Governing Our Governance

New York: Who Is Behind the Effort to Allow Charter Schools to Hire Uncertified Teachers?
By dianeravitch points to the Alan Singer blog titled, Politics And Campaign Dollars Shape New York Charter School Policies, in which he states:

“The finger points at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Politicians and wealthy business leaders with ties to Cuomo are behind the push to exempt some of the state’s charter schools from hiring certified teachers. It is a move that would weaken University-based teacher education programs, undermine teacher professionalism, and seriously hurt the education of children across the state.

Cuomo has long been a supporter of expanded and minimally regulated charter schools. In 2014, while preparing to run for reelection, Cuomo spoke at a pro-charter rally on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Albany. In his speech he praised charter school groups and Republican and independent Democrats who were joining with him to “save” charter schools, although there was no movement trying to destroy them. Curiously, Cuomo never discussed pulling the children out of school and shipping them to Albany for a staged rally.

In 2016, while no one was paying close attention, the State Legislature with Cuomo’s endorsement extended the regulatory authority of the Trustees of the State University over charter schools. The SUNY Charter Institute, a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees, now claims this legislation empowers them to permit charter schools under their jurisdiction to hire uncertified teachers and train them according to their own guidelines.”

According to Ms. Ravitch, “Cuomo needs the hedge funders to finance the presidential run everyone expects he wants. But, as Alan points out, he also needs the votes of the public so he may be open to persuasion.”

Continuing a system of mis-education that empowers the wealthy while maintaining the impoverished conditions of others can only be stopped by creating a system of education that concentrates on discovering, developing and directing the gifts and talents of all children towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens who recognize and vote for the love of humanity over love of money.

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One For All

Applications for New Awards; Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals With Disabilities-Research and Development Center on Developing Software To Adapt and Customize Instruction in Digital Learning Environments To Improve Results for Children With Disabilities

Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program are to: (1) Improve results for students with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom for students with disabilities; (3) provide support for captioning and video description that is appropriate for use in the classroom; and (4) provide accessible educational materials to students with disabilities in a timely manner.

Estimated Available Funds: The Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017, would provide, on an annualized basis, $30,047,000 for the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities program, of which we would use an estimated $1,000,000 for this competition.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1

Applications for New Awards; Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals With Disabilities-Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Children and Students With Visual Impairments and Print Disabilities

Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program are to: (1) Improve results for students with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom for students with disabilities; (3) provide support for captioning and video description that is appropriate for use in the classroom; and (4) provide accessible educational materials to students with disabilities in a timely manner.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $30,047,000 for the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities program for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $8,500,000 for this competition.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

Two awards totalling over $9 million dollars is not an opportunity to serve students but to add to the coffers of corporations that siphon educational dollars away from actually educating our children.

All children deserve access to all educational technology so that all can be educationally successful.

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Fund Education Wisely

From the Federal Register:

Applications for New Awards; Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program

Purpose of Program: The Javits program supports evidence-based research, demonstration projects, innovative strategies, and similar activities designed to build and enhance the ability of elementary and secondary schools nationwide to identify gifted and talented (as defined in this notice) students and meet their special educational needs.

Gifted and talented, when used with respect to students, children, or youth, means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $5,000,000.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in subsequent years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $300,000 to $500,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $425,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 9-12.

Eligible Applicants: State educational agencies; local educational agencies; the Bureau of Indian Education; IHEs; other public agencies; and other private agencies and organizations.

Our federal government believes only some of our children are gifted talented when all of our chidren are gifted and talented in some way.

All children deserve services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities because currently public schools normalize, standardardize and dehumanize our children making them believe that those who fit the norm are better than those who don’t.

Even those students identified as gifted and talented in our current system of education are made to feel different or odd.

To set aside $5 million dollars to fund nine to twelve agencies when all children deserve to receive an execellent education is a travesty.  We must change our current system of education to one that discovers, develops and directs the gifts and talents all children possess towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens of these United States who will fund education wisely.

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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.

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Public Education Is For The Public

This article by Henry Gass was printed in The Christian Science Monitor, Church, state, and school: What might Supreme Court ruling mean for vouchers?

He posits, “Thirty-eight states have amendments prohibiting state money from going to religious organizations. A Supreme Court case Wednesday, about whether a religious private school is eligible for state grant money, could change that.”

Many people believe that States should provide parents with vouchers that allow them to use tax education dollars to send their children to private schools in order to receive a better education than they could or would receive in a public school.

The question is not whether States should provide parents with vouchers, the question should be, “Why aren’t public schools providing every child in America with an excellent education?”

“The current average per student cost (of public education) is $7,552 and the average cost per special education student is an additional $9,369 per student, or $16,921.” NEA

In 2014 Money magazine reported, “According to data from the Nation Center for Education Statistics, the average price of a year of private elementary school is $7,770, and the average annual cost of private high school is $13,030.”

Surprisingly, sending our children to private schools would save tax payers millions of dollars and our children would receive a better education.

If public schools concentrated on educating children instead of providing jobs for adults and profits for “hedgehogs” there would be plenty of money to provide every child in America with an excellent education.

We must, as a people, change our current system of education from one that is wrought with regulations, normalization, standardization, and dehumanization, to one that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents all children possess towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens that would understand that children are our greatest resourse and that they are more valuable than money.

When every child in America receives an excellent education, religious organizations can concentrate on providing the children of their congregation with the spiritual guidance in which they believe.

An excellent education for all means an excellent America for all.

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A Funke Response

In response to a letter written to admonish Senator Funke for his vote to approve Governor Cuomo’s budget, Senator Funke wrote:

“. . . The Governor’s proposal to make standardized student testing count for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation is not part of the final Budget package. Instead, the Budget calls for the State Education Department (SED) to accept input from teachers and parents before making recommendations for final approval by the Board of Regents. . .

. . . this Budget provides an unprecedented increase in State aid to schools in Monroe and Ontario counties. . . I was able to deliver $46.9 million in additional school aid for the 2015-16 Budget year, for an average year to year increase of 8.3% by school district. I also kept my promise to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), as this Budget reduces the GEA to a point where it can be fully eliminated next year.

. . . this Budget . . . includes specific language aimed at reducing the impacts of testing. Page 132 in Education, Labor and Family Assistance (ELFA) (S2006-B/A3006-B):
SUBPART F . . .

. . . the Common Core Parental Refusal Act . . . requires school districts to notify parents of students grades 3-8 that such students may refuse to participate in all State testing . . .

I also fought to modify the Governor’s extreme proposals for tenure and receivership . . . we were ultimately successful.

. . . the Legislature made the following modifications:

*Changed the Governor’s mandate that independent observers from outside the district be used for teacher evaluations, and allows district administrators and . . . peer teachers to serve as observers and evaluators of their fellow colleagues

*Reduced Governor Cuomo’s proposed probationary period for new teachers to four years and eliminated the Governor’s plan to restart the whole probationary period if a teacher fails to receive an “effective” or “highly effective rating” during that time.

*Provided both an opportunity and funding to underperforming schools to enable them to improve rather than requiring an immediate state takeover. . .”

As long as the language of education remains the same, the result will remain the same.

Our children deserve a system of education that concentrates on their gifts and talents regardless of tests and teachers.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!