Success Is More Than ABC’s

ABC’s programs to get $7M grant

By: Velvet Spicer 

“Action for a Better Community’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs will receive a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of health and Human Services for education programs for children, infants and pregnant women in Monroe County.

“Ensuring access to health and education services for young children is critical to ending the cycle of poverty that affects too many families in our community,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, in a statement. “Investments in Head Start and Early Head Start are a key component of making sure our kids are ready for success in school and life.”

ABC’s Head Start programs promote school readiness of children ages birth to 5. The program supports six centers in the Rochester region and provides direct services to more than 1,330 people.

ABC received a $6.9 million grant for the programs in 2015.”

We must make sure, as a community, that these dollars actually reach the children they are intended to serve.  Preparing children for entrance into the dehumanizing system of education we currently support means more than teaching them their ABC’s.

It means strengthening within them a belief in their own self-worth, teaching them to respect themselves and others, teaching them how to control their own behavior, increasing their ability to think critically, ask questions, and problem solve. It means giving them the opportunity to discover, develop and direct their individual gifts and talents towards being strong, self-assured, creative, and inspired learners who seek out the knowledge that is denied them in our current system.

These are the key components of making sure our children are ready for success in school and life.

We must instill in our parents these same qualities of humanity so that they too know and understand that they are worthy of respect, they are gifted and talented, they can be strong, self-assured, creative and inspired learners who seek out knowledge that was denied them in their education.

Our parents must be made aware of these same aspects of educational success in order to support their child’s educational experience.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Adult Jobs Matter – Children’s Education – Not So Much

Paying Teachers Not to Teach Is Absurd — but Reviving NYC’s ‘Dance of the Lemons’ Hurts Kids by Daniel Weisberg outlines a problem that exists in many school districts.

He states:

“For most of the past decade, New York City has struggled to solve a seemingly ridiculous problem: It spends about $100 million every year paying teachers not to teach. That’s how much it costs to operate the city’s so-called Absent Teacher Reserve pool, a limbo for about 800 educators entitled to full salary and benefits even though their positions were eliminated.

. . . Teachers can apply for any open positions they want, and principals have final say on which candidates to hire. It’s called “mutual consent,” but it’s really just common sense.

When ATR teachers struggle to find new jobs, there are often very good — albeit uncomfortable — reasons. Consider a few findings from a 2014 analysis of ATR teachers:

About 25 percent had been brought up on disciplinary charges.

Another third had received unsatisfactory evaluation ratings.

More than half hadn’t held a regular classroom position for two or more years.

About 60 percent hadn’t applied for a single position in the previous year, suggesting they weren’t even trying to find a full-time job.

. . . because only a tiny number of tenured teachers are ever dismissed for poor performance, any who fail this forced “tryout” will likely end up being foisted upon another group of students at another school the following year. More to the point, subjecting thousands of kids to ineffective teachers for even a year is simply unacceptable.”

Weisberg posits that teachers who are remanded to the ATR would be forced into positions and “students in lower-income neighborhoods, where teaching positions have historically been most difficult to fill, would be hit hardest.”

The hiring, assessing and retention of teachers in most districts is politically based and at the discretion of principals and the union. Parents have little input into the process.

Teachers who “go along” “get along” while those who don’t, won’t.

Our entire system of education must be changed so that it concentrates on educating children not employing adults.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

From The Federal Register

Applications for New Awards; Promise Neighborhoods Program

Purpose of Program
The Promise Neighborhoods program is newly authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act. The purpose of the Promise Neighborhoods program is to significantly improve the academic and developmental outcomes of children living in the most distressed communities of the United States, including ensuring school readiness, high school graduation, and access to a community-based continuum of high-quality services. The program serves neighborhoods with high concentrations of low-income individuals; multiple signs of distress, which may include high rates of poverty, childhood obesity, academic failure, and juvenile delinquency, adjudication, or incarceration; and schools implementing comprehensive support and improvement activities or targeted support and improvement activities under section 1111(d) of the ESEA. All strategies in the continuum of solutions must be accessible to children with disabilities and English learners.

The Department of Education’s expectation is that over time, a greater proportion of the neighborhood residents receive these supports and that neighborhood indicators show significant progress. For this reason, each Promise Neighborhood applicant must demonstrate several core features: (1) Significant need in the neighborhood; (2) a strategy to build pipeline services (as defined in this notice) with strong schools at the center; and (3) the organizational and relational capacity to achieve results.

Estimated Range of Awards: $4,000,000 to $6,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $5,000,000.

Maximum Award: $6,000,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 5-7.

Eligible Applicants: (must) Be one of the following:

(a) An institution of higher education;

(b) An Indian Tribe or Tribal organization; or

(c) One or more nonprofit entities working in formal partnership with not less than one of the following entities:

A high-need LEA, An institution of higher education, The office of a chief elected official of a unit of local government, An Indian Tribe or Tribal organization.

Our federal government is giving 5-7 colleges, Tribal organizations and/or nonprofit entities our valuable tax dollars instead of supporting the excellent education of ALL children in the United States.

We must change our system of education so that every child is given the opportunity to succeed.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Evaluate The System Not The Schools

New York plans to use suspension rates to grade schools by Julie McMahon outlines NYSED’s plan to evaluate school performance.

She writes:
“Out-of-school suspension rates are the latest criteria the department has proposed as part of its plan for school evaluations.

The new criteria would be used as early as the 2018-19 school year, according to a report by Chalkbeat New York. The plan is pending final approval by the Board of Regents and the federal Education Department.”

“. . . Education reformers over the last several years have pushed for schools to limit out-of-school suspensions because they are often disproportionately used to punish students of color.

Many districts, including Syracuse city schools, have shifted from relying heavily on suspensions to using alternatives like “restorative justice,” which aims to keep students in the academic environment.”

In a subsequent report, 8 ways NY plans to grade schools beyond tests, graduation rates: Give your feedback, Ms. McMahon reports on the State’s proposal for evaluation.

They are:
*Measure achievement in more than just math and English as is current practice. The plan proposes expanding measures of science, social studies and language acquisition.

*Focus on chronic absenteeism and attendance.

*Give more consideration to August, five-year, and six-year graduation rates. The state now emphasizes the four-year June rate.

*Push schools to reduce gaps among certain populations of students. The plan calls for more emphasis overall on growth and gap closing, not the stringent 100-percent achievement goals of No Child Left Behind.

*Stress parental involvement, including in decisions about how to spend money for school improvement.

*Require reporting per pupil spending and per pupil sources of revenue for each district and school.

*Reward districts for providing advanced coursework.

*Exempt “English language learners” from English language arts tests for one year. The plan calls for more supports for students who are not proficient in English, including state evaluations of district programs and training for teachers.

While we are searching for ways to evaluate our schools there is no plan in place that evaluates our current system of education that normalizes, standardizes and dehumanizes our children.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Not Here, Not There, Not Everywhere

On July 18, 2017 this blog post by Diane Ravitch was published:

Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris: A Critical Review of the PBS Special “Schools, Inc.”

She writes,

“Public schools, we would argue, are more innovative than private schools and religious schools, and certainly more innovative than for-profit schools, which must cut costs to provide returns for their investors.

Enter a well-resourced public school and you will find many foreign languages taught, robotics programs, a school orchestra, advanced technology, smart-boards, a jazz band, a theater company capable of putting on Broadway plays, physical education programs of extraordinary breadth and academic specialties that most private and religious schools never offer. You will see highly educated teachers, most of them far better educated than the teachers in religious schools and far more qualified than those in charter schools, which are allowed to hire uncertified, inexperienced teachers. You will also see remarkable provisions for students with disabilities and professionals trained to meet their needs — provisions absent from most private schools, which usually reject students with disabilities. And these innovative practices are absent from the schools Coulson glorifies on his “personal journey.”

Unfortunately, in high-poverty, large urban school districts across the nation, their public schools are not “well resourced” and lack the wonderful programs of which Ms. Ravitch speaks. This is also true of poor rural district schools who receive barely enough resources to provide a “proper” education.

It has long been known that resource allocation to public schools is far from equitable since funding depends on the tax base of a city or township.

Money drives the system of education in America, not the educational needs of children.

When we concentrate education on discovering, developing and directing the individual gifts and talents that every child possesses;

When we convince every parent that an excellent education is essential to the future social, emotional and economic success of their child;

When we consider the needs of the child over the cost of educating the child, we will have changed education and made it successful throughout suburban, urban and rural communities.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Governing Our Governance

New York: Who Is Behind the Effort to Allow Charter Schools to Hire Uncertified Teachers?
By dianeravitch points to the Alan Singer blog titled, Politics And Campaign Dollars Shape New York Charter School Policies, in which he states:

“The finger points at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Politicians and wealthy business leaders with ties to Cuomo are behind the push to exempt some of the state’s charter schools from hiring certified teachers. It is a move that would weaken University-based teacher education programs, undermine teacher professionalism, and seriously hurt the education of children across the state.

Cuomo has long been a supporter of expanded and minimally regulated charter schools. In 2014, while preparing to run for reelection, Cuomo spoke at a pro-charter rally on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Albany. In his speech he praised charter school groups and Republican and independent Democrats who were joining with him to “save” charter schools, although there was no movement trying to destroy them. Curiously, Cuomo never discussed pulling the children out of school and shipping them to Albany for a staged rally.

In 2016, while no one was paying close attention, the State Legislature with Cuomo’s endorsement extended the regulatory authority of the Trustees of the State University over charter schools. The SUNY Charter Institute, a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees, now claims this legislation empowers them to permit charter schools under their jurisdiction to hire uncertified teachers and train them according to their own guidelines.”

According to Ms. Ravitch, “Cuomo needs the hedge funders to finance the presidential run everyone expects he wants. But, as Alan points out, he also needs the votes of the public so he may be open to persuasion.”

Continuing a system of mis-education that empowers the wealthy while maintaining the impoverished conditions of others can only be stopped by creating a system of education that concentrates on discovering, developing and directing the gifts and talents of all children towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens who recognize and vote for the love of humanity over love of money.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Let’s All Go To The “Lobby”

Recently reported by Diane Ravitch: New York City: Mayor de Blasio’s Capitulation to the Powerful Charter Lobby

“Mayor Bill de Blasio ran for mayor with the promise that he would fight the charter lobby. He was a public school parent and had served on a community school board. I believed him. I endorsed him.

Then after he was elected, the billionaires showed him who runs education policy in Albany. Governor Cuomo, the recipient of large sums from the financial industry, became the charter cheerleader, even though charters enrolled only 3% of the children in the state. The Republican-led State Senate gives the charter industry whatever it wants. The charter industry’s best friend is State Senate Republican leader John Flanagan, who loves loves loves charters, but not in his own district on Long Island. Call him Senator NIMBY.

De Blasio wanted charters to pay rent if they could afford it. The legislature required the City to give free space to charters, even though public schools are overcrowded, and to pay their rent if they locate in private space.

In the recent legislative session, the mayor was told that the only way to get a two-year extension of mayoral control was to revive 22 charters that had been closed or abandoned for various reasons.

Now the mayor is seeking a “truce” with the private charter industry that sucks the students it wants from the public schools.”

Along with Ms. Ravitch, many New Yorkers voted for DeBlasio because he promised to “fight the charter lobby”. Unfortunately Mayor DeBlasio neglected to call on the support of those individuals when it came to fighting the control of the Repubican and Democratic party leaders in the legislature who bullied him into capitulation.

If Mayor DeBlasio believed he had the support of the people, why did he succumb to the demands of the private charter industry?

Charter schools further segregate public schools with some “normal” children being placed in high achieving institutions and others being served in failing institutions. Those students who do not fit into the “norm” are left out completely.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!