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!

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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Expanding Rules Or Expanding Data Collection

This article by Bethany Bump, “Regents aim to expand rules for ranking schools” states,

“New York education officials no longer want to rate and rank schools based solely on test scores and graduation rates.

Here are a few examples of how New York wants to change its accountability system:

  • Schools were previously rated based on student performance in English and math. Officials want to start looking at science and social studies performance, too.
  • Schools were previously rated based on four-year graduation rates. The state wants to equally consider five- and six-year graduation rates, as well, to capture students with disabilities or language barriers who may take longer to complete high school.
  • Schools were previously assessed on how well they prepared students for college or career. New York wants to add “civic readiness” to that equation, giving extra points to schools that also prepare students for a life of civic engagement (including, volunteering, voting in local and national elections, running for office, active membership in a group or on a board).
  • Schools were previously rated based on achievement and attainment. Officials want to start measuring growth and progress, as well. One example: Instead of rating schools based on how many students are proficient in math, take into account how many students made gains in math from one year to the next”

While these are excellent  changes in determining the success of a school, they can also be used to precipitate the collection of data on our children that invades their privacy and adds to corporate profits and elitist control.

When a school fails to meet passing grades according to student test scores it diminishes the recognition of student gains.  However, evaluating a school’s ability to provide an excellent education on the post-graduate civic engagement of the student opens the door to extreme and invasive data collection.

We must carefully consider the language used in determining the success or failure of a school when those assessments could invade the privacy of our children.

We must end the invasive collection of data from our children.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Our Best Defense Is An Excellent Education

In FY 2015, Pentagon and related spending totaled $598 billion, about 54% of the fiscal year 2015 U.S. discretionary budget.

The President’s 2016 Budget provides $70.7 billion in discretionary funding and $145 billion in new mandatory funding for the U.S. Department of Education.

The combined total of the education budget is less than half the defense budget.

Federal Register:

Estimated Available Funds: The Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017, would provide, on an annualized basis, $87,752,864 for this program.

Estimated Range of Awards: $0-$60,000.

Note:
Depending on the number of eligible LEAs identified in a given year and the amount appropriated by Congress for the program, some eligible LEAs may receive a Small Rural School Achievement allocation of $0 under the statutory funding formula.

Estimated Number of Awards: 4,300

Which LEAs are eligible for an award under the SRSA program?

For FY 2017, an LEA (including a public charter school that is considered an LEA under State law) is eligible for an award under the SRSA program if it meets one of the following criteria:

(a)(1) The total number of students in average daily attendance at all of the schools served by the LEA is fewer than 600; or each county in which a school served by the LEA is located has a total population density of fewer than 10 persons per square mile;

Listed below, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, are the number of rural school districts in the United States:

Rural
Fringe/ Distant/ Remote
1,582 / 3,145 / 2,429

The government is making these districts compete for funding by offering 4,300 of them the opportunity to properly serve their students. That number will decrease by the number of charter schools that receive an award. The maximum award for an LEA with fewer than 600 students only provides the LEA approximately $100.00 per student.

Once again our government is denying our children an excellent education throughout all walks of life in America.

All of America’s children deserve an excellent education and that should be a major priority in program funding with our tax dollars.

We, the people of the United States, must reprioritize our federal spending to support education first.

Join the Movement to Save Our Childen!

Children Are People Too

Governor Cuomo sent this message to New Yorkers:
“Late last night, we reached agreement on the 7th budget of my administration.
This budget agreement continues my administration’s record of fiscal responsibility and improving infrastructure. It also makes real a first-in-the-nation tuition-free college program for middle class families and will correct a long standing injustice by raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 in our great state.

The major achievements, both for New York’s middle class and building on our promises to make college possible for all and take steps to create a fair criminal justice system, included in this budget will improve the lives of New Yorkers and help build a stronger New York.

I want as many New Yorkers as possible to learn about how we prioritize spending and how this administration puts people, not politics, first.”

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, a Democrat from Brooklyn, in reference to the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference said, “We have a governor who unfortunately empowers the other party on the other side,” said.

Alliance for Quality Education released this notice Assembly Unity Key to Defeating Governor’s Plan to Repeal Foundation Aid formula and Minimizing Diversion of Funds from Public Schools to Privately Run Charters

“The Governor and the Legislative Leaders announced a state budget deal. It includes around a $1 billion increase in school aid including $700 million in new Foundation Aid, although the exact distribution among school districts is not yet available. New York State owes $4.3 billion in Foundation Aid to schools statewide as a result of the decision of the New York State Court of Appeals in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit.

The Assembly Majority fought hard for our public school children and it was an uphill battle with both Governor Cuomo and the Senate Republican-IDC Majority Coalition standing in the way.”

Governor Cuomo cares about “middle class” families but shows little concern for elementary and secondary education school children. If we were to properly educate all children in America, colleges would be competing for the students of all classes by offering them academic scholarships.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Follow The Funding

From the Federal Register

Applications for New Awards; Assistance for Arts Education Programs-Professional Development for Arts Educators Grants

Purpose of Program: The Assistance for Arts Education program is authorized under Title IV, Part F, Subpart 4 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act. It is intended to enrich the academic experiences by promoting arts education for students, including disadvantaged students and students who are children with disabilities. The Professional Development for Arts Educators grant specifically supports the implementation of high-quality model professional development programs for arts educators and other instructional staff in the areas of music, dance, drama, media arts, and visual arts, including folk arts, for students in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) in which 50 percent or more of the students are from low-income families.

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
Estimated Available Funds: The Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017, would provide, on an annualized basis, $26,948,673 for the Arts in Education program, of which we would use an estimated $7,100,000 for this competition.

Estimated Number of Awards: 20-25.

It is a well known fact that if you want to know the major concern of any organization, you simply analyze their budget.

Charter school growth receives more than $16,000,000 to fund three discretionary awards while Arts education receives $7,000,000 to fund 20-25 awards.

If our federal government were truly interested in providing every child in America with an excellent education, those figures would be reversed.

Providing all public schools with the funds necessary to support an Arts program that includes “the implementation of high-quality model professional development programs for arts educators and other instructional staff in the areas of music, dance, drama, media arts, and visual arts, including folk arts, for students in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12)” would increase the learning of all students and curtail the educational failure that propagates the idea that charter schools and vouchers are necessary.

Concentrating on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents all children possess begins with a curriculum founded in the Arts.

Following the funding shows our priorities are charters not children.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

So Much Money – So Little Learning

NYSUT Media Relations article
Rolling in dough: Charters holding nearly $400 million in cash, audits show, reports:

“ALBANY, N.Y.  March 21, 2017 — Despite perpetual cries of poverty, New York’s charter schools are flush with cash, holding at least $394.6 million in reserves in their bank accounts — a sum that has ballooned by nearly $122 million in just two years, an analysis by New York State United Teachers showed today.

NYSUT’s new analysis of financial documents show that cash held by charters swelled from $272.9 million in June 2013 to $394.6 million in June 2015.  In addition, audits filed by charter management with their authorizers in late 2016 — the latest available — also reveal the charters examined have $451.1 million in unrestricted net assets, which could be used to fund student programs and, more pointedly, pay rent on school facilities. . .

The biggest hoarder of cash is the Roosevelt Children’s Academy Charter School on Long Island with $23.1 million.  The Riverhead Charter School on Long Island held $10.1 million in cash in June 2015, while the Academic Leadership Charter School in the Bronx had $10.2 million in cash.  In the greater Buffalo area, charter schools are holding more than $41 million in cash, while Albany’s charters have $9.9 million in cash reserves.
Eva Moskowitz’ Success Academy Charter Schools-NYC reported $4.4 million in cash — but siphoned away 15 percent of its own schools’ revenues — or $18.3 million — for corporate “management fees.””

While public and charter schools demand billions of taxpayer’s money for education our children still do not receive even an adequate education. The elites are lining their pockets with education dollars that support the mis-education of our children.

In both public and charter schools our children are being forced to adhere to an artificial norm whose intent is to create sub-groups of students that the public is convinced require special funding in order to be properly educated when, in fact, not even the so-called normal students are receiving and adequate education.

Our current dehumanizing system of education perpetuates the ignorance necessary for the continued control and complacency of the American people towards legislation and government spending.

We are paying dearly for the enslavement of our children.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!