Friday Rundown: 4.18.14

Good morning! Did you realize that every day this week was a palindrome?

4/13/14
4/14/14
4/15/14
4/16/14
4/17/14
4/18/14
4/19/14

Pretty cool, right? We’ll call it Fun Fact Friday. On to the Rundown.

Cuomo accepts pro-charter role (Albany Times Union)…Editorial: Cuomo drives schools to the brink  (Glens Falls Post Star)

State senator joins push to delay teacher exam (Journal News)

There are 215 more master teachers in NY (Journal News)

Web Essay: When teachers can’t teach, students fail (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

They still don’t get it about Common Core (Times Herald Record – subscription may be required)

Opt-out movement gains traction across region (Buffalo News)

Revised SAT Won’t Include Obscure Vocabulary Words (NY Times)

Editorial: Allow voters to decide on taxes (Glens Falls Post Star)

Editorial: Happy, unhappy times for school budgets in Elmira region (Elmira Star Gazette)

Schumer calls for funding to fight school violence (Buffalo News)

Parental involvement is overrated (NY Times)

5 Ways School Libraries Can Stay Relevant in the Digital Age (Center for Digital Education)

Kids Speak Week: “I’m asking for all small schools like us to be funded the way we should be.”

Kidspk

Today’s Kids Speak Week post is from Catalina Rusaw, a junior at Brasher Falls Central High School.

Currently there is a budget cut calling for all the arts at my school to be cut. What does that mean for me? That means that all the programs I am included in, that make me look forward to going to school, that help me enjoy high school will no longer be available for me. What does that mean for other students? They will be lessened a college opportunity. Some of these kids depend on these programs for scholarships, for a career. The state owes small public schools like us over 3 million dollars. Why haven’t we seen any of this money? Because of something called the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). This is the reason most small schools are in fiscal peril. This started first back in 2010, in the first four years schools have lost $7.7 billion in state aid that was promised to us by law. That averages out to about $2,895 per student. Schools only have two options raise property taxes or cut programs, services and staff. Because Brasher Falls is such a small school district, we can’t raise the taxes anymore because nobody has the income to pay for them so we are forced to cut the arts. I’m asking for all small schools like us to be funded the way we should be.

Kids Speak Week: “Something needs to be done; my future is at stake.”

Kidspk

Today’s Kids Speak Week entry comes from Brittany Hunter, a 10th grader from the Herkimer Central School District.

It has been brought to my attention that eight more teachers have been laid off in my school, Herkimer Jr/Sr High school. Most of the classes that I signed up for next year aren’t even going to be there. This school is falling apart and my education is at stake. It’s hard enough for me to try and make myself stand out to colleges now, but add on these new budget cuts and there will be nothing left. I’m being deprived of my education.

In order to figure out what path I want to take in life, I need classes. As of now, I think I may want to have a career in Dietetics and I was ecstatic when I discovered that I could take a Nutrition and Fitness class. I planned on increasing my chances of being accepted into a good college by getting an internship in the nutrition field. Because of these cuts, I’m never going to be able to excel; my opportunities are being taken away from me. I need that class to help me see if that’s the right career path for me.

I have built up a very strong opinion about the events that are currently taking place in schools, and I want to be a part of standing up for my education. It’s not right that the students are being penalized. Something needs to be done; my future is at stake.

 

Friday Rundown 4.11.14

Good morning! Friday is here and that is reason enough to smile. Here’s your Rundown from the past week.

NYSUT votes in first female president (Albany Times Union)

State Ed turns to BOCES to track student data (Journal News)

Problems with Common Core tests harder to spot with fewer students taking them (Watertown Daily Times)

In testimony, Arne Duncan continues to distance himself from Common Core (Ed Week)

Stephen Colbert on Common Core confusion (Colbert Report)

State Education trends (CATO Institute)

Finally, our thoughts and well-wishes go out to the students and families of Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, PA. We applaud your bravery in the face of such danger. May you find comfort during this traumatic time.

Which schools in New York send the most students to college?

The Syrcause Post Standard compiled data released by the state of nearly 700 school districts examining what high schools in New York have the best record of sending students to college.

A few statewide facts

  • 4 school districts sent 100 percent of their students who completed high school to colleges. (All had fewer than 200 students in the graduating class.)
  • 18 districts sent 50 percent or fewer of their students who completed high school to colleges.
  • 16 schools sent 100 percent of their students who completed high school to colleges. (All had fewer than 200 students in the graduating class.)
  • 89 schools sent 50 percent or fewer of their students who completed high school to colleges.
sed_grad_readiness

Source: NYSED

According to the State Education Department, in June 2012, 140,933 students statewide were not ready for college or careers following four years in high school.

For a listing of all school districts in the report, click here.

Source: New York State Education Department, 2011-12 school report cards

NYSUT elects first female president, issues vote of “no confidence” in commissioner

Karen Magee, an elementary and special education teacher from Westchester County was elected president of the New York State United Teachers and it’s 600,000 members over the weekend.

Magee becomes the first female president of NYSUT, succeeding Richard Iannuzzi, who served in the same role since 2005. Magee was elected to a three-year term.

“Our team stands for change and our work begins now,” Magee said. “That includes taking on the tough fights and communicating clearly with decision makers at every level. We will be the voice they cannot ignore. We will defend public education and public service. Period.”

According to NYSUT’s website, Magee is a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors and its Policy Council. She is an elected representative to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System. For more than a decade, Magee has served as an officer of the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body, AFL-CIO and was the first woman to receive the WPCLB Labor Award.

Over the weekend, the state’s largest union also issued a vote of “no confidence” in John King, calling for his removal as education commissioner.

In a unanimous vote, NYSUT also withdrew their support for the Common Core Learning Standards as interpreted and implemented in New York state and, in a separate resolution, supported the rights of parents and guardians to opt their children out of high-stakes tests.

“There is a revolution under way. Parents and teachers, standing together on behalf of what’s best for students, have made it clear that ‘enough is enough,’” then-NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said. “We have had it with top-down decision-making that ignores the voices of parents and teachers, and we’ve had it with a broken ideology that values obsessive testing and data collection over teaching and learning and meeting the needs of the whole child.”

The recently approved state budget puts into law a series of recommendations to immediately improve the implementation of the Common Core in New York, including banning standardized “bubble tests” for young children, protecting students from high stakes testing based on unfair results, ensuring instructional time is used for teaching and learning and not over-testing, and protecting the privacy of students.

Friday Rundown 4.4.14

Good Friday morning to everyone. From the state budget to possible changes coming to teacher evaluations, this week had a little bit of everything and education was very much at the heart of it. Here’s your weekly Rundown.

State Budget Passes

Testing Opt Outs

Teacher Evaluation Changes?

 

Cuomo: Effects of Common Core tests on teacher evals something “we have to deal with”

Via Jessica Bakeman: Gov. Cuomo said Tuesday that the state needs to take action and protect teachers and principals from “premature” consequences of low scoring Common Core-based test scores. This is a new wrinkle to the evaluation process from Cuomo, as he’s been hard pressed to bend on any teacher evaluation changes.

The recently approved state budget puts into law a series of recommendations to immediately improve the implementation of the Common Core in New York, including banning standardized “bubble tests” for young children, protecting students from high stakes testing based on unfair results, ensuring instructional time is used for teaching and learning and not over-testing, and protecting the privacy of students.

“If you said Common Core testing was premature for students and you just halted the grades on the transcript, then what is your opinion about the impact of Common Core testing on teachers’ evaluations and what should be done?” Cuomo said. “We need to address it before the end of session.”

In a recent op-ed piece in the Albany Times Union, NYSUT president Richard Iannuzzi expressed his frustration with the current evaluation system.

“Teachers deserve much better than ‘gotcha’ evaluations based on discredited and invalid measures of student performance,” he said. “Until the Regents and state education department fully get it right and can ensure that student assessments and teacher evaluations are accurate and fair measures of what happens in the classroom, New York must honor the intent of the teacher evaluation law and delay high-stakes consequences.”

In her article, Bakeman notes that Cuomo’s timing on this issue is interesting, as it follows NYSUT’s launch of a $1.5 million advertising campaign against him. They’ve also been critical of Cuomo for his recent pro-charter schools position.

What are your thoughts? Should the teacher evaluation system be addressed as it relates to Common Core test scores? Sound off in the comments below.