From The Federal Register

Reopening; Applications for New Awards; Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities-Early Childhood Personnel Center

AGENCY:
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

SUMMARY:
On April 19, 2017, we published in the Federal Register (82 FR 18447) a notice inviting applications (NIA) for the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities—Early Childhood Personnel Center competition. The NIA established a deadline date of June 5, 2017, for the transmittal of applications. This notice reopens the competition until September 11, 2017.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
No applications received in response to the NIA were funded because the applicants did not adequately address the selection criteria for the competition.

[Which states: Maximum Awards: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $2,000,000 for a single budget period of 12 months.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1.]

Therefore, we are reopening the competition to allow applicants to submit or resubmit applications that meet the requirements in the NIA, in order to ensure that State Part C and Part B, section 619 programs receive the technical assistance necessary to implement high-quality Comprehensive Systems of Personnel Development.

[However]

We have eliminated the formatting and page-limit requirements specified in the NIA. Further, the specification in the NIA that the Secretary will not consider budgets above the maximum award amount is no longer applicable. However, we will only fund a successful application up to $2,000,000 for any single budget period of 12 months.

With only one grant being given, applicants should be able to adjust their proposals to meet the requirements outlined.

If budgets of more than $2 million dollars are being considered, will the applicants seek other federal grants to support their extended budget?

With eligible applicants being charter schools and nonprofit agencies is this a way for our government to use valuable tax dollars to promote the declination of public schooling?

Accountability for educational funding is imperative!

Spending $2 million dollars on one program assists a small number of children. Wouldn’t that money be better served by aiding public school programs that already exist to actually improve the services and results for all children?

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Will Rochester “Say Yes” For Its Students

This article, Buffalo shows turnaround of urban schools is possible, but it takes a lot more than just money
Black and Latino students have seen the most dramatic improvements, significantly narrowing the graduation gap with their white peers
by Amadou Diallo states:

“BUFFALO, N.Y. — When 18-year-old Karolina Espinosa looks back to her freshman year at Buffalo’s Hutchinson Central Technical High School, graduation seemed like a long shot. “At the time,” she said, “both of my parents were incarcerated. I had trouble with reading, and I had problems with attendance.” But in May, sitting in the office of her school’s family SUPPORT specialist, Joell Stubbe, Karolina talked excitedly about going to Buffalo State, where she’s been accepted into the class of 2021.

Karolina credits the turnaround to her relationship with Stubbe. “She’s like my older sister,” Karolina said. “I don’t really talk about my problems … or deal with my emotions with people. I don’t even talk to my [real] sister about them or cry in front of her. And I do that with [Stubbe]. Without her I wouldn’t even be in school, honestly. I would have been a dropout.”

As an in-school family support specialist, Stubbe serves as a liaison between students, families and a number of health, legal and academic support services provided by local community organizations. Stubbe has a counterpart in every public school in the city, yet neither she nor her colleagues are employees of the Buffalo Public School system. Their positions were created by and are funded through Say Yes to Education Buffalo, a local chapter of a New York City-based nonprofit.

In Buffalo, a Rust Belt city still grappling with high poverty and an under-educated population, the results of the Say Yes program have exceeded expectations. Since its launch in 2012, the city’s high school graduation rate has climbed 15 points, to 64 percent, according to New York State education department figures, the highest rate the city has achieved in more than a decade.”

All children need someone they can trust and rely on.

This program provides students with the guidance they need.

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Less Is Not Always More

This article appeared in the Rochester Business Journal: City Skills brings STEM experiences to city youth by Gino Fanelli

“Amid a small crowd of city school youth at the Rochester MUSEUM and Science Center, Mayor Lovely Warren stands close to Douglass student Smiley Samuel, the pair carefully manipulating construction paper into a makeshift windmill. Eventually settling on the right blade positions, the pair place their creation in front of a set of billowing fans. It remains still, the Mayor plucking it back up and moving back to the drawing board.

Samuel and her fellow classmates are part of a pilot program dubbed “Technology and Careers in Rochester Powered by AT&T,” a program aimed at inspiring youth into careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Financed heavily by AT&T, the program is a collaboration between the museum, the Rochester City School District, the Finger Lakes STEM Hub and the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Included in the project is the City Living course; a five-week program immersing 12 students who are one science, math or elective credit shy of graduation into STEM-based field trips and hands-on experience.

“What we can do here is build curiosity and interest in STEM fields,” said Director of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Joe Marinelli. “This gives students a chance to gain hands-on experience in construction, manufacturing and energy power in Rochester.””

This is a heavily financed collaboration between Strong Museum, RCSD, Finger lakes STEM hub and the Boy Scouts of America.

Is it a good program, absolutely.

However, this type of learning used to take place in schools at the elementary level of education serving entire classrooms of students.

Xerox engineers worked with students at the Fourth grade level serving hundreds of students until becoming a summer camp and Saturday school program for just a few.

Hands-on, experiential learning should begin in kindergarten along with art and music and continue throughout the educational experience. Waiting until middle and high school to shore-up the educational success of a few does little to benefit all children.

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Promises Promises

SUNY deans speak out against teacher hiring plan
By Bethany Bump

“The deans of education programs at 18 State University of New York schools are condemning a proposal they say would lead to unqualified teachers in New York classrooms.

The proposal comes from the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, the largest authorizer of charter schools in New York, and would allow certain high-performing charter schools to operate outside of the state’s stringent teacher certification requirements and instead certify their own teachers on the promise they produce strong academic results.

But critics say the move would weaken teacher standards in New York at the same time that SUNY and other education leaders are trying to elevate the profession. A chief concern is the requirement that charter school teachers have just 30 hours of classroom experience.

“The regulation change allows anyone with a bachelor’s degree to earn state teacher certification without broad and rich intellectual stimulation from education faculty, without taking appropriate coursework or completing an adequate number of field experience hours, without demonstrating adequate content knowledge, without student teaching, and without demonstrating the ability to teach effectively according to any standardized measure,” the deans wrote in a letter released Saturday.

. . . “It is entirely inappropriate to lower the standards for teachers because charter schools are finding it difficult to hire certified teachers, and is entirely unfair to the students in their charge,” the deans wrote. “Creating a cadre of underqualified teachers is misguided, shortsighted and harmful to the state’s children as well as to the profession of teaching.””

The Atlantic reports, “Charter schools are concentrated in urban and less affluent areas—and it’s not just because of practical reasons, such as available infrastructure and philanthropic funding. According to the Bellwether report, 56 percent of charter-school students live in cities, versus just 29 percent of all U.S. children.

. . . Relatedly, nearly two-thirds of the charter-school population is nonwhite, compared to about half of its regular public-school counterpart.”

We must change our current system of education so that all children will receive an excellent public education and not just the promise of one.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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