accept it for employment (in lieu of a diploma).

Stop Common Core in New York members are asking parents/teachers to join in writing letters to the Board of Regents members regarding CDOS before the Regents meetings next Monday/Tuesday, June 23 and 24, 2014.

Parent Christine Zirkelbach has written this letter if you would like to use it as a sample.

Contact e-mails for the Board of Regent members

New York’s new standards sidelined by Common Core

New York was nearly ready to launch a new set of standards back in 2010, starting with English Language Arts, that sound like they were being put together the right way: local teacher input, public forums, better balance between literature and informational texts, support for English-language learners, de-emphasis on testing, and a lot of the decisions being left to the local schools.

Along comes CCSS and the dangled Race to the Top money and out goes New York’s new standards which would have been a better route.

“The board grabbed the money from ‘race to the bottom’ and tossed out all the work we had done,” said Cohen, a former president of Queens College who served as an at-large regent from 1993 until 2010. “I was very upset, because the national standards weren’t as good. Now we have this mess.”

Read how New York’s school reform was sidelined by Common Core here.

Sad day regarding the Board of Regents

Our New York legislature voted on four Board of Regents seats today.  Unfortunately the outcome of the vote did not do the right thing for our children or our educational system in my opinion.  Many who are concerned over the Common Core Agenda have called for the four incumbents to not be re-elected.  However politics came into play rather than what is best for the kids and three of them returned to the Board of Regents.  Apparently Regent James Jackson, responsible for Ulster County, decided to resign last night – reason unknown.  Josephine Finn, who somehow became a candidate after the deadline for candidacy had passed, was selected to fill the seat vacated last night by Regent Jackson so now Ulster County will be represented for the next 5 years by someone who did not even go through the proper process to become a member of the Board of Regents!

Here are two articles that explain the details of what happened today in the legislature as well as some background information regarding the Board of Regents here and here .

Action needed on Vote for Board of Regents today

Today the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate will be voting on four Board of Regents members. If you are satisfied with education in New York right now, do nothing. If you are NOT satisfied, call Assemblyman Kevin Cahill this morning and urge him to show up for the vote and vote NO on the incumbent regents.

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill contact information:
Albany office (518) 455-4436 Kingston office (845) 338-9610

Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk has indicated that she WILL be voting NO on the incumbent regents. We need to contact her to thank her for the stand she is taking for our students and for education.

Senator Tkaczyk contact information:
Albany office (518) 455-2470 Kingston office (845) 331-3810

If you are like me and did not even know what/who the Board of Regents was prior to six months ago, here is some information .