REMINDER: Event 2/5

BecauseICare_Feb5

Attention ALL Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Taxpayers!

JOIN Oneonta Area for Public Education at the 11th Annual Legislative Forum at The Catskill Regional Teachers Center (crtc@oneonta.edu) on Thursday, February 5th to be held at the Bugbee School Auditorium in Oneonta from 4:30 – 5:30 PM.

Let your elected officials hear WHY THEY SHOULD VOTE NO on Governor Cuomo’s billionaire friendly education agenda that hurts children and schools in NYS. Prepare a short comment that starts “I care because….”

CUOMO’s Agenda:

  • Said he was going to “break” public schools (Daily News 10/24/14)
  • Wants to tie state aid to ramped up teacher evaluations that increase the weight of state test scores and bring in outside evaluators to observe teachers.
  • Wants to raise or eliminate the cap on the number of charter schools, which are privately run schools paid for with taxpayer dollars.
  • Wants to double down on the Common Core.
  • Wants to reward teachers with high performing students by doling out merit pay.
  • Wants to increase the amount of technology in public schools.

Key Points For Your Comment:

  • Children are not factory products. One size fits all curricula that ‘drill and kill’ ELA and math at the expense of arts, social studies and science are bad for learning and bad for kids.
  • Common Core State Standards are developmentally inappropriate and hold teachers responsible for factors over which they have no control. 46% of New Yorkers are opposed to the CCSS while only 23% support them.
  • “College and career readiness” is a false bill of goods. Proficiency rates are based on ARBITRARY CUT SCORES, not on any objective measure, put in place by John King in 2013. Children who underperform suffer from food insecurity, troubled communities, and unstable homes. Poverty is the problem, not schools and teachers.
  • Bumping up teacher evaluations to 50% based on state test results means more teaching to the test. Bringing in outside evaluators to do teachers observations is a waste of time, tax dollars and robs schools and communities of local decision-making and autonomy.
  • State aid to schools is distributed unfairly. Schools in poorer districts spent $8,733 less per pupil last year than schools in wealthier districts. The GAP Elimination Adjustment amounts to parasitism on small rural and poor schools.
  • Legislators are being held hostage to Cuomo’s demands. If they go along with his plan, state aid to schools will amount to a $1.1 billion increase. If legislators refuse to be bullied, schools will be punished with only a $377 million increase in state aid.
  • Teacher morale is at a 20 year low. Students enrolled in teacher education programs have dropped 22% in the last two years alone. We face the very real possibility of a teacher shortage. Taking away teachers professionalism and blaming them for problems beyond their control is not the way to attract the best and brightest to this essential profession.
  • Every child deserves a high quality public school. More charters means more profits for billionaire hedge fund managers but leaves public school children, especially those with special needs or who are English language learners, in the dirt.
  • School consolidation hurts small communities and the children and families who live in them. Small rural schools have proven records of achievement. Consolidated schools have been shown to increase transportation costs, raise drop out rates and lower involvement in extra curricular activities.
  • Merit pay incentivized teaching to the test, punishes teachers who have students who are poor, English language learners or who have special needs, and creates tension and negativity in schools.
  • More technology in schools means more profits for moguls in the $8 billion dollar     education technology sector but new research shows that children need less rather than more screen time for healthy learning and development.

For more detailed information on these crucial points visit NYSAPE at

http://www.nysape.org/press-release—response-to-governors-letter-on-public-education.html

SueFlyer

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About Betsy Bloom

Betsy is an Associate Professor of Education at Hartwick College in Oneonta NY. She is also a parent of two, a nine year veteran middle school social studies teacher and the current president of the NYS Foundations of Education Association, an organization dedicated to achieving social justice through public education.
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