NYS ESSA Plan comments

On Saturday, June 10th, I attended a public hearing on the NYS ESSA plan. Next to the last of the 13 hearings scheduled across the state. Each state has to submit to the federal DOE how they envision to meet the federal requirements. The plans have to be submitted by September 18th. The NYSED worked out a 159-page draft. The first draft at this time.

I did my part as a parent participating in the system of public education. I raised my issues during the 3-minute window allowed. My concern was that the NYS ESSA plan of teaching foreign languages/LOTE is stated in just two sentences. And one of them read that the state assessments would be translated to about five languages. So, not much vision shared how the NYS “measures” its part in the global arena. Continue reading

School Board Committees—the “public” in public education

At the beginning of February, I reposted in our local FB group dedicated to schools a picture from a vigil held in Port Washington. Some time passed by until a couple of days ago I read an article entitled “Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools?,” published in the New York Times. The article enticed me to develop the facts I learned behind the picture into a story that can help a larger number of public school advocates. I anticipate that the public in public education will be a reoccurring theme in the media quite often.

On the confirmation day of B. DeVos, a senator launched a speech/plea in an attempt to change mind of at least one additional senator. The House was split 50-50. One more “nay” vote and she would not be confirmed as the new secretary of education. The senator’s speech was going long into the night. Continue reading

Spotlight public and peers

The January SAC/BOE meeting brought two presentations. One informed about the school district facilities, the other depicted peer collaboration and work organization. The presentations are always welcome, as they cut the boredom of the sessions. Spiro Colaitis, the assistant superintendent, reported about facilities upkeep, bathroom upgrades, aerial (drone) surveillance, commemorative bricks, and the new fence in front of the high school. The fence was shown from different angles, including the aerial view. One picture showed a rendering of shrubs that will be planted in front of the fence in spring. Continue reading

Funding charters in Malverne UFSD

When the president-elect-racist announced his list of possible education secretaries, articles started to pour in speculating on the effect each candidate would have on education in this country. Some authors concentrated on illustrating a collapse of public education, while others glorified the privatization, finally a green light.

If you haven’t read one, this reasonable article published by Education Week is worth your time. The authors say it straight: Continue reading

Events, STEM, test refusal, mindset, bond publicity…discussed

Parents held a meeting at the Davison school library. In an informal atmosphere, we reflected on the past events and discussed upcoming events. The Family Craft Night this Friday, December 9, was one of them. No teacher was present at this meeting.

Mr. Benfante demonstrated, on a case of 15-year old student, what happens when the mind is set passionately on improving continually “your project.” Persistence pays off. (There are several video clips available of the same TED talk, but I think Mr. Benfante projected this one. -10 min.) The discussion transitioned into “failing forward”— a concept how to implement a failure to the learning process; how to learn from it to come up stronger. Basic explanation of “failing forward” is available here. Continue reading

The MUFSD STEM family night

The Malverne UFSD held its first ever STEM family night and many families took advantage of the opportunity to tour the ground floor of the high school where all activities were concentrated. The STEM is popular. SDs are implementing variations of the STEM. Some SDs collaborate on its implementation. For example, I posted about it here and here. In recent years, the STEM was enriched by letters A and R, creating acronyms STEAM, and STREAM.

Parents could notice that all the three acronyms appear in various Malverne UFSD promo materials. They were displayed on a table right at the entrance. The students handed them to visitors while greeting them and inviting everybody to the upcoming bond vote taking place on Wednesday, November 16th. Continue reading

Party first, substance later, …really?

Traditionally, the media have been framing issues to fit the two-party system with the emphasis on the frame. First, they create the red and blue frame, then try to fit issues in that frame. Let me illustrate my point on the recent article Control of New York State Senate. . ., published by WSJ on October 31st.

The frame

The article sets the frame—Republican vs. Democrat.

“. . .races in Nassau County on Long Island could help decide which party controls the New York state Senate, where Republicans wield control even though the Democrats hold a razor-thin majority.”

“. . .seat had been held for three decades by former Republican. . “

“if the Senate Democrats want to make up ground, this is crucial district for them to win.” [emphasis mine]

Continue reading

Welcome to the transformation

Following the twitter feed on the first day of school was an exciting and energizing experience. It’s awesome that the Malverne #gomules team attracted few more twitter players this year. Twitter is a wealth of information. Searching for answers to a task? Go to Twitter and you’ll find out that the “wheel has been already invented.” Not only that. You’ll also discover that the “inventors” are willing to help you with your application.

The numerous tweet-wishes to a successful school year and the two Welcome letters I received—one for each kid (Davison and M.W. Downing schools)—enticed me to write the following welcome letter from a parent’s perspective. Continue reading

Regents assessments rule MUFSD evaluations in 2016-17

As it is almost a routine, the New York State department of education changed regulations how it evaluates schools and teachers. For the next 4 years, the results of state standardized assessments administered in grades 3 through 8 will not count toward HEDI, the supposed “measurement of teacher effectiveness.” Continue reading