Friday, April 24, 2015
Saturday, April 4, 2015
a $30 million increase in pre-K funding for 3- and 4-year-olds;
a $19 million increase to support grants for a total of $90 million;
a school aid run increase of nearly $1.3 billion, which includes $428 million more for Foundation Aid;
$603 million to cover more than 50 percent of the remaining Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA);
$269 million to fully reimburse districts for expenses they have incurred such as transportation and BOCES;
$75 million in grants for struggling schools;
$20 million in grants, including aid for libraries, teacher centers and bilingual education; and
$2.3 million to support a rate increase for 4201 schools for a total of $98.5 million
adds $5 million in Comprehensive Attendance Policy funding to help students attending nonpublic schools. Total nonpublic aid in the budget is $171.4 million.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
The state budget has been approved, and education "reform" is a part of it. As a member of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), I and many others have been fighting back against the ill-informed and harmful "reforms" that Governor Cuomo insisted on. Prior to the vote, we reached out to our local politicians, sending thousands of faxes, emails, and signed letters to our elected Senators and Assembly men and women. Our elected officials told us they had our back.
Seems that some of them had a change of heart. Here are the Yes votes in the Assembly:
UPDATE (4/4/15): This vent is directed towards Ken Zebrowski, because he chose to "justify" his Yes vote; Ellen Jaffee's justification came a few days later; the vent is indirectly pointed towards to David Carlucci, as he did not choose to publicize hid reasoning for his Yes vote.
Mr. Zebrowski starts with:
The Governor's budget, submitted in January, contained significant policy changes to tenure, teacher evaluations and testing. After a month and a half of public hearings, the Assembly passed a budget resolution that rejected the Governor's proposals. I personally opposed these reforms because I believed they put too much emphasis on testing and unfairly blamed teachers. As we entered negotiations with the Governor and Senate on a final budget, our unequivocal goal was to reject these reforms. Unfortunately, the Governor has significant budgetary powers under the New York State Constitution. These powers were further expanded by the Court of Appeals during the Pataki administration. Essentially, the Assembly is unable to pass its own budget bills or change the policy language in a budget without approval by the Governor.
Education is the number one priority of myself and the New York State Assembly. If we could pass a budget by ourselves, the Governor’s reforms would have been rejected. Unfortunately, governmental and constitutional realities sometimes force us to compromise, make a bad situation better and use the leverage we have to advance the best policy available at a given point.
With that in mind, let's talk about the symbolic value of standing your ground. You close with education being your first priority - yet you did not put that as first priority when you said yes. If your vote has no actual power against the tyrant, than at least provide your constituents with the symbolic support of a "No" vote (much like Mr. Skoufis did - I man whom I respect much more right now). Instead, you caved. Sure, maybe you made a bad situation better, but it still remains a bad situation. I would rather have seen you stand for what your constituents wanted than see you give in. As history tells us, appeasing a tyrant never works - he only wants more. (For proof, see the Governor's comments against the "entrenched education bureaucracy" that he made after the budget was signed. Your "Yes" vote gave him the support and the opportunity to say that.)
Your voting record will stand, and those who DO put education first will hopefully remember your priorities when the next election cycle rolls around. Until then, consider yourself #CalledOut - you have a lot of work to do to make this bad situation into a good one. Do that, and you'll earn my trust ... and perhaps my vote.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
I thought this might be a good way to curate bloggers I should be reading. As far as I can see, Bloglovin creates an RSS feed for me, and I plan to dump that into my Flipboard - news, opinion, and bloggers, all in one spot.
Anyone else out there use the service?
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
So. Last January, I started a journey to become a Google Certified Teacher. I passed the necessary tests and became a Qualified Individual on January 18, 2013. I was told then that I had one year before the tests expired.
Today, January 13, 2014, I submitted my application to become a GCT. 5 days before my tests expired. I never thought it would come down to the wire like this, but then I thought back to the previous year. An interesting moment of reflection, from the birth of my second son to broken sewer lines, it's been a wild, crazy, and wonderful ride.
I'm glad to have submitted the application, but I don't regret the procrastination: a lot of good living has happened in the interim.
If you'd like to view the application materials, you can peruse them here. Cross your fingers!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Yesterday, my juniors and I tried an experiment: what would happen if Macbeth had Twitter? I wanted them to review the major events of the play, which we watched before our 2-week break, before returning to analyze particular speeches.
Here is the assignment I came up with: http://goo.gl/BwPTzQ . In brief, groups were assigned Acts from the play and had to apply Twitter conventions to the major moments from each act. I created a form that students used their phones to complete, and then sorted the results by act and scene in the responses spreadsheet (see attached sheet - you can click the tabs at the bottom to see the different sorts).
We read through the results today (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/tBuP_wTRFr7-bEMtOGvO90Q/htmlview), and it was fun. The students were engaged, and I believe they captured the spirit of the play fairly well (even if I don't quite understand every hastag... #ohwell).