Originally posted on the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign blog, APRIL 30, 2013 http://bit.ly/13JKFUX
Let’s be honest about something while we struggle with this slumping economy, reductions in state education spending and the suffering caused by high unemployment. In New York State’s quest to become more business friendly and economically stable and to create jobs, we are acquiescing to the sacrifice of the here and now. Now more than ever we need to make significant investments in our young people. And we need to invest in a public education system that has the potential to be model for other states and public systems across the globe. We know that education continues to be the engine of opportunity, driving growth, innovation and jobs for our great state.
From certain perspectives, sacrifice might be acceptable in light of brighter prospects for the state’s future. However, from the point of view of our children’s education, we are tragically giving up on an entire generation who will receive far less right now, will not be prepared for college or a career, and will struggle to become the productive citizens we need to perpetuate our republic. Continue reading
The State Education Department is warning parents and teachers that the scores on this year’s state assessments in grades 3-8 English language arts and math could be dramatically lower than last year. That’s because the 2013 tests reflect the tougher learning standards of Common Core. SED is basing its forecast on test results seen in other states, such as Kentucky where scores dropped 46 percent from the previous year.
It’s understandable that we feel disappointed when we see lower scores, but it should be expected because of the higher educational goals built into Common Core Learning Standards.
On the other hand, maybe we should appreciate this as a wake up call for our students’ sake. They are the ones that must build a life on the educational framework we provide in our schools. Common Core was designed to strengthen the framework and position our kids for a brighter future. Continue reading
One way our local schools can preserve quality programs for their students is through shared services and regionalization. Districts struggling on their own to keep academics and extracurriculars in place might ease their burden by sharing it with their neighbors. That’s the philosophy behind my “merging without merging” concept.
Like the rocks in the middle of the stream forcing water to find a different way, unfunded mandates, inequitable school funding and the lack of political will challenge our school districts to innovate.
I applaud and support the efforts of my colleagues, along with their school communities, to fight the fight in Albany, arguing for change. Our governor and legislators need to be held accountable for the way they represent us—or don’t. Pressure from advocacy groups certainly keeps the issues front and center in the minds of New Yorkers.
However, I have watched seventh graders turn into high school seniors in the years that our aid has been cut and the mandates pile up. At the same time, opportunities like Advanced Placement and electives and extracurricular clubs and activities have been forced out of their schools. These kids have lost their chance for the quality of education their older brothers and sisters enjoyed.
Regionalization is the key to helping students now. Continue reading