How Does Your Money Flow

Funding in education is not a linear process but one that flows in and out of the local, state, and federal funding streams with little to no accountability at any level.

The largest stream originates at the local level. However, when the demand is higher than local revenue can sustain, the State becomes the tributary that increases the funding flow. This also increases the regulations that local education agencies must follow in order to receive funding.

As State coffers become strained, the Federal dam is opened to increase the depth of the flow, which adds more regulations.

When districts need financial support, they now become regulated by state and federal requirements and policies; all of which are supposed to align. This is a great system of accountability unless, no one is being held accountable.

When no one reads and seeks to know and understand the policies and procedures of the local school district, then the administrators of those policies and procedures can do whatever they feel is necessary to secure their plan for the district regardless of whether it aligns with federal, state, or community attitudes.

Allowing education leaders at the local level to make un-checked decisions, allows leaders in education policy at the State and Federal level to do the same.

Consequently, if, at the local level, no one is holding districts responsible for the creation of and adherence to policies and procedures, we cannot expect integrity of office at any level of government.

Ultimately it is we, the people, who are responsible for changing our system of education so that it successfully educates every child in America.

By taking part in creating and adopting local policy and holding leaders accountable for the successful administration of those policies, accountability will flow up to the State level and then influence accountability for Federal policies and regulations.

When we successfully navigate through the sea of funding policies and procedures and set our course on the successful education of our children, we will weather the storm of failure and realize a brighter future for America.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Save On

In one week, on April 4th through 7th, Save Our Schools will be holding and “Occupy the Department of Education” protest.

When they arrive, they should arrive with a manifesto stating that they are no longer willing to allow private concerns to invade public education. Their manifesto should point out that private schools receiving public funds while public schools fail is unconstitutional and unconscionable.

Their manifesto should demand that we change the system of education so that it speaks to the gifts and talents of the students and the teachers so that all involved with education can discover, develop, and direct their passions towards creating a better world in which to live.

Expressive points in their manifesto should include:
* Acknowledging that ALL children have gifts and talents to offer and should be seen as gifted and talented in the educational environment.

*Concentrating on the developmental learning abilities of the child, engaging their strengths to balance their weakness creating an interest in learning that leads to independence and success.

* Smaller class sizes so that a true learning community can be formed in the classroom, connecting all stakeholders in the process.

* Recognition of the different developmental levels of learning between and among early childhood education, elementary education, and secondary education and instruct them accordingly.

* Every stakeholder in the process of education should be evaluated on their part in the process with the highest expectation of success for all.

* Teacher evaluations should evaluate the abilities of the teacher to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of their students.

* Art education is mandatory, not an add-in.

* Experiential learning opportunities are mandatory.

* Neighborhood schools

* Community collaboration

When participants occupy the Department of Education they should demand a copy of their State’s education plan, and then read it. They will most likely find that their state does not comply with federal regulations.

There is a great deal of work to be done. Attacking the problem from the top down and the bottom up, shortens the battle.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Another Pig In A Poke

The Governor’s Plan for Education:

Increasing Funding for Education: Focus on creating a world-class education system that will fully prepare all of New York’s students to compete in the 21st Century economy. The Budget includes an increase of nearly $1 billion in education aid.

*We must prepare our children to succeed in life not compete for money!

Pre-kindergarten Program Expansion: The Budget provides additional investments in pre-kindergarten with an emphasis on high quality, full-day pre-k. Funding is targeted toward higher need students in lower wealth school districts via a competitive process. ($25 million)

*All children deserve the opportunity to experience a pre-kindergarten education.

State Increases Tied to Teacher Evaluations: The Budget continues to tie increases in funding for education to the implementation of a teacher evaluation system. No teacher evaluations means no state increase.

*How much of the $1 billion will be earmarked for this intimidation practice?

Extended Learning Time: The state will cover the full cost of expanding learning time for students. ($20 million)

*Through the generous donations of “BB” our children will be asked to stay in school longer to fail.

Community Schools: The Budget supports an innovative program designed to transform schools into community hubs that integrate social, health and other services, as well as after-school programming to support students and their families. ($15 million)

*The State is calling for the consolidation of schools and students into central locations, closing neighborhood schools and increasing class size.

Reward High-Performing Teachers: The plan ($11 million) supports 183 most effective teachers.

*Who determines which 183 will receive this reward?

Early College High School Programs: To improve college access and success, the Budget provides new state funding to expand Early College High School programs. ($4 million)

*In an excellent system of education, high school is early college. What about students who do not wish to go to college?

Bar Exam for Teachers:

*How much will this take away from the $1 billion?

The Governor’s education budget proposal does not support a child centered education, it supports the profits of “BB” which insures their failure.

If it sounds to good to be true, it generally is.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Two Pigs In A Poke

Last night WXXI aired the documentary “180 Days” which, as the preview says, “tells an intimate story of Washington Metropolitan High School (DC Met) and its first graduating class.”

The film begins with the administrator rallying the teachers. At the end of the speech, one of the teachers comments, “Only 180 days to go.” Before the students arrive, the staff feels defeated. There are no signs of passion in the teachers that can be used to motivate and inspire the students to become passionate about learning.

The students of this high school are troubled teens with less than reputable backgrounds. These young men and women are introduced to a system of education that is likened more to a correctional facility than an institution of learning.

The adults speak to the students as though they are criminals. No respect is given to the fact that they have returned to a system that offers them little more than they have already been given.

We hear testimony from these young adults that is filled with doubt and despair. There is no passion in their voice when they speak about their future.

Rochester City School District Superintendent Vargas unveiled his 2013-14 budget proposal last night as well. More time in the classroom for students, pre-k, and reduced class size. None of the proposed plans include moving toward a child centered education that concentrates on the educational success of the child as the primary function of the district.

There are no plans to teach respect of self and others. There are no plans to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of all of our students. There are no plans to teach the child instead of teaching to the test.

Teachers and students will still be evaluated by arbitrary measures that inhibit true learning. As Commissioner Powell pointed out, “He’s (Vargas) being very pragmatic in going after the political landscape and grants (money) that the governor wants to dole out.”

Our children will not be educated successfully until we successfully direct the focus of education on our children.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Testing, Testing, Testing

Many movements have sprung up to reform education. Unfortunately most of them have been concentrated on student testing and teacher evaluation.

Though both of these issues are important, that should not overshadow the fact that the entire system of education in this country is inherently flawed.

Its purpose is to make money and provide job opportunities for adults, not to provide an excellent education to children.

Every decision made in education is concentrated on the well being of the adults in the system with little to no consideration given to the excellent education of children, which should be its only goal.

While marches, rallies, and protests over testing continue, our system of education fails to recognize the developmental learning levels of children. It ignores the developmental differences, not only between children, but between leaning abilities and developmental capabilities.

Our current system of education looks for the deficiencies and disabilities of the child based on a non-existent norm calculated on fabricated data that creates a bar of excellence which ascertains that every child should be “like” a middle to upper income, white male.

Every adult, every educator, every reformer, should march, rally, and protest this arbitrary, nonsensical, measure of our children’s talents and abilities.

Education reform must be about changing our current system of education, not the tests they require or their purpose.

We must change the entire system of education so that it concentrates on the gifts and talents of our children. The primary focus of education must be to discover, develop, and direct our children towards a positive, successful, fulfilling life as a concerned, active, citizen of these United States so that, as a strong, proud, respectful nation, we can, once again, compete as a world power.

America’s greatness came from the integrity of its belief system. It is time we test our resolve and begin to properly educate our children so that we can create a 21st Century civilization of love and respect for our fellow human beings.

Our children deserve to live in a world of love and respect.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

What is “Safe Harbor”

*All of the references below are copied and pasted from federal documents.

“The “safe harbor” regulations describe various payment and business practices that, although they potentially implicate the Federal anti-kickback statute, are not treated as offenses under the statute.”

*All of these programs contain “safe harbor” regulations that are being revised due to abuses in spending.

“The Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (AGC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National Smart Grant) Programs.”

“The safe harbor in § 668.14(b)(22)(ii)(E), as promulgated on November 1, 2002 (67 FR 67048), permits compensation based upon students successfully completing their educational programs or one academic year of their educational programs, whichever is shorter.”

“The Department (of Education) also is aware of schools that have devised and operated grading policies that all but ensure that students who enroll will graduate, regardless of their academic performance.”

“It is the Department’s experience that institutions use this safe harbor to provide recruiters with compensation that is “indirectly” based upon securing enrollments in violation of the HEA.”

“This is particularly the case with short-term, accelerated programs, where the Department was advised in comments received during and following the November 2009 Negotiated Rulemaking Meeting that there is the potential for increased efforts by institutions to rely upon this safe harbor to provide incentives to recruiters.”

“The shorter the program, the more likely the student will complete the program, thus rewarding enrollment and completion notwithstanding the student’s academic performance or the quality of the program.”

“We are also concerned that, if this safe harbor is not removed, recruiters will steer students to the shortest possible programs regardless of whether the programs are appropriate for the students, or to an even smaller number of program options where the recruiter believes completion is most likely to be obtained.”

When will we stop using our children to insure their profits?

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Stop in the Name of Love

“We have tried everything else [to improve city schools],” Urbanski said. “I think it would be a sin of omission to not try it.” This statement was reported in City Newspaper yesterday.

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. Matthew 9:17

The Rochester City School District and the Rochester’s Teachers Union have tried everything imaginable to make their current system of education work.

The fact is, the system is broken and no new program will cause it to work properly. This is more new wine, that will be wasted because it is being poured into a system so old and useless that it is not necessary to wait for the bottle to break, it is already cracked and leaking.

The only thing the RSCD and the RTA haven’t tried is working together to bring about widespread, fundamental, child centered, sustainable change to the system of education in Rochester and throughout the nation.

Money cannot be the motivating force behind our system of education, the successful education of our children must be the only motive for any expenditure in education.

To continue to support new programs before assessing the validity and functionality of programs already in place is not even good business, for those who believe that education should be run as such.

What is the data on the All City High program? Millions were poured into that program. Were any of its goals met? What exactly were the program goals? Did student attitude toward learning improve? Was there an increase in self confidence among student attendees?

“We have tried everything else.” The program sounds like a last ditch effort to save the Titanic from sinking.

It’s time to STOP!

Stop wasting educational dollars on last ditch efforts and start adopting programs that are proven and beneficial to our children.

Start changing our system of education so that it concentrates on the well-being, the human-being of the child.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!