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.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

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.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

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.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

It’s A Standard Problem

This article appeared in the Niagra Gazette:

School leaders struggle to address teacher shortages across New York
NEW YORK: Falls district offers scholarship to help address situation.
By Joe Mahoney

In it Mr. Mahoney writes,

“New York is facing a growing teacher SHORTAGE, and the problem is particularly acute for the math and science subject areas, teachers certified to instruct in bilingual programs and those trained to teach students with disabilities, according to state officials, administrators and representatives of New York State United Teachers.

“The number of young folks going into teacher education PROGRAMS in New York has really plummeted,” said Jamie Dangler, the United University Professions vice president for academics as well as the chairwoman of the union’s teacher education task force.

It’s a SHORTAGE that is being felt from Niagara Falls to Plattsburgh to New York City, creating daunting challengers for administrators charged with ensuring that the educational needs of students are met.

“There is definitely a teacher shortage, particularly in the (grades) 7 to 12 strands, with particular needs for special education and science,” said Mark Laurrie, superintendent for the Niagara Falls City School District.

Dangler, a professor at the State University at Cortland, said the appeal of going into teaching has been harmed by “the turmoil” caused by mandatory testing and suggestions by some politicians outside the realm of education that more stringent PERFORMANCE measures on teachers will improve student performance.

“There has been an attempt from outside of the teaching profession to control and limit teaching and teachers, and that’s backfired because it has made their jobs more difficult,” Dangler said. “This has also imposed unnecessary obstacles to allowing them to do what they are really trained to do — which is to teach students.”

Dedicated teachers want to bring their gifts and talents to students in order to discover the gifts and talents their students possess. A standardized curriculum makes that impossible, forcing everyone, teachers and students into an artificial norm that dehumanizes both.

The only way to change the outcome in education is to change the system of education.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

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?

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Nothing New Under The Sun

This D&C article, “Scathing report finds RCSD takes a ‘wait-to-fail’ approach to special needs students” by Justin Murphy states:

“Five years after the start of a five-year special education redesign, the Rochester City School District continues to fail its thousands of students with disabilities even as the rate at which they’re classified as disabled accelerates, according to a scathing new report.

. . . “It’s just a huge, depressing 103-page report, said Dan DeMarle, an independent special education consultant. “It fundamentally points out the extremely broken system that, over the years, has become increasingly dysfunctional, and also mirrors the general education system. … It puts numbers to the gigantic suckiness of the entire thing.”

. . . “The district continues to accelerate the placement of students into an instructional and support system that has not demonstrated the ability to improve student performance across any important educational outcome indicators,” the consultant, Judy Elliott, wrote.

. . . Some of Elliott’s recommendations have already been incorporated into Deane-Williams’ plans for 2017-18. They include elevating Sandy Simpson to the level of chief; making a wider continuum of services available at all schools; adding more reading teachers and other support positions; and trying to reduce the classification rate by re-centralizing the process and scrutinizing the “other health impairment” category in particular.”

Increasing the title and likely the pay level of Ms. Simpson and adding reading teachers and support positions employs adults, but does nothing for the children who are being wharehoused in overcrowded classrooms and instructed instead of educated.

The Rochester City School District classifies children at an alarming rate and receives more educational dollars to educate those children yet, for decades, it has failed in its duty to do so.

They continue to fail while they make minor adjustments to their system of mis-education when they are forced by the State.

When will we unite to Save Our Children and demand that we change the current system of education to one that discovers, develops and directs the gifts and talents that all of our children possess.

That is the only way special education will truly be special.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

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.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!