Another Rubber Stamp

WHEC News reported: Rochester City Council approves budgets for city and school district

“The city council approved budgets for the City of Rochester and Rochester City School District during  a meeting Tuesday night.

“I am pleased that again taxes will decrease for City homeowners, all while maintaining city services and amenities,” said Council President Loretta Scott in an emailed statement.

The city budget was approved by a 9-0 vote while the school district budget passed by a vote of 8-1 with Councilmember Carolee Conklin voting “no.”

Speaking with News10NBC about the school budget, Conklin, who is retiring this year after three terms in office, did not mince words.

“It’s a horrible waste of an awful lot of money. It’s a district that’s failing its students,” says Conklin. “It’s not preparing them to go out into the world forJOBS , for adulthood, even to maintain a checkbook.”

. . . “We’ve been innovative,” says White. “We pulled in the U of R, the largest employer in this region. We recently signed an agreement, a letter of intent, with SUNY Geneseo to run one of our elementary school. We have a smart phone app where parents can look at their phone and look real-time in terms of when their kids are going to graduate — that’s going online. We gave a car away to increase attendance, so we do think there is some progress.”

The mayor agreed.”

Identifying inconsequential movements as innovative, handing off schools to be run by colleges, allowing parents smart phone access to their child’s graduation date and giving away a car to increase attendance are placative, ineffective and expensive responses to the real problems that plague the RCSD.

Enticing attendance does not educate, parent access to graduation dates does not educate, bringing in colleges to do your job, for which you are being paid, does not educate.

Motivating students to want to learn by showing them they are gifted and talented with something valuable to offer society will cause them to want to become intelligent, knowledgeable, actively engaged members of their society.

This is something to which we can all agree.

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No Excuse – No Truth

New York spends more per student than any other state for 5th year in a row by Julie McMahon states:

“New York for the fifth year in a row spent more money per student than any other state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In fiscal year 2015, New York spent $21,206 per pupil. That’s an all-time high for New York, up by nearly $600 from the previous year’s total of $20,610.

New York’s per pupil spending is almost double the national average of $11,392.

Of the $21,206 per student spent each year in New York, $8,758 goes toward instruction, or teacher salaries. That’s the highest number in the nation.

Here’s how much some of the largest districts in the state spend, according to the Journal:
Buffalo: $21,294
Rochester: $21,800
Syracuse: $19,278
Utica: $15,656
Albany: $20,327”

What are the ‘Big Five’ school systems? The Journal News asks:

“As the state’s fourth-largest district, Yonkers is one of the so-called “Big Five” school systems, along with New York City, Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse. The districts operate as a branch of local government, with no taxing authority. They rely on city, state and federal aid for funding..

K-12 student population: 27,624
2015-16 budget: $801,818,597
Increase from 2014-15: 1.1%
State aid: $539,020,182, 67% of budget
Economically disadvantaged: 90%
Building condition: Joint Schools Construction Board authorized by the Legislature in 2007 to rebuild or renovate 38 schools over 12 years. Phase one completed 2014. Phase two, for $435 million in work, approved in December. State funding up to 98 percent of more than $1 billion cost.”

Billions are being spent on renovating schools and testing students. We are air-conditioning buildings that will be empty during summer. We are not adopting a “year-round” school system to offset the condition of summer loss of learning statistics.

We are providing summer school classes that allow students to “move up” to the next grade level. We are not requiring students to complete their work during regular school year classes so that they do not have to go to summer school.

Student failure in the “Big Five” is a very lucrative endeavor. Placing the blame on poverty is a very convenient excuse.

Failure fuels funding is the real truth.

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United We Change

This article by Joseph Spector appeared in the Gannett Albany:

NY reducing testing for Common Core by 2 days

It states:

“ALBANY — New York is cutting the number of days that students have to take standardized exams each spring amid ongoing criticism of the tougher testing.

The state Board of Regents on Monday announced the tests will be conducted over two days instead of three days for students in grades three through eight in each English and math.

The changes will start next spring, and the move is the latest step by the state Education Department to address concerns about the tests. About 20 percent of students have opted out of the exams each year in protest to the Common Core testing standards.

“The Regents have taken a bold step forward today,” Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said in a statement. “This decision not only reduces the amount of time children will spend taking tests, but also returns valuable instructional time to our teachers. We will make certain the tests continue to provide a valid and reliable measurement of student achievement.”

The Regents have taken a bold step forward but not in an efford to reduce testing time for students or return valuable instructional time to teachers.

This step was taken because more and more parents were opting their children out of testing which reduced the amount of profit Pearson was to receive from that testing.

If parents had not come together to effect change, no changes would have been made and profits would have continued to roll in for the testing corporation.

For Chancellor Rosa to have the public believe that changes were made due to their concern for students and teachers is disrespectful to the efforts of the many advocates in education that fought together to bring about this change.

This is proof positive that when the people unite change will happen.

Now is the time for the people to advocate for a system of education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing our children’s gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, actively involved citizens.

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History Has Become History

History is written by the victors. – Winston Churchill

From the Federal Register:

Applications for New Awards; American History and Civics Education-Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics

Purpose of Program: The Academies Program supports the establishment of: (1) Presidential Academies for the Teaching of American History and Civics that offer workshops for both veteran and new teachers to strengthen their knowledge of American history, civics, and government education; and (2) Congressional Academies for Students of American History and Civics that provide high school students opportunities to enrich their understanding of these subjects.

The Academies Program supports projects to raise student achievement in American history and civics by improving teachers’ and students’ knowledge, understanding, and engagement with these subjects through intensive workshops with scholars, master teachers, and curriculum experts. Project activities should reflect the best available research and practice in teaching and learning. Presidential Academies will help teachers develop further expertise in the content areas of American history and civics, teaching strategies, use of technologies, and other essential elements of teaching to rigorous college- and career-ready standards. Congressional Academies are intended to broaden and deepen students’ interest in and understanding of American history and civics through the use of content-rich, engaging learning resources and strategies.

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $1,815,000.

Estimated Range of Awards: $300,000-$700,000 per year.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $500,000 per year.

Estimated Number of Awards: 2-6.

Eligible Applicants: An institution of higher education, or nonprofit educational organization, museum, library, or research center with demonstrated expertise in historical methodology or the teaching of American history and civics; or a consortium of these entities.

History used to be taught at every level of education however the concentration today is at the 5th and 8th Grades only.

Though teaching the truth of history is the best way to combat racism in America, the history taught at these levels is synopsized and diluted to the point where it is basically useless.

How does this initiative hope to increase student knowledge of history when it is not seen as a priority in our children’s education?

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Discrimination Education

The Federal Register:

Applications for New Awards; Technical Assistance and Dissemination To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities-Technical Assistance Center on Positive Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes for Young Children With, and at Risk for, Developmental Delays or Disabilities

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program is to promote academic achievement and to improve results for children with disabilities by providing technical assistance, supporting model demonstration projects, disseminating useful information, and implementing activities that are supported by scientifically based research.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $44,345,000 for the Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $1,100,000 for this competition.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

Eligible Applicants: SEAs; State lead agencies under Part C of the IDEA; local educational agencies, including public charter schools that operate as LEAs under State law; IHEs; other public agencies; private nonprofit organizations; freely associated States and outlying areas; Indian Tribes or Tribal organizations; and for-profit organizations.

Eligible Subgrantees: (a) Under 34 CFR 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee may award subgrants—to directly carry out project activities described in its application—to the following types of entities: IHEs and private nonprofit organizations suitable to carry out the activities proposed in the application.

Other General Requirements: (a) Recipients of funding under this competition must make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.

The administration has requested $44 million taxpayer dollars to improve services and results for students with disabilities when those dollars should be used to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of those same students giving them the opportunity to compete academically and socially in their particular area of interest and ability.

Using federal, state, and local educational funding to locate, classify and dehmanize children because of their differences causes the “normed” society to ignore the potential of these students to contribute to the advancement of humanity.

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Loving To Learn By Learning To Love

Where the Teacher’s Pet Sleeps in a Dog Bed by Elizabeth A Harris, posted in the New York Times tells of dogs who are employed by schools to help students become more emotionally stable.

Ms. Harris writes, “Room 125A at Public School 75 in Manhattan has all the usual trappings of an elementary school classroom. There are low tables and little chairs. There is student work on the wall, covered in crooked, wobbly letters and the occasional rainbow. There is a computer for the teacher and a colorful carpet.

And then there is the dog bed, puffy and yellow with toys burrowed in its crevices. That belongs to Maisy, a friendly beagle-Jack Russell terrier mix, who works at this public school on the Upper West Side.

Maisy is a part of the Comfort Dog program of the Education Department, which pairs certain schools with dogs from the North Shore Animal League America, an animal rescue and adoption organization on Long Island. A staff member at the school adopts a specially screened dog, who is then welcome at the school as a dose of furry emotional support. . .

All the schools use a curriculum called Mutt-i-grees, written by a research scientist at Yale, that structures interactions with the animals around lessons on things like empathy and resilience.”

Having animals in schools has been an age old tool that taught caring, empathy, responsibility and positive behavior. However, health concerns removed animals from public school classrooms with nothing to replace the positive support they offered.

Thankfully we are returning to the understanding that caring for an animal can fulfill a basic emotional need that some children lack in their home environment.

The article continues, “Maisy has a standing appointment with a boy with special needs every eighth period. A beagle named Izzy is sent in to de-escalate tantrums. Jumah is offered as an incentive to encourage good behavior. And Peter Parker, a golden retriever-Border collie mix, lends an ear, without judgment, to students receiving speech therapy.”

Education is learning to live life successfully not about passing a test.

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More Money Spent On Making More Money

From the Federal Register:

Applications for New Awards; Education Research and Special Education Research Grant Programs

Purpose of Program: The Institute’s purpose in awarding these grants is to provide national leadership in expanding fundamental knowledge and understanding of (1) developmental and school readiness outcomes for infants and toddlers with or at risk for a disability, and (2) education outcomes for all students from early childhood education through postsecondary and adult education. The Institute’s research grant programs are designed to provide interested individuals and the general public with reliable and valid information about education practices that support learning and improve academic achievement and access to education opportunities for all students. These interested individuals include parents, educators, students, researchers, and policymakers. In carrying out its grant programs, the Institute provides support for programs of research in areas of demonstrated national need.

The Education Research Competition. Under this competition, NCER will consider only applications that address one of the following 12 topics:

The Education Research and Development Centers Competition. Under this competition, NCER will consider only applications that address one of the following four topics:

The Partnerships and Collaborations Focused on Problems of Practice or Policy Competition. Under this competition, NCER will consider only applications that address one of the following two topics:

The Special Education Research Competition. Under this competition, NCSER will consider only applications that address one of the following 11 topics:

The Research Training Programs in Special Education Competition. Under this competition, NCSER will consider only applications that address one of the following three topics:

The Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Policy and Practice in Special Education Competition. Under this competition, NCSER will consider only applications that address research on Multi-Tiered Systems of Support under one of the following two topics:

This particular award amounts to more than $5 million education tax dollars to expand the fundamental knowledge and understanding of thirty-four topics in education.

This money will not go to educating children but to research which has already given us the fundamental knowledge and understanding of how all children learn best.

Waste not Want not!

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