Siena College Poll & NYSAPE Board of Regents Vote Watch

vote watch smallThere are three important take aways from the Siena College poll out today:

1.  “By a 62-21 percent margin, voters say they trust SED more than the governor to set education policy, with 13 percent trusting neither.”

2.  “By a 50-38 percent margin, voters want implementation of Common Core standards delayed for two years.”

Take a look at those two statements and we see both good and bad news.

Good– Voters know that something is awry with current education policy and reforms, and as such, the public wants NYS to slow down and step back when it comes to Common Core Learning Standards.

Bad– Voters have put their trust in the NYS Education Department (NYSED), which is supervised by the Board of Regents.  To date, the Board of Regents (BOR) has done nothing to address the concerns brought forth by parents and educators.  In fact, though Board of Regents Work Group released a list of recommendations  in regards to Common Core Learning Standards earlier this month, the recommendations offered no meaningful solutions and continue to receive nothing but criticism from teachers, education experts, parents, advocacy groups and the state teachers’ union.  You can read  responses to the failed leadership of the Board of Regents  here, or hop over to the Huffington Post where today Nicholas Tampio writes that “The Regents Aren’t Listening to Parents About the Common Core”.

It is the combination of the good news and bad news that leads to the third, and most important, take away from the Siena College poll:

3.   It’s crucial voters contact their NYS Senators and Assemblymen today and advocate for change to the Board of Regents.  It is imperative voters join New York State Allies for Public Education in calling upon NY State legislators to vote NO for incumbents at the Board of Regents Election during the join legislative session to be held on Tuesday March 11, 2014.  The public must let legislators  know that voters expect they will be present at the vote, and that they will vote NO to the four incumbents.

Otherwise, NYS voters are left with legitimate concerns sitting unaddressed by the sitting Board of Regents.  It’s time for change.

Update 9:15pm: Read Diane Ravitch’s take on the NYS Board of Regents at the link below.  She notes:
But to make such significant changes, the Regents themselves must change. They cannot cling blindly to a failed status quo. By their actions and by their inaction, they are fomenting a parent rebellion.”

(updated 3/5/14 to correct spelling of Siena)

Siena College Poll & NYSAPE Board of Regents Vote Watch

The Myth Behind Public School Failure

YesInfographc2.21.14The Myth Behind Public School Failure: In the rush to privatize the country’s schools, corporations and politicians have decimated school budgets, replaced teaching with  standardized testing, and placed the blame on teachers and students.
by Dean Paton
posted Feb 21, 2014

Read the full article here:

The Myth Behind Public School Failure

CCSS: Public Support Sought

Though we knew the panel was stacked, it’s a bit surprising to have the members of Governor Cuomo’s Common Core panel come right out and tell us their plan: improve public opinion about Common Core State Standards. Jessica Bakeman reports at Capital New York that, “The expert presenters stressed during the two-and-a-half hour meeting that the success of the standards relies heavily on support from parents and the general public.”

Read more from Bakeman about the first meeting of Governor Cuomo’s panel here.

This parent is looking forward to making the panel’s goal of increasing public support as difficult as possible.  Then again, it’s not too difficult to convince parents and the general public that Common Core State Standards are not in the best interest of our children or schools.

CCSS: Public Support Sought

Advice to Cuomo’s Common Core Panel: withdraw

The panel put in place by Governor Cuomo to review the rollout of Common Core State Standards in New York met for the first time today.  As we know, the Governor filled the panel with pro-Common Core supporters.  A professor, and parent of children in the New york City Public Schools, Jeff Nichols, wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo’s panel in response to its invitation for public comment.  Take a moment to read Jeff’s letter here.  It gives an accurate and concise summary of why Common Core State Standards are not in our best interest and, in the author’s own words, provides a “simple” solution to the problem at hand: withdraw.

Advice to Cuomo’s Common Core Panel: withdraw

Utica’s Fair Share Rally February 18, 2014

Our allies at the Alliance for Quality Education held a rally this morning to demand that Utica City Schools receive it’s fair share of funding.  Opt Out CNY was present to show our support for public schools.  It was great to see Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) present to advocate for fair funding as well as speak out against charter schools.  Below, left, find links to media coverage from the event.  Below, right, a letter to Governor Cuomo from Trinh Truong, a junior at Proctor High School (click to enlarge).

From WKTV 1743666_736173413074307_1569171032_n
From the Utica OD
From Time Warner News
From WUTR/cnyhomepage

A few words from AQE on funding:
“With Governor Cuomo’s proposed education budget, Utica Schools will, yet again, be shortchanged. New York’s Constitution guarantees students to a “sound, basic” education, regardless of zip code, but during Governor Cuomo’s tenure the inequity between school districts has only grown.

The Utica City School District is only able to spend $15,581 per student, whereas New York State’s average amount per student is $20,906. Utica needs more money to meet the needs of its diverse community. With the $1.9 billion increase to education funding legislators and advocates have been calling for, Utica would receive nearly $8 million dollars more than the current proposal.

Utica’s Fair Share Rally February 18, 2014

Board of Regents Interviews: Christine Cea is NOT “the Voice of Disabilities”

Four of the 16 member on the Board of Regents are up for reappointment this March and interviews for the positions were conducted earlier this month.  New York State Allies for Public Education has endorsed four highly qualified candidates for the positions.  You can read more about them, here.

The current Regents, James Cottrell, Christine Cea, James Jackson, and Wade Norwood, have been dismissive of parents’ concerns and have shown very little (nearly no) criticism of Commissioner King or Chancellor Tisch.

Maybe, then, we should not be surprised that during her interview, Regent Cea gave vague responses to questions regarding special education, despite her claim that she is the “voice of disabilities”.  Not only were her answers vague, but the answers clearly show that Regent Cea lacks the basic understanding of how an IEP is written and how the Common Core Learning Standards are impacting students with disabilities.

Surprised or not by Regent Cea’s poor performance, watch her interview and get the full break down from Bianca Tanis at Re-Thinking Testing: Mid Hudson here: Staten Island Regent Christine Cea is NOT “the Voice of Disabilities”

Board of Regents Interviews: Christine Cea is NOT “the Voice of Disabilities”