Can Teachout Put Cuomo Out?

Offering her views on Common Core, Zephyr Teachout writes, “If I am elected governor, I will fight every day to make sure New York’s children have the best schools in the country. I will immediately halt implementation of the Common Core. I believe the best path to high standards is to work more closely with teachers and parents, and with the Legislature and the Board of Regents. Where the problem is federal policy, I will lead a delegation of parents and educators to Washington to demand that federal officials stop dictating how we educate our own children. As did the founding generation in America, I believe public education is the infrastructure of democracy. The best public education is made democratically, in the local community: when parents, teachers, and administrators work together to build and refine the education models and standards right for our children.”

Teachout submitted 45,000 signatures for validation to be placed on the ballot for the Democratic primary; only 15,000 were required. Political analysts have said that the Cuomo camp will challenge the signatures.

Should all go well and Teachout makes the ballot, she and her running mate, Tim Wu, provide a viable alternative to voting for an incumbent running unchallenged within the party.

Cuomo’s history concerning education policy for New York is unacceptable. Though Teachout has not stated publicly that she supports or does not support charter, private, or public schools, the fact that she is receptive to local control of education policy and is willing to approach the problem at the Federal level is promising.

As in any political race, who wins is not as important as holding whomever wins accountable for and to the statements they make concerning the issues.

If New Yorkers are dissatisfied with Cuomo then they should vote for Teachout and make sure they hold her to her word. Being allowed to lead without accountability will always lead to corruption.

It is the responsibility of the citizens of America to make sure our politicians speak with our voice and our voice must speak for the children.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

From The Federal Register

Extension of Public Comment Period; Request for Information on Addressing Significant Disproportionality Under Section 618(d) of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

Summary:
On June 19, 2014, we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 35154) a request for information (RFI) seeking comment on actions that the Department should take to address significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity in the identification, placement, and discipline of children with disabilities. The RFI established a July 21, 2014, deadline for the submission of written comments. We are extending the comment period to July 28, 2014.

Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery.

For anyone involved in this particular issue of our current system of education, it is clear that research has shown African American males are disproportionately overrepresented in special education and disabled populations.

One wonders if this would be the case should the focus of the system of education be changed so that it concentrates on the gifts and talents of all children.

To discount the fact that these children, whether or not they fit into the standardized, norm referenced educational world that exists today, have something to give, and to ignore their individual abilities and intelligences is to continue to facilitate the failure of our nation’s youth.

As a concerned educational community, it is inherent upon us to not only comment on this significant disproportionality but to work together to change the language of Federal Entitlements so that they reflect and support the positive nature and aspects of all of our children.

It is through our voice that change will occur. Taking the time to comment is a valuable action that allows our elected officials the opportunity to choose between quiet corporate control or the collective public vote that could mean the loss of their position.

Our children must know and understand that we are willing to fight for their future. We are their role models. We must show them that it is worthwhile being an adult before we can convince them it is worthwhile growing up.

Join the Movementto Save Our Children!

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

Published in August 3, 2004 in Education Week and Updated: July 7, 2011, the article “Achievement Gap” states,
“The “achievement gap” in education refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. The achievement gap shows up in grades, standardized-test scores, course selection, dropout rates, and college-completion rates, among other success measures. It is most often used to describe the troubling performance gaps between African-American and Hispanic students, at the lower end of the performance scale, and their non-Hispanic white peers and the similar academic disparity between students from low-income families and those who are better off.”

This is to say that the current system of education judges our children by the color of their skin, their cultural background, and their parents economic condition.

The article continues, “Under President Barack Obama’s Administration, the U.S. Department of Education also stepped up attention on gender and racial gaps in students’ college enrollment and success rates . . .”

Women are being held to that same “white Male” bar, as well as non-English speakers and children who have been classified with a disability.

“Many experts have since asserted that achievement gaps are the result of more subtle environmental factors and “opportunity gaps” in the resources available to poor versus wealthy children. Being raised in a low-income family. . . often means having fewer educational resources at home, in addition to poor health care and nutrition. . .studies have also found that children in poverty whose parents provide engaging learning environments at home do not start school with the same academic readiness gaps . . . (U.S. Department of Education, 2000; Viadero, 2000, Sparks, 2011).

Proof that poverty is a culture not a condition.

We must hold public schools accountable for providing the same educational environments and learning experiences that the children of the wealthy receive; a child centered, developmentally appropriate, arts based, experiential education, delivered in a 15:1 teacher/student class size, focused on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children.

All of America’s children deserve an excellent education.

All children deserve to achieve educational success.

It is up to us to fight for their rights.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Public Funds – Public Education

Applications for New Awards; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities, including international activities, to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act).

84.133B-6, Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Condition: $875,000
84.133B-7, Community Living and Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions: $875,000
Application deadline: August 29, 2014
Eligible Applicants: States; public or private agencies, including for-profit agencies; public or private organizations, including for-profit organizations; IHEs; and Indian tribes and tribal organizations.

The Federal government is offering public and private agencies nearly two million dollars in grant awards to successfully transition individuals with disabilities into society.

Those same public dollars should be spent discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of All children, preparing them for a successful transition into adulthood from the time they enter the public school system.

To continue to allow the government to make public funds available to private concerns that perpetuate the inequities that exist throughout our system of government which insure their profits, is to continue to support the takeover of America by corporate moguls.

It is the responsibility of every American citizen to stand up against those who would use their financial power to control the direction of our nation by raising our voice and making our elected officials listen to the people and not the dollar signs and data bits of the elite.

The purpose of this two million dollar program, is the purpose of education.

An excellent education that is developmentally appropriate, child centered, founded in the Arts, and experiential would not require a supplemental program to insure its success.

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Many Issues – One Side – The Children’s Side

It is unclear why the American public is so adamant about reforming and maintaining our current system of education.

It is clear that our current system of education is designed to perpetuate a classist, racist, sexist, society that classifies an individual according to their inabilities rather than their gifts and talents.

To become caught up in the politics and greed inherent in the current system of education is to loose sight of the fact that this standardizing, dehumanizing system of education is failing to provide even a “sound basic” education to any of our children. It is not worth reforming but must be changed so that the focus is on the child, not the data or the dollars.

This is not a Democratic or Republican, or any other party issue.

America’s children belong to Americans and our American government, Democrats and Republicans are failing our children, not our schools.

Both Democrats and Republican have been party to a system of education that has been failing our children for decades.

There is only one side to take when we talk about the excellent education of all of our children, the side of the children.

If we know that charter and private schools provide a better education than their public school counterparts, it is the responsibility of our public school system to meet and exceed charter and private school standards.

Dissecting the public school system and divvying up the $500 billion dollars in public funds for education between and among companies that provide educational services is not a rational response to the problems we face in education today. It is however, a profit making plan for corporations who see huge benefits in creating a “working” populous that does not question but complies.

It is time to realize that the fight in education is not about its form and function, it is about the failure of our children to know and understand how wonderfully gifted and talented they are and how much they have to contribute to their world.

Our children, our nation, our world, our future.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Detrimental Distractions

People and corporations are not the problem in education today, it is the system of education, that has been failing children for more than five decades that has created the lackadaisical attitude of Americans towards the workings of their government.

Education is not the only system in America that is failing. Our financial system, health system, retirement system, all failing because Americans are not willing to do their due diligence and elect political leaders based upon their ability to represent the voice of the people on these issues.

If corporate America is taking over education, it is because the “people” have not lent their voice to the decision making power of the legislature.

If Broad, Gates, Duncan, and King support a system of education that is standardizing and dehumanizing, it is up to the citizens of America to stand together and say “NO” we, the people, will not accept it.

Concentrating on curriculum, testing, evaluations, Union or no union, corporate influence and profits, charter schools, private schools, or any of the other parts of the system is detrimental to recognizing the fact that the entire system of education in America is dehumanizing, developmentally inappropriate, outdated, and functionally inefficient and ineffective.

The focus of education is misplaced as well.

The focus and goal of education should be to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of all children.

We, the people of the United States, are allowing the elite to control our government through our silence.

Our silence is assured through the ignorance of mis-education which assures their profits.

Those that have, will continue to make money from the unwillingness of the American people to demand that our political leaders remove private influence from public decision making.

The current system of education must be changed so that the excellent education of ALL of America’s children is the primary focus and public tax dollars must fund public education.

All children deserve a developmentally appropriate, child centered, arts based, experiential learning environment, where dedicated teachers and engaged students learn about themselves, each other, and life.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Our Children Must Be Our Priority

From the Federal Register:
Application for New Awards; CSP Grants for National Leadership Activities
The purpose of the CSP Grants for National Leadership Activities competition is to support efforts by eligible entities to improve the quality of charter schools by providing technical assistance and other types of support on issues of national significance and scope.

Priorities: This notice includes two absolute priorities, two competitive preference priorities, and one invitational priority.

Absolute Priority 1—Improving Efficiency through Economies of Scale.
This priority is for projects of national significance and scope that promote shared systems for acquiring goods or services to achieve efficiencies in the use of time, staff, money, services for special populations, or other resources for the purpose of creating, supporting, and sustaining high-quality charter schools (as defined in this notice).

Absolute Priority 2—Improving Accountability.
This priority is for projects of national significance and scope that are designed to improve authorized public chartering agencies’ capacity to conduct rigorous application reviews; monitor and oversee charter schools using multiple sources of data, including disaggregated student data, and measurable performance goals; close under-performing schools; replicate and expand high-performing schools; maintain a portfolio of high-quality charter schools; and evaluate and disseminate information on the performance of charter schools.

Public tax dollars should fund excellent public schools.

If the federal government knows what priorities should exist for charter schools, those same priorities should be placed on public schools to hold them accountable for the educational success of their students.

As well, public schools should have the same educational freedoms as charter schools to provide a developmentally appropriate, child centered, arts based, experiential learning environment with low teacher:student ratios that enable school personnel to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of the students who win their lottery and are accepted into their schools.

Public tax dollars should ensure that EVERY child in America receives a “Presidential” education.

Receiving an excellent education must not depend on luck or fortune.

Every child in the world deserves an excellent education and America must be the leader in this effort.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

No Comment – No Change

In his book The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams, stated that the American dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

Final Priorities, Requirements, and Definitions-
Charter Schools Program (CSP) Grants for National Leadership Activities:
The purpose of the CSP is to increase national understanding of the charter school model by—
(1) Providing financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools;
(2) Evaluating the effects of charter schools, including the effects on students, student academic achievement, staff, and parents;
(3) Expanding the number of high-quality charter schools (as defined in the notice) available to students across the Nation; and
(4) Encouraging the States to provide support to charter schools for facilities financing in an amount that is more commensurate with the amount the States have typically provided for non-chartered public schools.
The purpose of the CSP Grants for National Leadership Activities (CFDA 84.282N) is to support efforts by eligible entities to improve the quality of charter schools by providing technical assistance and other types of support on issues of national significance and scope.

Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, 38 parties submitted comments on the proposed priorities, requirements, and definitions.

Our federal, state, and local tax dollars should be spent making sure public schools across this nation provide our children with the same, child centered, arts based, experiential education that the children of the wealthy receive.

To use public tax dollars to dissect and drain the life from the public school system is unconscionable and unconstitutional.

It is up to the citizens of this nation, to use our voice and stop the blatant takeover of the public school system of education by private concerns.

All children in America must be federally guaranteed an excellent education.

As a nation we must take responsibility for providing every child in America with a developmentally appropriate, arts based, experiential education that discovers, develops, and directs their gifts and talents.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

New Year – Old System

A new school year will begin soon with Dr. Christiana Otuwa, from Pittsburgh who will be replacing Beverly Burrell as Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, a division of the Rochester City School district that has drained millions from the school budget for decades with little evidence of success in fostering student achievement.

Catherine Mason has taken on a new role as Director of Pupil Personnel Services, receiving $115,000 annual salary which would easily afford at least two school counselors for students.

This is the education shuffle.

For superintendents, administrators, principals, and teachers the end of the school year brings a new shuffle of the educational personnel deck.

Buildings are closed, cleaned, renovated, and restructured and in six weeks when the dust settles, students will return to the same system of educational failure from which they found reprieve six weeks earlier.

Everyone knows the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing again and again while expecting different results” yet no one seems to recognize the insanity that exists within our current system of education.

Each year as the school year draws to an end, transfers and displacements are sent out and the mad hunt for a new building in which to work is undertaken by hundreds of school employees.

Each year hundreds of school employees begin a new school year in a new school with no discernible difference in the culture, atmosphere, climate, environment, or intent or focus of instruction from their old school.

Changing states, districts, or schools does not change the system of education that is failing our children.

Shuffling personnel from building to building does not help foster student achievement but actually deters it.

Educational success will only be achieved when the focus of education is placed on the children that we are charged with educating.

New directors will make a difference only if they have the courage and strength to take the district in a new direction.

Concentrating on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of ALL children is the only direction that will lead to their educational success.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Yays And “What did she say?”

On June 19th, 2014, Spencerport teachers threw their hat into the education advocacy ring by holding a public forum on NYS Testing, Grades 3-8 while addressing concerns about the appropriateness, relevance and transparency of the 2014 State exams.

Additionally, teachers wrote and sent a letter to the New York State Department of Education speaking out against and standing up to the role of testing in the educational lives of our children.

To date, this letter has 5,500 signatures. It is well written, sticks to the facts, and concentrates on the irrelevance of the test to student achievement.

Concerned stakeholders in education should read and consider signing this document in support of their efforts to change the focus of education onto our children.

Below is a YouTube video of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President, Randi Weingarten speaking at the same forum held by Spencerport teachers.

It is important to listen to the entire 7 minutes, 47 seconds however, some key moments occur at:

1:52 – “We had a very different culture . . . before Pearson.”

2:21 – “I happen to think that the Common Core has potential.”

3:36 – “We have an obligation to our kids and to our parents to see those tests and use them to have the data to help kids in real time . . .” and the State of New York, “should have negotiated a contract with Pearson to enable that to happen . . .”

At 4:20 Ms. Weingarten explains she sent a union representative to, “read a letter to the Pearson Board of Directors” to say, “stop these gag orders.” with a petition signed by 70,000 people that was ignored.

At 7:20 Ms. Weingarten states, “If you want to make money off of kids, you actually have to solve the problems that we raise.” which is all education reform tends to do, solve the problems that are raised while continuing to fail our children.

When we know and understand the facts, our emotions are not so easily led.

Kudos to Rob Allen and Emmy Thevanesan, Spencerport teachers, community members and all community activists working diligently to change the focus of education so that it concentrates on our children.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

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