Love him or hate him, the man knows how to bring home the education bacon.
$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!
Who cares? Your school is going to need extra mattresses to hide this much money.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Nobody ever sends pre-approved free money back to Albany. Act now! Get the student’s fair share today!
Two mothers in Minnesota have written opinion letters which claim teachers promoted the parental right of opting out of the state standardized tests directly to students. While doing so, teachers allegedly warned the students that school lessons (government services) would be missed if they didn’t opt out. If the allegations are true, the Minnesota parental right to chose to refuse does not seem to be a true right or a choice in any sense.
Here are the quotes-
Beth Hawkins – “Test anxiety: Is it the kids or the teachers who are driving opt-outs?” Minn Post 03/19/15
“Last Thursday my son, who is typically a reliable narrator, came home from Southwest High School with what I initially imagined was a tall tale. He told me I’d be getting an emailed version of the form Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) asks parents who object to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) to sign. I should agree to exempt him, he explained, because teachers were warning kids that anyone who took the annual state proficiency exams would miss a lesson that would be delivered at that time and would thus risk falling behind. His friends were either asking their parents to sign or forging their signatures.”
Lynnell Mickelsen – “6 thoughts about the opt-out movement -Are Teachers Trying To Dump The Evidence?” Star Tribune 03/23/15
“According to the girl, her 10th-grade English teacher had handed out the forms to everyone in class and had urged them to get their parents to sign it. The teacher said that if enough students opted out of the Minnesota Comprehensive Exams, eventually the state would stop giving them. He also said he’d conduct regular classes for everyone opting out, leaving the impression that those who took the test would fall behind.””
In prior articles we suggested that allowing teachers to directly promote test refusals was a conflict of interest that would inadvertently produce an atmosphere of fear, coercion or worse. The allegations above seem to depict all three and a very poor solution that results in no teacher accountability or observance of parental rights.
Thankfully there are other organizations that are on the right track. For example, the Delaware PTA is at least mindful of the possibility of fear and intimidation occurring and the largest teachers union in NY (NYSUT) has advised their members that talking directly to students/parents may have legal problems. For now, these solutions seem to be the best that parents, professionals and the taxpayer can hope for in order to avoid Minnesota’s “wild west” approach.
In conclusion and once again… refusing the state tests should remain a personal choice and right without influence from teachers and administrators who have a vested interest in the results.
It was suggested that our concerns of incentivizing fear and coercion for vested interests were poorly conceived…
On 3/24/2015, the Delaware PTA issued a statement in support of a parents right to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
“Delaware PTA will not encourage any parent to opt their child out of the test. We firmly believe each decision and subsequent reason for opting out is unique. We also firmly believe that this is a personal decision that must be made by the parental unit.”
Later on in the statement, they felt it necessary to include this language:
“Address parent/teacher concerns of fear and/or intimidation regarding the parent opt out”
The Delaware Opt Out movement seemed to be happy with the positions taken by their PTA “This is a HUGE step in the opt out movement Delaware parents! “
Hats off to the Delaware PTA for their willingness to recognize all of the concerns raised by their members.
In the Facebook group Stop Common Core In New York State, parents have begun posting a variety of allegations concerning direct discussions between teachers and students regarding the NY standardized tests. Some of them are quoted below:
In our article titled Superintendent Paladino was right for the wrong reasons , we commented that it was wrong for teachers to talk directly to parents about the tests when they have a vested interest in the results. We suggested that doing this would inadvertently remove a parents right to refuse without fear, coercion or worse. As a hypothetical example, we put forth this scenario:
… imagine you are a parent and your child’s teacher talks to you about test refusals. After the conversation, what do you do if you were planning on your child taking the test? If you allow the test to be taken anyway, will this teacher take it out on your child at school? Will the last regular grade of the year be mysteriously low? Will your child be marked as testing trouble by other teachers in the future?
The negative mental questions a parent can think of are limitless. As a parent, your only logical choice is to refuse the test to avoid any questionable activity by the teacher now or in the future.
The Bill of Rights guarantees every American citizen a variety of individual freedoms that may be enjoyed without fear, coercion or reprisal from the government. Teachers are government employees and if the above allegations are true, they may have instilled a coercive atmosphere into children and their parents. There should be no protection for this kind of activity as it is a breeding ground for government corruption and tyranny.
In NY, a few well meaning politicians have written a bill to dispel the confusion surrounding parental rights in refusing test participation by ensuring parents are aware of their right to refuse. An action that is nearly moot at this point unless you live in a cave. Nonetheless, a required statement like this will certainly serve as a reminder of parental rights long after this controversy settles down.
The real problem lies within a sentence on the petition website produced by these politicians:
“The bill protects teachers from being penalized in their evaluations due to a lack of student participation “
We believe the statement nearly guarantees (and incentivizes) teachers will turn up their attempts to persuade children and parents to refuse a test instead of placing their monetary & labor concerns where they belong; with their union representatives who are supposed to negotiate with elected public servants who represent the interests of people. As we have said before, refusing the state tests should remain a personal choice and right without influence from teachers and administrators who have a vested interest in the results.