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Schools Awash In Free Cuomo Cash – Will students get their fair share?

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Love him or hate him,  the man knows how to bring home the education bacon.

 

 

 2015-2016 Education aid by the numbers:

$1.67 billion increase (7.65%) + $2 billion in Smart bonds (9.1%)  = $3.6 billion tidal wave.

All of the budgetary hand wringing and apologizing in Albany has resulted in a 

Jaw Dropping 16.5% spending increase in one year! 

It’s party time at the biggest employer in YOUR town!

 

Strings attached?

Who cares? Your school is going to need extra mattresses to hide this much money.

 

A local multi-million dollar spending festival is about to begin…

 

Right now school boards across NY are busy tossing out the “we’re starving” budget from last week and replacing it with a shiny new example of where to stash those free greenbacks so they can  still claim they’re starving. With all of this extra cash,  it’s going to be a tough job this year.   Those financial wizards of the purposefully vague & confusing spending plans haven’t seen this kind of money swamping in at least 2 years. For them, this is the after-party… Let the good times roll with billions in EXTRA Free Cuomo Bucks!

 

Parents need to get on the  feeding frenzy festivities…

Time is short – the big money will vanish fast into the annual industry standard excuse… the mysterious “unfunded mandate”. According to media wonk’s – everything from floor mops to ergonomic chairs are mandated and unfunded.  Make your plans now & get your piece of the hot fair share action.  Don’t think twice about school employees… they  got their contract cash coming no matter what the budget big shots say.

 

Suggested party plans…

Not sure what to ask for? Don’t bribe the teacher with a free apple, DEMAND every classroom spending budget be tripled with FREE money from the pseudo-gods of Albany!  The teachers know where to spend that classroom money better than any fat cat school bureaucrat. Give em’ a classroom spending spree of mind numbing epic proportions!  Remember… classroom spending accounts really are for the children!

 

Your friends are invited too…

Everybody knows there is power in numbers… band together with your rebel friends -show up to that budget meeting and  yell louder than anyone else!  Dive head first into this annual cash orgy – show those special interests and board scrooges how to party!

 

100% Guilt Free…

Don’t try to fix this year’s problem – that’s ancient history. Be Progressive! Demand they back up those cash laden dump trucks into the future classrooms of your own children. Be self centered – Be greedy – It’s OK! Your efforts will help every child behind yours for years to come… there is no shame in that!

 

Ignore those pesky media claims…

Those jerks wouldn’t have the guts to print this headline “Schools bursting with cash” …that would wipe out a year’s worth of sob stories.  They need this money to go away fast to save those ad dollars & to keep you away from the biggest multi-million dollar spending party in town. No need to RSVP!!! Get in there and fill up the student swag bag!

 

Act Fast… this is a limited time offer…

Final budgets are due soon for the big vote in May… we’re talking extra billions to be spent in the next 6 weeks!  This kind of free money bonanza may not come around till the next election season. Hurry – billions in Free Cuomo Bucks will disappear faster than a 3rd world aid package!

 

Send No Money Back Guarantee!

Nobody ever sends pre-approved free money back to Albany.  Act now! Get the student’s fair share today!

 

 

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Are parents set to lose opt out rights in ESEA and NCLB changes?

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It is a big week in the world of education as Congress debates the proposed changes to NCLB act. No matter which side your political persuasion leans, there is a key amendment to the ESEA by sponsored by Chris Gibson (NY) that should be of concern for parents and taxpayers. The amendment is designed to change the required annual state standardized tests to a staggered time-frame known as grade spanning. The amendment is as follows:

 

 

 

Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act – Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to eliminate the requirement that students be tested against state academic content and achievement standards in mathematics and reading or language arts in each of grades three through eight.

Requires, instead, that those tests be administered at least once during: (1) grades 3 through 5, (2) grades 6 through 9, and (3) grades 10 through 12.

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What is wrong with it?

One of the biggest tools of the parent led Stop Common Core groups has been the right to opt-out or refuse state standardized tests for 3rd.-8th. grade students. This right has helped put the movement on the political map as parents and students joined together to fight against common core. The Gibson amendment alters the power of that right by limiting its usage thereby reducing the parental ability to affect change in a very direct and meaningful way.

To explain, under a grade span testing system, only parents in select grades will be able to avoid the state standardized test. This fact will limit the amount of parents and the pressure they can exert on a school district or a state in any given year. In essence, what was once a right afforded to all parents in 5 grade levels carrying maximum leverage will now be available to a few parents from one grade level and in many instances per school.

Simply put, there is weakness in small numbers and grade span testing ensures small oppositional numbers to fight bad policies or educational concerns. To make matters worse, parental rights to direct education itself is further reduced with what is planned as a replacement to the state standardized test.

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Introducing, the annual non-standardized local test.

The general push in articles favoring grade span testing is always accompanied by an admission that we can’t dump the yearly tests. The common solution by the progressive crowd is an annual “Performance Based” or “Authentic Assessment” testing method from the mid 80’s-90’s. The overall definition of these deceptively descriptive terms is largely subjective.  If the descriptions from the lead group pushing for grade span testing (Fairtest) are accurate, these new tests will be created by your local district vs the state. Such a move will probably re-create the same problems discussed in this pre-common core document “Performance Assessment in an Era of Standards-Based Educational Accountability”.

That document details complaints of bad curriculum, educational changes due to political shifts, bonuses in the millions (Pearson tests are cheap compared to this), high overall costs, unequal education, unreliable grading, claims of “tests worth teaching to” and scandals from 7 different statewide approaches. It is well worth your time to read the report and consider the possibility that these problems will manifest themselves in hundreds of districts in NY and hundreds of thousands of schools across the country.

 

Limiting parental rights in education.

If you thought Common Core had problems, the Fairtest approach localizes the testing and the problems inherent in “Performance based or Authentic Testing”… which makes solutions more complex than ever. Especially since the legal loophole for opting out only applies to state standardized tests. Regardless, should the amendment pass,  parents will no longer be able to wield the opt-out ax as a right against excessive testing or any other issue in significant numbers that would make a difference in changing an already flawed system.

 

Preserve the opt out right today

Regardless of where you stand politically, the Gibson amendment or some other amendment should make clear that no matter what the establishment decides with regards to what constitutes an assessment, the rights of parents to reject assessments needs to be preserved in writing. Call your representatives today and demand specific language to enact this right into law.

 

 

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Uncle Buck Slams Common Core-esque Educrat

film-phrygian-capMuch of the recent oppositional chatter surrounding NY’s Common Core has been focused on refusing tests that are supposed to identify specific teacher training needs, reward excellence and of course… find bad teachers for rehabilitation or termination.

While the interest is welcome, it has overshadowed discussion of the more important problems associated with the standards themselves. Namely, what is happening to early childhood education under the Common Core? With the talks about tests dominating the discourse,  Facebook posts like the one below are a welcome relief from the monotony.

Common Core cage

From the article –  “Kindergarten students are now expected to sit at desks for hours being inappropriately subjected to a crash course in reading before they can tie their shoes. What happened to playing with blocks, learning how to choose the right one, balancing it correctly to construct a tower? How about painting at an easel with bright colors?”

 

20 years before Common Core, John Candy (as Uncle Buck) acted in a fictional scene that included wild expectations and demands from an elementary school vice principal …it might as well have been released yesterday as historical non fiction.

 

 

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