More Money Is Not The Answer – Providing Children With An Excellent Education Is

Coalition of education groups calls for $2B increase in school aid by Keshia Clukey of Politico states:

“ALBANY — A coalition of major state education organizations is calling on the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase school aid by $2 billion in the 2018-19 state budget.

The New York State Educational Conference Board’s recommendations include a $1.5 billion increase in state aid to maintain current services and an additional $500 million in targeted funding, according to a report provided to POLITICO. The targeted funds would assist struggling schools, invest in professional development, help meet the needs of English language Learners, strengthen college and career pathways, and assist districts with growing enrollments, according to a news release accompanying the report.”

According to salary.com, “The median annual School Superintendent salary in Rochester, NY is $153,351, as of October 30, 2017, with a range usually between $125,266-$185,034 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay.”

The same site states, “The median annual School Principal salary in Rochester, NY is $101,653, as of November 28, 2017, with a range usually between $89,784-$114,346 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay.”

According to nydatabases.com, “The New York Department of Education requires school districts to report the salaries and titles of their top ADMINISTRATORS based on a threshold it sets each year — but doesn’t release the names. Districts had to report ADMINISTRATORS who will earn $130,000 or more for the upcoming 2016-17 school year. The data does not include administrators who earn below the annual threshold. The state also does not require the big 5 city school districts to report their salaries. (Rochester is a Big Five district)”

In reviewing the RCSD approved budget for the 2017-18 school year, there are 299 administrative positions accounting for $31,648,104 of the annual budget. This figure does not include their benefits.

In a failing district one must ask, “Why are there so many administrators being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars each year when our schools are not properly educating our children?”

The problem is not how much money there is in education, but how education tax dollars are spent.

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The Money And Opportunity Is There

Announcement of Funding Opportunity
RFP #GC18-015
2018-2024 NYS Pathways in Technology Early College High School Program

“The New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School (NYS P-TECH) Program will prepare thousands of New York students for high-skills jobs of the future in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and finance. The model incorporates a six-year program that combines high school, college, and career training and will be targeted to academically and economically at-risk students.

The NYS P-TECH model delivers five core benefits to students:
1. A rigorous, relevant and cost-free grades 9 to 14 education focused on the
knowledge and skills students need for Science, Technology, Engineering and
Math careers;
2. Workplace learning that includes ongoing mentoring by professionals in the chosen career sector, worksite visits, speakers, and internships;
3. Intensive, individualized academic support by K-12 and college faculty within an extended academic year or school day that enables students to progress through the program at their own pace;
4. An Associate of Applied Science degree or the two-year degree that is the industry standard for the targeted jobs in a high-tech field (referred to as an AAS degree for the purpose of this RFP); and
5. The commitment to be first in line for a job with the participating business/employer partners following completion of the program.

The program is also designed to:
• Develop programs of study in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand career areas;
• Align school, college, and community systems in these programs of study;
• Increase opportunity and access to postsecondary education for academically atrisk, disadvantaged populations of students;
• Support strong academic performance;
• Promote informed and appropriate career choice and preparation; and
• Ensure that employers in key technical fields have access to a talented and skilled workforce.”

Rochester has one P-Tech school, Edison which also received roughly $500,000 worth of its expertise to lift it out of poverty from IBM.

This is the first step in bringing Rochester’s students into the world of technology as creators, not simply users.

Tech learning should begin in elementary school.

We must recognize the gifts and talents of our children and begin to educate them for their future.

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If You Can’t Win The Game, Change The Rules

Politico reports, Merryl Tisch is back, will have say in how charter schools certify teachers

“ALBANY — Merryl Tisch, the former chancellor of the state Board of Regents, isn’t done with state education policymaking just yet.

Tisch, who championed higher learning standards and ushered in the controversial Common Core during her tenure, is now taking part in the debate over the certification of charter school teachers as a member of the SUNY Charter Schools Committee.

. . . Last June, the state Senate appointed her to the SUNY board of trustees. Her first SUNY board meeting was in September, after which she was selected to serve on the Charter Schools, Academic Affairs, Finance and Administration, and Community Colleges committees, according to SUNY.

Tisch has supported charter schools in the past, touting school choice and the need for increased access to quality education, as well as healthy competition for public schools.

. . . Rosa and state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, in comments submitted to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, called the proposal an “affront to a critical tenet in education,” saying it would diminish the number of effective teachers and would have a negative impact on charter school students of color, those who are economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities.”

The effort here is to make as much money as possible, both from the education industry and the ignorance of an uneducated populous.

SUNY, the State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. For the Senate to agree that this institution would be able to reduce the requirements for the accreditation of teachers working in charter schools is a direct indictment of their attempt to create and maintain an underclass of citizens who traditionally do not vote making it possible for them to maintain their positions in government, creating the laws that unfairly affect that underclass.

If individuals are not able to meet the current requirements for teacher certification then it is quite possible they should not be teachers.

Teaching others requires that the teacher must be knowledgeable. Schooling children requires nothing more than a watchdog.

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It’s Not The Money It’s The System

Fixing education inequalities will require fixing broader societal inequities posted September 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm by Elaine Weiss and Emma García states:

“In Reducing and averting achievement gaps, we show that there was a large gap in preparedness between high and low social class students who began school in the fall of 2010. Furthermore, this gap changed very little over the prior twelve years. And it’s not only a matter of math and reading skills—there are similar gaps in social and emotional skills, which interact with and inform those traditional academic abilities.”

Immediately these researchers divide children into categories of high and low class. This is disturbing since given their bias, it is relevant to assume that their criteria for assessment does not consider the culture of “low class” students to be acceptable as a norm.

They continue:
” If, as a country, we want to narrow the gaps in reading, math, and social and emotional skills—gaps that exist when low social class students enter kindergarten, and dog them throughout their academic careers—we need to ensure that many fewer children grow up in such deprived contexts. So beyond investing in the education system, we urge the expansion of health care, and a much stronger social safety net that boosts incomes for vulnerable families through policies such as unemployment insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, cash assistance, the earned income tax credit, and the child and dependent care tax credit.

. . . Because until we tackle the huge inequities at the core of these early gaps, we will continue to live with them.”

The answer to the failure of education for these authors is more money. Unfortunately many people believe this and billions of dollars have been spent on education initiatives with little to no result.

The failure of education is because it is a system that assesses students according to an artificial norm that is dependent upon financial status to drive its intent.

We must change our current system of education so that it concentrates on the child not the money they may or may not have.

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Where Indeed

In this blog post by Valerie Strauss she asks, “Where have all the teachers gone?”

“While teacher shortages are not new, they are getting worse in many parts of the country. A report by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute found that teacher education enrollment dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35 percent reduction, between 2009 and 2014 — and nearly 8 percent of the teaching workforce is leaving every year, the majority before retirement age.”

Ms. Strauss quotes Linda Darling-Hammond, “Across the country, districts and schools continue to struggle to meet the growing demand for qualified teachers. Since 2012, when Recession-era layoffs ended, the teacher workforce has grown by about 400,000, as districts have sought to reclaim the positions they had previously cut and replace teachers who have left. But even with intensive recruiting both in and outside of the country, more than 100,000 classrooms are being staffed this year by instructors who are unqualified for their jobs. These classrooms are disproportionately in low-income, high-minority schools, although in some key subjects, every kind of district has been hit. This is a serious problem for the children they serve and for the country as a whole.

“”. . . Current data on the 2017-18 school year confirm that most states are still experiencing difficulty hiring qualified teachers in multiple fields. The U. S. Department of Education reports that a majority of states identify shortages of teachers in mathematics (47 states and the District of Columbia), special education (46 states and D.C.), science (43 states), world languages (40 states and D.C.), career and technical education (32 states), teachers of English learners (32 states), art, music, and dance (28 states), and English (27 states).”

Business Insider reports, “Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found in their recent report, “The Economic Value of College Majors,” that education majors are paid the least . . .”

How can we expect to hire and retain excellent teachers when they are the lowest paid professionals in the country, when they are denigrated throughout society, when they are told how to do their job by individuals who have never done their job, and who are reprimanded when they try to do an excellent job?

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Everything Old, Nothing New

This article, written by Kate Taylor, appeared in the New York Times, “Regents Approve Plan to Evaluate and Improve New York Schools

It states:
“The New York State Board of Regents on Monday approved a plan laying out the state’s goals for its education system, as required by the sweeping federal education law signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 known as the Every Student Succeeds Act.

. . . Under the plan, the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools receiving Title I federal funds, which go to low-income schools and high schools with six-year graduation rates less than 67 percent, [The Rochester City School District] would be identified for comprehensive support and improvement. Those schools would receive additional funding and supervision, including visits from external reviewers, and will be required to choose at least one school improvement strategy from a list approved by the state.”

This is how the RCSD maintains its exhorbitant budget, through failure. The system is set up to support failure, regardless of the consequences for our children.

This is not new.

In a similar article by Bianca Tanis, “You Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear” Ms Tanis writes:

“After much discussion about the whether or not the proposed Next Generation PreK-2 standards align with developmentally appropriate practice, the NYS Board of Regents adopted the Next Generation ELA and Math Learning Standards on Monday, September 11th.

. . . While the narrative and language of the Next Generation standards is more sophisticated and sprinkled with examples of best practice and common sense, they are essentially the Common Core rebranded. Again.”

The Board of Regents does not now, nor have they ever made decisions that create positive change for our system of education or our children.

They are appointed by a legislature that is paid by educational lobbyists to maintain the profits of the wealthy by keeping the populous poor and ignorant.

It is only when we, the people, decide to change our system of education so that it concentrates on the gifts and talents all children possess that we will achieve educational success for all.

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We Know What Works So Why Are We Failing

This article, Learning from schools that close opportunity gaps by Sarah E. LaCour, Adam York, Kevin Welner, Michelle Renée Valladares, and Linda Molner Kelley appeared in Phi Delta Kappan’s publication.

The article outlines ten “exemplary practices” recognized by the Schools of Opportunity project.

The ten steps are:
1. Broadening and enriching learning opportunities
2. Creating and maintaining a healthy school culture
3. Providing more and better learning time during the school year and summer
4. Using a variety of assessments designed to respond to student needs
5. Supporting teachers as professionals
6. Meeting the needs of students with disabilities in an environment that ensures challenge and support
7. Providing students with additional needed services and supports, including mental and physical health services
8. Creating a challenging and supported culturally relevant curriculum
9. Building on the strengths of language minority students and correctly identifying their needs
10. Sustaining equitable and meaningful parent and community engagement

One thing that was mentioned in the article but does not appear explicitly in the ten steps is, “Redefining excellence in public education”.

Before any of the ten steps are initiated in any school, it is imperative that we must first demand excellence in our system of public education and then define that excellence as being the discovery, development and direction of the natural gifts and talents that all children possess.

As well, this must not be measured by the achievement of any one group of individuals but by the ability of the individual to achieve success in their particular area of giftedness.

If a child is a gifted artist than success for that child is the ability to express through art that which cannot be expressed through language. This is not to discount the importance of language skills but to eleviate the stress of being able to express, in words, the feelings that generate the emotions one experiences throughout life’s situations.

By allowing our children the freedom of expression through the mode in which they feel most comfortable, we can effectively put an end to the self-hatred that is the basis of all the “ism’s” that divide us.

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