Friday Rundown 5.9.14

Let us be among the first to wish our Education Speaks moms a Happy Mother’s Day. We hope you enjoy every minute of your special day. Let’s get to the Rundown.

Commissioner John King would like everyone to be working toward a common goal (Albany Times Union)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo opted to deliver a video message to an education conference in Lake Placid that drew protests from teachers’ unions. (Capital New York)

A conversation about tests that educators want to have, but can’t (NY Times)

More state tests on the way for weary students, teachers and parents (Staten Island Advance)

More students opt out of Common Core math exams than English (Watertown Daily Times)

Public pension names public (Albany Times Union)

Schools seek changes to healthier lunch rules (Utica Observer Dispatch)

What will education look like in 10 years? (My Horry News)

Friday Rundown 5.2.14

The first Friday in May. Feels good to say that. Hopefully you’ve had a good week. If you missed anything in the education headlines this week, we have you covered. Here’s your Rundown.

Some pages missing on third-grade math tests (Buffalo News)

The scary way Common Core test ‘cut scores’ are selected (Washington Post)

More state tests, more opt-outs (Daily Gazatte)

In a story that Ed Speaks brought you last week, teachers are planning a protest at the Lake Placid educational ‘retreat’ (Journal News)

Lawmakers vow to delay teacher certification test if Regents won’t (Journal News)

Test teachers, but first train them (Journal News)

Regents weigh pre-K challenges (Capital New York)

New York State Department of Education official interviewing for CNY job (Syracuse Post Standard)

Cuomo remains silent on segregated schools (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

U.S. high school graduation rate is 80% (Daily News)

New York State set to make cheerleading a sport (Capital New York)

Teachers unions get Discovery Channel to cancel ‘Bad Teachers’ show (Fox News)

What conservative activists and comedian Louis C.K. have in common: A hatred of Common Core (National Journal)

BOCES officials opposed to siting gas pipeline on school campus

Here’s an interesting story that is impacting Education Speaks’ home organization:

Citing dangers to students and the future of educational programming at the Career and Technical School Schoharie Campus, Capital Region BOCES officials and area educators recently announced their opposition to the Constitution Pipeline Company’s plan to run a 30” gas pipeline through the Schoharie Career & Tech campus.

Constitution is proposing a 124-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York, which, if approved in its current form, would run through the BOCES Career and Technical Education campus in Schoharie. This would greatly impact the programs offered at the campus, which include several construction and heavy machinery classes that regularly use excavators, backhoes, bulldozers and compaction equipment near the proposed pipeline location.

According to a study commissioned by BOCES, a failure of the pipeline at its campus location would be fatal to any student receiving instruction outdoors, and students inside classrooms would only “most likely survive from [the] blast and/or thermal radiation.”

“The safety and welfare of our students is always our number one concern,” said BOCES Superintendent Dr. Charles Dedrick. “It would be irresponsible for us to endorse the location of a gas pipeline on a BOCES educational facility, particularly one where we are teaching students how to operate heavy machinery.”

Career and Tech students, teachers, and BOCES officials will speak at a public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Monday, March 31, 7 p.m., at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School, 1353 State Route 7, Richmondville.

You can read more about BOCES position on the proposed pipeline here. If you have any questions about the issue, please contact Capital Region BOCES CTE Communications Specialist Bill DeVoe at (518) 478-4809 or

NY has the most segregated public schools in the US

Think that the most racially segregated schools in the US would be located below the Mason-Dixon line? Think again.

According to a study ““New York State’s Extreme School Segregation: Inequality, Inaction and a Damaged Future,” released yesterday from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles, New York has the most segregated public schools in the country. From the release:

“The study explores trends in enrollment and school segregation patterns from 1989 to 2010 at the state and regional levels, including the New York City metropolitan areas of Long Island and the New York City District, and the upstate metropolitan areas of Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse…Public school students in the state are increasingly isolated by race and class as the proportion of minority and poor students continues to grow.”

Scary stuff, especially after last week’s report that found racial disparities in school discipline policies are not only well-documented among older students, but actually begin during preschool, just one facet of the race inequality that continues in our public schools.


Action alert: Tell your legislators that you’ve had enough!

The Governor and Legislative Leaders are attempting right now to resolve major issues in order to enact an on-time state budget before the start of the new state fiscal year, on April 1. This final action will determine how much state aid your school district receives next school year and what ultimately will happen to school programs across the state.

There is still time to influence their decisions. 

NYSCOSS has an easy way to tell your legislators that we’ve had ENOUGH! Enough of what you might ask?

Enough – of shortchanging state aid to public schools, by Gap Elimination
Adjustment cuts and Foundation Aid freezes!

Enough – of cynically underfunding public schools, by shortchanging state
aid and capping local revenues while falling short on mandate relief!

Enough – of considering a proposal for a destructive, ill-conceived local
tax freeze that ignores the tough choices school districts leaders and
voters have been making all along, to hold down taxes and spending while
trying to preserve opportunities for children!

Enough – of schemes to expand charter schools and give tax credits for
private schools, undercutting the state’s capacity to support the public
schools that educate roughly 85 percent of the state’s children!

Please share this resource with your friends, family and anyone you know who cares about public education in NYS.

Calling all students: Speak up and be heard during Kids Speak Week!

KidspkWkEducation is and will always be about students. Speak up and be heard!

Public education in New York State is being threatened, and while we hear a lot about what politicians, educators and parents have to say about it there is one voice that is often missing — the kids.

Budget cuts will have an impact on students, but there are still many things to be excited about in education today. New technologies and innovations are finding their ways into the classroom, giving students an advantage unlike ever before. These are the stories that only students can tell and we want to hear about them.

This April, we’ll be letting students from around NYS take over Ed Speaks and talk about why education is important to them. We’re looking for all different types of creative expression, poems, pictures, videos and essays, so get those brain juices flowing!

Below are the submission guidelines. Help us spread the word by sharing out this flyer!

Submission Guidelines:

Students may submit essays, videos, poems or drawings that highlight an aspect of education that is important to them. All entries should be newsworthy, constructive and thought-provoking and must be consistent to the Education Speaks commenting guidelines. All entries must contain the student’s name, school and grade. Submissions
can be e-mailed to and must be received no later
than 5:00 p.m. on April 8, 2014.

All submissions will be reviewed by the Education Speaks editorial board. The decision to run the submission on the Education Speaks blog will be based on the total amount received and the relevancy of the content. Selected entries will run on Education Speaks throughout the week of April 14.

Before submitting your entry, the following technical requirements must be met.

  • Written submissions: Any written submission should be kept to 500 words or less. It can be submitted in a Microsoft Word document, or as plain text in an e-mail.
  • Videos: All videos must be uploaded to YouTube and should be no longer than five (5) minutes in length. Please e-mail the URL, along with your name, school and grade, upon submission.
  • Pictures/Drawings: All pictures or drawings should be saved as a .jpeg and sent as an attachment in the e-mail.

Whether you are submitting an essay, poem, video or drawing – remember – quality counts! So, please be sure to edit before submission.

Cuomo’s Common Core recommendations are out

In case you missed it, last night Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Implementation Panel released its preliminary recommendations. Critics say there isn’t much new here and that nearly all of them have already been adopted by the State Board of Regents or proposed by lawmakers

The short version:

Protect students from inappropriate high-stakes testing by:

    • Banning standardized “bubble tests” for young children (K-2)
    • Protecting students from high stakes based on unfair test results
    • Using instructional time for teaching and learning – not over-testing.

Provide better support for parents and teachers by:

    • Treating parents as essential partners in Common Core implementation.
    • Ensuring that teachers receive the training and support they need and deserve.
    • Giving educators access to quality Common Core curriculum resources as quickly as possible.

Improve public trust in Common Core implementation by:

    • Ensuring ongoing parental and citizen participation and input into Common Core implementation

Protect student privacy by:

    • Establishing strict data protection and security requirements, while ensuring that appropriate educational and operational data-sharing can occur.
    • Halting the state’s relationship with inBloom.

You can check out some news coverage of these “familiar” recommendations hereherehere and here.

And this: Common Core panelist says ‘incomplete’ report was rushed out.

Cuomo commercial calls testing on Common Core “premature”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be hitting the airwaves soon with a new commercial aimed at addressing the issue of testing on Common Core, and the need to slow down the implementation of the standards.

Here’s the script:

“Hello, I’m Governor Andrew Cuomo. For all of us, there’s nothing more important than our children and their education is everything.

While the state’s new Common Core curriculum is heading in the right direction, testing on it is premature.

It creates anxiety and it’s just unfair. And their scores should not be counted against them.

I won’t let our children’s scores be counted against our kids.

Please tell your legislator to join me in protecting our children.

Because education is about helping our kids, not hurting them.”

Though not a total surprise, the Governor doesn’t offer any suggestions in the commercial as to how he will help “protect” our children. The other interesting aspect of the commercial is that while Cuomo states that students shouldn’t have their test scores count against them under Common Core, he fails to mention whether or not teachers should continue to have their students’ scores count against them.

NYSUT has called for a three-year moratorium on teacher evaluations tied to test results.

What’s your take on the commercial? Let us know in the comments below.