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PUBLIC EDUCATION: Our Most Important Infrastructure.
  Prior Postings of Note  


View: Underfunded schools and weak local control, Shane McGaffey (President, Pleasantville BOE), LoHud (11/18/2015); “…New York State’s tack over the last decade has been to underfund and usurp local school/community decision making. Help us to fight for the funding and local control we once had, and need, to ensure that our schools remain strong.”

Opinion; Is a new era of education policy just around the corner? How states stand to gain power from House-Senate deal, by Robert Rothman, Hechinger Report (11/16/2015), “If you want to see education policy in the next few years, look to state capitols, not Washington, D.C.”

Common Core to Sink or Swim this School Year, by Gary Stern, Lohud (9/2/2014), "…The whole accountability, 'gotcha' culture is so out of control that we need a fresh start," [Jere Hochman, Bedford Supt.] said. "The standards are OK, but every problem is connected to the Common Core. New York needs to take a bold stance so we can focus on educating kids…"

Coalition: Race to the Top reforms a financial drag on schools; Officials, PTA renew mandate-relief effort, Journal News, Gary Stern (5/25/13), “[Lisa Davis said] the state has not acknowledged that it is chipping away at local authority when it constantly passes new rules…educators need to partner with municipal and business leaders to get the attention of legislators. Another goal of the Stop Albany campaign, she said, is to interest parents and other taxpayers who may not understand the importance of mandate relief.”

Turmoil swirling around Common Core education standards, Washington Post, Lyndsey Layton (4/29/13), “…as the common core shifts from theory to reality, critics are emerging. State lawmakers are concerned about the cost… Progressives fret over new exams, saying that the proliferation of standardized tests is damaging public education. Teachers worry that they haven’t had enough training and lack the resources to competently teach to the new standards. And conservatives say the new standards mean a loss of local control over education.”

How school reform became the cause célèbre of billionaires, Valerie Strauss,Washington Post (3/19/13), "Why are billionaire philanthropists at the forefront of school reform? Primer from Jack Schneider, an asst. prof. of education at the College of the Holy Cross and author of “Excellence For All: How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America’s Public Schools.”..."each time they make the case for a new reform, they blast public school leaders, disrespect what teachers know about classrooms, disregard most of the research on school improvement, and frame our schools as failures.  That isn’t common sense; that’s arrogance."

Caution and the Common Core, NY Times Editorial (5/27/13), States should have some flexibility as they move to the new and more demanding curriculum..."Education Department should give states the flexibility to refrain from penalizing schools or teachers based on the test data for at least a year, until an evaluation system for the Common Core is validated.

Education Panel Skips Cost Equation: Schools Like Reforms But Already Are Cutting, Journal News, Gary Stern (1/6/2013), “…Lisa Davis, executive director of the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association, said it was offensive for the commission to propose ideas that educators have long favored without addressing the financial realities school districts face, including Cuomo’s prized cap on property-tax levies. ‘Most of these ideas have been floating around for a long time, and they’re good ideas,’ she said. ‘But we have an unsustainable financial model. It’s like the house is burning and you’re going to redecorate the kitchen.’”

NYS Mandate Relief Council Submits Annual Report to Governor and Legislature
NYS Mandate Relief Council Meets, TimesUnion.com, Capitol Confidential, (posted 12/18/2012 by Rick Karlin), " The state's 11-member Mandate Relief Council voted to forward three sets of suggestions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for closer consideration and, perhaps, legislative action to help contain local government costs."

Cuomo: Local gov'ts need to cope with tax cap on their own, Karen DeWitt. (10/23/2012), New York Now (NPR), "Governor Andrew Cuomo is telling local governments they are on their own when it comes to coping with a recently imposed property tax cap, saying it’s up to county and city government leaders to make the hard choices, and to stop complaining."

Ossining High School's science program named nation's best by Intel, Gary Stern and Marcela Rojas, Journal News, (9/12/2012), “The program has been recognized as the most innovative science or math program in the country by the Intel Foundation, which was won over by the high school’s project-based student work in areas such as robotics.”

N.Y. education panel hears from critics on teacher evaluations, financing, Gary Stern, Journal News (9/11/2012); “About 30 speakers — most from Westchester and Rockland counties — covered a lot of ground, but focused mostly on two very different issues. First, they talked about money, namely the effects of shrinking state aid, the new property-tax levy cap and the growing disparity between rich and poor school districts. Second, they assailed the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system for being costly, rushed and ineffective…”

Seeking Aid, School Districts Change Teacher Evaluations, NY Times (10/15/12), "....In an exercise evoking a corporate motivation seminar, a group of public school teachers and principals clustered around posters scrawled with the titles of Beatles songs. Their assignment: choose the one that captured their feelings about a new performance evaluation system being piloted in their district..."

WPSBA Letter to Governor Urging Veto on S7722a - A10722a.
Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents Letter.
This legislation would have required committees on special education (CSE) to consider cultural background and home and family experience when making special education placement decisions, and to consider a parent's request for reimbursement for a unilateral placement (including non-NYS-approved placements), payable within 30 days. MORE LINKS..

-Text of A10722a - S7722a Legislation

In Lists of Best High Schools, Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story, NY Times, Mike Winerip (6/3/2012)

While rating systems have specific formulas, it is worth noting that many of the top schools have selective admissions or are in wealthy communities...My concern is that the lists are stacked. Schools with the greatest challenges can appear to be the biggest failures. At a time when public education is so data-driven, that kind of thinking can cost dedicated teachers and principals their jobs."

N.Y. leaves failed 'No Child' behind, Journal News Editorial, (5/31/2012) "...with waivers from the Education Department, New York and the other states gain more flexibility with federal funds and relief from NCLB’s one-size-fits-all-failure requirements…It would have required hocus-pocus and more to achieve those aims,,,. Neither the substantial resources nor new thinking ever materialized, certainly not in tandem. Continued failure became inevitable.”

Even Without New Contracts, Many Public Employees Get Raises, by Danny Hakim, NY Times (4/10/12)  "Some officials are seeking the repeal of a New York State law that allows workers to continue receiving salary increaes even if negotiations stall."

Triborough Blocks Fiscal Sanity, By E.J. McMAHON, Newsday (1/25/2012).
"...So far, Cuomo and most state lawmakers are ignoring this issue -- which might be more easily understandable if we were living in a normal fiscal environment. But as a top school board lobbyist testified before the legislature this week, "local school officials recognize that 'normal' is not coming back. "It's about time our state's leaders recognized the same thing."

Hudson Valley Schools Seek Voice to Reduce State Mandates, Journal News, (12/9/2011), Region’s top school officials are challenging state legislators to relax costly rules affecting everything from transportation to special education to employee-pension to health-care costs…which account for close to 20% of school budget. LINK to LHCSS Position Paper and Mandate Relief Recommendations

Communities Rebel Against Cuomo’s Cap on Local Taxes, New York Times (10/24/2011), "...communities, which include affluent New York City suburbs and rural outposts in the state’s extreme northern frontier, are declaring that they cannot restrain the growth of property taxes and still comply with a variety of state-mandated programs and provide the services residents expect. And now dozens of town and county boards are overriding, or proposing to override, the cap."

When Schools Depend on Handouts, New York Times Opinion, MICHAEL A. REBELL and JESSICA R. WOLFF (8/25/2011), Most state constitutions guarantee all students a sound, basic public education, rights that cannot be put on hold, even in tough times.

Administrators, union say teacher rating system is moving too fast, Journal News (July 9, 2011) "Many school districts racing to begin grading educators this fall under a new state system are concerned about the emphasis on student test scores... Some administrators say they will have to begin the process on the fly, with unclear state rules and expectations, even though... faulty evaluations can result in costly teacher appeals..."

Regents Pay a Political Price for Their Free Advisers,Dissenters Warn,New York Times (8/14/2011) The research fellows follow the views of their donors, opponents of that approach say....”

Pols, pundits should keep facts straight in education debates, Times Herald Record: Opinion, Meghan E. Murphy (7/20/2011) "While I'm used to pundits and politicians cherry-picking statistics to back up their agendas, what I find most confounding is that our nation and state leaders are putting a big dunce cap on our schools that they don't deserve."

Cuomo's Tax Cap Wins the Day; But Big Questions Linger for Locals, The Bond Buyer (7/11/2011) “…The cap ‘is likely to put additional pressure on local government financial operations already strained by declining state aid, weakened tax revenue, high fixed expenditures, and state-mandated services,’ Moody's Investors….”

WPSBA Letter to SED and NYS Regents regarding the 3012-c Teacher Evaluation Regulations (5/6/2011):  "While supportive of the intent of the statute and the need to improve teacher effectiveness and raise student achievement, WPSBA cannot overemphasize the concern at the local level regarding the impact of the regulations as written."

NYSSBA survey of the impact of Governor Cuomo's executive budget on 2011-12 school district budgets, staffing and programs. (March 2011)

Diane Ravitch on the Myth of Charter Schools, New York Review of Books, November 11, 2010. "...There is a clash of ideas occurring in education right now between those who believe that public education is not only a fundamental right but a vital public service...and those who believe that the private sector is always superior to the public sector..."

Tax Cap Bad for State's Neediest Students Times Union, August 14, 2010 "...But before we embrace a tax cap as the cure-all,  lawmakers must realize the unintended catastrophic consequence it would have on our most vulnerable school districts."

A Few Questions for the Educators, Times Union, August 19, 2010

"...there are questions about whether the Regents exams, once considered a gold standard, have been dumbed down to the point of irrelevancy..."
Albany Times Union Editorial, June 3, 2010
  WPSBA In The News...  
  Hudson Valley leader [Lisa Davis] rallies school boards for change, Newsday, Meghan Murphy (2/9/2013), "It's the small victories that keep her going, she [Lisa Davis] says…You have to keep up the fight. You take the small little victories and keep reminding yourself that you're doing it for the kids."

NYSCOSS releases report of survey of NYS superintendents on financial matters, (Nov. 2012) Can’t there from here: Budgeting challenges call for new directions in state policy to help schools raise student achievement.”

WPSBA Journal News Community View: Local school boards stay obligated to community, Journal News (4/22/12) "It is not so much that the players on boards of education have changed, but rather that the times have changed, and local school board members have responded to the needs of their community… School boards must continue to be financially responsive to their communities, but without immediate mandate relief from Albany on critical cost drivers, budget cuts will lead to a degradation in the quality of education provided to students."

WPSBA Journal News Community View Article- Parents, Communities Must Demand Education Reforms (5/15/2011): "...A tax levy cap is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Public education in New York State as we know it will sink unless there is substantive legislative action to addres the cost drivers...  Real change will only come when parents and community members join us in the fight for public education..."

2011 Recipient of the College Clinic "Outstanding School Program Award"
: Manhattanville College-WPSBA Transition Task Force (5/5/2011)
 "In four short years, this task force has hosted two major conferences, focused on these critical issues; has administered a survey following our HS graduates into their freshman year of college to help understand areas of need; has held meetings and conversations to identify best practices among our high school programs and now continues to find new and original ways of how to best support our students as they transition and succeed in the college and the workplace."

"Now, more than ever, an effective governance team is critical to the long-term success of every district. Read the May 16 WPSBA Journal News Community View article.

Journal News Editorial Spotlight Videos
The WPSBA March 2010 interview with the Journal News editors can be viewed online. This link includes an array of interviews with school board candidates, government officials, local organizations, businesses and others. To select a video, click here and then click the "on demand" button in the bottom row of the video screen and scroll down the list of videos on the right.

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