In case you missed it:
NYSSBA has a great rundown of what is included in the education portion of the state budget, which the Senate is slated to vote on tomorrow and the Assembly on Thursday.
About 100 people from the Mohawk Valley region attended a Call to Action rally on school funding inequities on Monday, March 18, in the Canajoharie High School auditorium. Hosted by the “Our Students Matter Too!” advocacy group, the event included information about the unequal distribution of school aid in New York State, and how residents can advocate for schools.
Canajoharie Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw said of the rally: “It surpassed all of our
expectations and we appreciate our community’s participation, and look forward
to their continued support in solving the problem of school funding inequity.”
This POV was written by Dr. Patrick Michel, HFM BOCES District Superintendent. It orginally appeared on the HFM Palladin on March 13, 2013
The State Education Department is warning parents and teachers that the scores on this year’s state assessments in grades 3-8 English language arts and math could be dramatically lower than last year. That’s because the 2013 tests reflect the tougher learning standards of Common Core. SED is basing its forecast on test results seen in other states, such as Kentucky where scores dropped 46 percent from the previous year.
It’s understandable that we feel disappointed when we see lower scores, but it should be expected because of the higher educational goals built into Common Core Learning Standards.
On the other hand, maybe we should appreciate this as a wake up call for our students’ sake. They are the ones that must build a life on the educational framework we provide in our schools. Common Core was designed to strengthen the framework and position our kids for a brighter future.
State Education Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz pointed out that evidence of fewer students meeting or exceeding grade-level Common Core expectations is “necessary if we are to be transparent and honest about what our students know and can do as they progress toward college and career readiness.”
That is the crux of the matter. We are conditioned to view lower scores as failure. We don’t like to think that we are less than OK in any way, including education. In fact, our rapidly progressing world will not slow down for an education system that lags behind, and our kids pay the price.
So welcome Common Core into the mix. The initiative, being implemented in 44 states, is a starting point to ensure that our students graduate equipped to succeed on whatever path they choose, whether it is college, vocational training, the military or a job.
This will be challenging, because the learning standards are higher and emphasize critical thinking and communication skills beyond simple memorization of facts. However, this is what our kids need to succeed in the world beyond high school.
This will be hard, because all change is hard, and requires everyone, teachers, students, parents, principals to get past a very natural fear of change to embrace a new model. But the results will be measured in success stories from our graduates.
This may be exasperating, because right off the bat, lower test scores this year will shine a light on where we are not OK, not yet. But that’s not a bad thing. It establishes a baseline for improvement; and offers an opportunity to thoroughly prepare students for their future, the ultimate goal of education.
With a large part of the job now focusing on healthier food and new government guidelines for school lunches, school food service workers’ jobs are evolving faster than ever before.
We’re all familiar with the classic lunch lady stereotype – hairnet, ladle in hand, grumbling at students, as they file through the line. Well, don’t tell that to students at Shenendehowa Schools. To them, their lunch ladies might as well be celebrities.
This story out of Shenedehowa talks about the significance of the school food service worker, and why they’re more important now then ever before. (All Over Albany)
Have a story you think would make for a great Stories From Our Schools feature? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
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.
During the month of May, 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received no later
than 5:00 p.m. on April 19, 2013.
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 month of May 2013.
Before submitting your entry, the following technical requirements must be met.
Whether you are submitting an essay, poem, video or drawing – remember – quality counts! So, please be sure to edit before submission.
Check out this article, “Too tough an equation?” from today’s Times Union, on the complexity of the state’s school aid formula.
From the article:
“The formula that determines how much money flows from Albany into the coffers of each school district in the state is notoriously obtuse, and hardly anyone understands exactly how it works. If you ask one of the few who actually knows how the funding formula works to explain it, you’ll get some version of this answer: “It’s too complex to understand.” And yet the funding formula has a tremendous effect on taxpayers. It determines how much money each district will receive. That, in turn, shapes property tax bills, the quality of schools and home values. Even school budget officers have no idea what the fate of their school budgets will be until the day the state releases aid amounts.”
We think it’s about time that people are talking about the formula, and hope that our state leaders do something to address this issue sooner, rather than later.
“Students at area schools are using the Internet not to bury each other, but to praise one another. Without the influence of parents, teachers or principals, students have started Facebook pages to encourage posting anonymous compliments.”
With all the talk these days of cyberbullying, it’s pretty cool to see social media being used for good, not evil!
This article from Reuters ”K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents” certainly got the “spooks parents” part correct. It outlines a new $100 million database(funded by the Gates Foundation) built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.
The database contains files on children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion. So far, seven states – Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts – have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide.
The idea is to “mine” the database to create custom products – educational games for students, lesson plans for teachers, progress reports for principals. Proponents of this approach say that personalized learning is the next big leap forward in education, and the database has “the power to transform classrooms across the U.S.”
Others are worried about what could happen if student records leak, are hacked or are otherwise abused. One parent we spoke with is worried about the potential for drug companies to target kids and their families for drug sales based on test results.(See our post on “Good grades through medication” form more info on this disturbing trend.)
What do you think about this new database? Helpful or harmful?
First we had the tax cap, then a cap on state aid to schools, and now a proposal to “cap” the amount kids and their parents can spend on prom dresses, shoes and limos? What, sounds like crazy talk you say? Check out yesterday’s editorial from the Schenectady Gazette:
“Schools should establish budgets for prom-goers
Prom season is still a few months off, but as Sunday’s Gazette story on a project that provides Johnstown girls with free dresses for the occasion made clear, prime time for prom planning is nigh. Organizations like Elizabeth & Eileen’s Closet in Johnstown and The Cinderella Project of the Capital Region are a godsend for families that can’t afford prom dresses, which can run as high as $500. That may not be as dear as a wedding dress, but it’s pretty darned expensive for a single-occasion garment — even in a middle-class family.
And there are other major expenses as well, like fancy coiffures and manicures, flowers, limousines, tanning and the dinner itself. Some are borne by the boys, others by the girls, but it all adds up to too much money being spent on a single night. And for families that simply don’t have it, it strikes us as unfair.
Occasionally, parents — some, anyway — will pay lip service to the issue in an effort to get the kids to dial back, but it’s not easy for a parent to deny their child something other children are getting. The prom is an emotional event, a milestone in early adulthood, and many parents — perhaps recalling their own teen years — get swept up along with their kids and simply can’t say no, lest their child’s experience be less than “perfect.”
Schools should be the ones to take the lead here, establishing guidelines — if not hard-and-fast boundaries — on how much kids can spend. It’s a real-life teaching opportunity about financial matters and values that kids don’t get often enough, at home or at school.”
Yes, proms are expensive… they actually low-balled it when they said prom dresses can run as high as $500. (Trust us, we know people who can personally attest to this.) Still, we had to chuckle. Do people REALLY think schools are the right entities “to set hard-and-fast boundaries” on how much kids and parents can spend? Schools, not their parents? Who will administer High School’s Proof of Prom Expenditure Dept.? (Sounds like an unfunded mandate to us!) Can you picture the enforcement procedures? The tears and angry parents when a girl’s dress expenses are “denied” or receipts are found to be “forged.” Oh the bureaucracy! Oh the humanity!