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.
Also the new program, Seal of Biliteracy, in effect for two years in NYS, was mentioned in a matrix of accountability only. Again, no details as to what to do with the program beyond its use as one of the credits.
I also learned new things by participating in the hearing. Specific to NYC. It paid to venture beyond the sandbox of Long Island. There were three prevalent concerns raised. Most speakers were commenting on behalf of “transfer” schools. Schools that “collect” the students no other institutions want, including the regular public schools. For them, the proposed “measures of accountability” certainly won’t work.
The second most represented group were parents of kids with special needs. Their FB group is called “Multiple pathways to a diploma for all.” The system of CDOS instead of HS diploma leaves their children unemployed.
And the third group was not commenting on the draft of the NYS ESSA plan at all. They wanted to make public aware about practices in Yeshiva schools in NYC. The religious schools the public funds despite the fact that the only secular subjects taught are the math and very limited English. The group’s dealing with the NYC DOE is in its second year, but without any progress.