The Political Attitude Toward Education Reform

In trying to inform and enlighten our political leaders as to the state of education and what can be done to improve the system of education for every child in America, this response was received from our elected officials.

Assemblymen Morelli and Gantt are still pushing for mayoral control so that they can control RCSD dollars.

Governor Cuomo’s office refused to meet with a consortium of concerned community activists who have worked tirelessly to research and address the problems education faces and provide relevant, effective, and efficient solutions to those problems.

Instead, the Governor’s New Education Committee produced a list of recommendations that simply reface our current corporate model of education, providing our children with the same failing system of education.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s office granted the consortium a meeting which Congresswoman Slaughter did not attend. Another meeting was requested in February with Congresswoman Slaughter however her office has yet to respond to the consortium’s request.

This is the type of apathetic attitude of our elected leaders that has brought educational failure to our nation. When our elected leaders cannot see and understand the importance of an excellent education that centers of the gifts and talents of our children, then it is time for a changing of the guards.

Currently our government is replete with politicians that have the corporate best interest in mind and are willing to sell our children’s future for mere millions in order to fill the business order for a 21st Century workforce.

It is up to the American people, the government of the United States, to expose and eliminate the corporate influence on our current political structure.

It is up to the American people to break free of the habit of voting for a party and use their vote to elect those leaders who acknowledge the necessity of an excellent child centered education for all of our children.

Our children deserve a government that cares about them and their future.

Our children deserve political leaders who care about them and their future.

Our children deserve an excellent, child centered education.

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Addressing Multiple Intelligences

If some are still unclear of the difference between a corporate model of education and a child centered model, the following videos are offered as examples of those differences and why it is urgent that we begin to address the effective and efficient reform of education to a child centered model.

The Corporate Model:

The Child Centered Model:

Song and Lyrics by Ok Go – This Too Shall Pass

There is no doubt that the world needs workers, however there is a huge difference between driving a truck for a living because you love driving trucks and having a job driving a truck because it is the only thing you were trained to do.

Our society doesn’t acknowledge that there are people who love to clean. There are people who love to cook. There are people who love to take care of others and those who don’t want to take care of anyone, not even themselves.

Once we allow our children to discover what they love to do, they can begin to love themselves for doing whatever it is they love to do to the best of their ability. They can respect and value themselves because their gifts and talents will be respected and valued in our society.

Education is not about preparing our children for any workforce, regardless of the century. Education must be about creating a world that recognizes, everything on this Earth is necessary in order for every species on this planet to adapt and evolve successfully, living in harmony, respecting and loving everyone in and every part of our environment.

Whether we have stars upon our bellies or not, each one of us has something to contribute to the successful functioning of the world in which we live. A child centered education allows children to discover their niche in this world and then to use their gifts and talents to be successful in their niche.

No matter how you look at it, we must begin to provide our children with an excellent education.

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Self Respect – A True Show Of Power

In this India Arie song, she expresses not only the sentiment of a child centered education, but the goal of an excellent child centered education.

The lyrics tell the story of a person who is ridiculed by her friends for the way she has chosen to wear he hair. However, instead of feeling bullied and victimized, her self-confidence provides her friends with an example of respect for herself and others showing them that they too can be strong, self-confident, and respectful of others.

When we provide our children with an excellent education, they cannot be convinced that they are somehow unworthy of love. When we begin to show our children the greatness of which they are capable we will begin to see true power build within them until each child is able to move through their world with confidence, strength, and a positive attitude.

“There is a science that is emerging that says a positive attitude isn’t just a state of mind . . .” “It also has linkages to what’s going on in the brain and in the body.” (USA Today)

Once our children discover the gifts and talents they have to offer the world they will begin to believe in themselves and have a much more positive attitude toward life and the experiences in their life.

We have tried again and again to reform our current model of education and the result is the same, failure. Our children are becoming mean and discontent. They are choosing to drop out of the system rather than be told by it that they are inadequate. Our children are choosing to reject education rather than be mis-educated.

They understand that they are more than a workforce for this century or any other. They know they have more to offer their family, their community, their country, and their world. Our children know they are powerful and are tired of being victimized.

A child centered education teaches children the power of self control and how not to be controlled by others. Isn’t that what we want for our children?

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Picture This

The following is offered to provide clarity between a child centered and corporate model of education.

A successful graduate of the corporate model of education is now working and supporting a family. Asked to buy mushrooms for the family meal, the young adult enters Wegmans in Pittsford and heads towards the vegetable section where the fresh mushrooms are kept.

This member of the 21st Century work force is now standing before thirteen different types of mushrooms ranging in price from $3.00/lb to $300.00/lb. To add to the confusion, the names of the mushrooms are unrecognizable and the information written on the description label may as well be in a foreign language.

To solve the problem the young adult moves to the canned mushroom aisle where there is less of a choice, less information, and the price is much less. With comfort level resumed and canned mushrooms in hand, the successful young adult is satisfied, confined to the canned mushroom aisle.

A successful graduate of a child centered education
, after spending several years after high school traveling the world and finally settling to begin an innovative entrepreneurial enterprise, is asked to buy mushrooms for the family meal. Before continuing the conversation, a question is asked, “Fresh mushrooms or canned?”

The difference between the two examples is not the job or career the individual chooses, it is not even the fact that one may or may not recognize the different types of fresh mushrooms or their value.

The paramount difference between the two forms of education is that with a child centered education, the successful individual knows there is a choice and questions.

An excellent education provides our children with the knowledge that they have choices and the skills to determine what the best choice is for their life. The understanding that choice comes with responsibility and consequence instills the power of integrity and self confidence in our children that will take the human race beyond the 21st Century.

We must give our children the opportunity of choice by providing them with an excellent education.

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Budget Breakdown

Unchanged:
Supplemental Public Excess Cost Aid
Teachers of Tomorrow Initiative
School Health Services
Employment Preparation Education Aid
Bilingual Education
Foundation Aid
Special Services Aid
Employment Preparation Education
Urban-Suburban Transfer
Bilingual Education Grants
Education of OMH/OPWDD Pupils
Learning Technology Grants
Bus Driver Safety
Roosevelt School District
Basic Education for Public Assistance Recipients
Children of Migrant Workers
NYS Center for School Safety
Health Education Program
Primary Mental Health Project
Student Mentoring-Tutoring Program
Academic Intervention for Nonpublic Schools
Summer School Program for Disabled Students
Summer Food Program
Math and Science High Schools
Small Government Assistance to School districts
EXCEL-related Debt Service – $181.76 million ($127.02 for New York City)

Increased:
Private Excess Cost Aid – $38.89 million
Aid for BOCES – $20.73 million
Expense-based Transportation Aid – 60.87 million
Full-day Kindergarten Conversion Aid – $13.83 million
Library Materials – $0.47 million
Computer Software Aid – $0.96 million
Building Aid – $69.22 million
Competitive Grants – $50.0 million
Textbook Aid – $2.29 million
Instructional Computer Hardware and Technology Equipment $0.84 million
Education of Homeless Children – $3.0 million
Aid for Incarcerated Youth – $.50 million
Education of Native Americans – $7.69 million
Adult Literacy Education – $300,000
Lunch/Breakfast Programs – 700,000

Decreased:
Charter School Transitional Aid – $1.14 million
Reorganization Incentive Operating Aid – $0.29 million
High Tax Aid – $50.03 million
Consortium for Worker Education – $1.50 million
Private Schools for the Blind and Deaf – $2.20 million

Added:
Universal Prekindergarten Aid $385.03 million
Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention – $24.34 million (Competitive Grant)
Preschool Special Education – $46.80 million
Center for Autism and Related Services – $740,000
Targeted Special Education Teacher Salary Supplement – $4.0 million
Fiscal Stabilization Fund – $203.47 (One time relief for 2013-14 school year)

Funded Outside of School Aid:
Full-day Pre-kindergarten Program – $25 million
School-wide Extended Learning – $20.0 million
Community School – $15.0 million
Improved Science and Math Education – $11.0 million
Early College High School Programs – $4.0 million

With Building and Transportation aid receiving the largest amount of our educational dollars and the Governor’s budget allotting $3,7l6.21 per student for Universal Pre-K, nearly one-third the national average for per pupil spending according to 08-09 statistics, it is not difficult to determine the central focus of Governor Cuomo and his New Education Commission, the business of education.

We must stand, as a nation, and raise our voice against “BB” and its attempt to control our children and our nation.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

NYS Education Budget Breakdown

Before analyzing Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget it is important to recognize that the Governor has yet to fulfill the State’s financial commitment under the Contract for Excellence so there is no guarantee that should the proposed budget be ratified, any agreements will be honored.

In the Description of 2013-14 New York State Executive Budget Recommendations for Elementary and Secondary Education the first paragraph of the School Aid Overview states,

“The 2013-14 Executive Budget reflects a strong commitment to improved student outcomes, sustainable cost growth, and an equitable distribution of aid. It builds upon reforms implemented in prior years as well as the first round of recommendations from the New NY Education Commission.”

1. High need districts will receive 75 percent of the 2013-14 allocated increase and 69 percent of total formula-based School Aid.

* Funding districts in this manner supports and promotes failure in order to guarantee receiving the largest amount of State revenue. Education revenue should support and strengthen student success.

2. Within formula-based aids, including Building Aids, 517
school districts have aid increases totaling $591.23 million and 159 school districts are projected to have aid decreases amounting to -$40.92 million.

* We must fund education according to the needs of the children not the districts that serve them.

3. For the 2013-14 school year, school districts may qualify for additional amounts for full-day prekindergarten through a competitive grant application process.

* The Governor is asking districts to bet their children’s future on an application process.

4. For the 2013-14 school year $204.19 million, a decrease of -$1.28 million, is available for Special Services Aid for career education programs and school computer services.

* This is not indicative of a commitment to improved student outcomes.

5. An increase of $60.87 million, for a total of $1,722.49
million (including summer transportation aid), is provided for expense-based Transportation Aid to reimburse school districts for the cost of transporting 2.3 million students statewide.

* The Governor’s New Education Commission recommends neighborhood schools, an increase in busing reimbursement is counter productive to this goal.

Actions speak louder than words, the proposed budget tells the public what State leaders really want for our children, more of the same.

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Stronger Children = Stronger Voice

Recently, the news reported that a RCSD Physical Education teacher was charged with child endangerment for an incident that occurred in the 2005-2006 school year. Parents were upset because they were not notified.

The question here is not whether parents were properly informed, they weren’t, they never have been, the question here is when did the principal know about this situation?

Another question, why is it the child did not have enough confidence in the adults in his educational environment to tell someone what happened right away? This is what they are taught to do in school.

What have we done to our children to cause them to have such a lack of faith in our ability to protect them from harm? Is it that the system is so uncaring and standardized that they know nothing will change?

A very insightful person, Dave Atias, commented that our children are raising their voice against the system of education by dropping out, by not attending the meaningless classes that lead to nowhere. We are hearing the student voice and it’s saying, “I’m out” as early as second grade.

A child centered education gives our children the confidence to refuse to be abused. Children understand that they are precious and what they feel is important. They remain in touch with their instincts which protect them from predators and trust the adults in their environment to tell, right away, when a predator is near.

Teaching a child to successfully survive their environment by making them confident, respectful, and aware, is more important than teaching them how to follow orders and bubble in circles.

We don’t know whether this teacher is guilty of any crime. We do know that in America the accused are innocent until proven guilty.

When we properly educate our children they will be strong, confident, and powerful enough to face and fend off the child predators of this world.

A child centered education reduces the number of hate crimes because it teaches our children to love themselves and others.

Making our children stronger makes America stronger.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!