New York’s Educational Agenda, Part 1

state-of-the-state 2014The SOS Agenda

Governor Cuomo barely finished his State of the State speech on January 8th when the first reactions to his speech started appearing in social media. The following day, there were two petitions drafted regarding the merit pay and $20,000 bonuses for teachers the governor mentioned. Continue reading


Meeting Invitation to BOE Members

meeting invitation iconCurrently, the education system is going through drastic changes. In 2010, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) agreed to proceed (and accept funds) with a federal plan entitled Common Core State Standards Initiative. Yet the implementation of the plan hasn’t been smooth. The interpretation of requirements (mandate) differs from one district to another. The administrators and members of school boards, who rely only on official memos issued by the education department are far less informed than parents, who are doing their own research, share the information across the country and with local residents at public meetings. I am part of a team organizing such a meeting near our district, so I took the initiative and invited the members of Malverne school board. This is the text of the invitation. Continue reading


Data Mining, Part of Common Core

data mininginBloom Testimony Hearing

The NYS legislators, education committee, held a hearing on November 20, 2013. The topic was inBloom, data mining, disclosing personally identifiable information (PII) to third parties, and the security of collected data. The testimony hearing took place in Albany. It was lengthy (5:45 h.) and exhaustive, but well moderated and informative. (Video recording embedded below). It is a must listen to, eventually watch, for any board of education member and curriculum developer. Continue reading


November BOE Meeting

At the November BOE meeting, the audience was presented with a Halloween video clip the staff made using iPads the district recently purchased. It was followed by a slide presentation that dealt with a program entitled K-SAT Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to start preparing students for the test early and encourage as many of them to take the test. Continue reading


Common Core Public Meeting

The Common Core has been on the agenda of schools and parents across the country for quite some time. And it’s still picking up more interest each day, as new facts are being revealed. Parents of several school districts (E. Rockaway, Lynbrook, Malverne, Valley Stream) teamed up and are very excited to be able to invite all residents to an informative meeting about the Common Core Initiative. The meeting takes place at HERJC in East Rockaway and features speakers who were asking questions as soon as the “Initiative” was imposed on the school districts by the NYS Education Department. Continue reading


Consulting with Residents

During the Q&A period at the October board of education (BOE) meeting, a resident asked the board to do something with the ever increasing property taxes. The resident claimed her taxes have increased 400% since 1960s when she moved in. She said her house was already paid, but many of her neighbors, who were also retired, were hurting, as they still had mortgage to pay. She was evidently frustrated. Continue reading


Consolidating School District Administration

Consolidating School Administration One Step at The Time

Consolidating the school administration campaign started in spring. The summer campaign, adjusted for findings gathered in spring, starts now. Flyers are being distributed throughout the school district 12 (MUFSD). You can help. The most important finding—few people understand the role of the board of education and how the 5-member body affects 70%–80% of the property tax. Continue reading


Anti-Common Core Activists Make Strides

This post was updated on 6/25 by the following information:
Secretary Arne Duncan announced that he will allow states to request additional time before using the outcome of new assessments based on the new Common Core State Standards.

Although the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were in development for a long time, the NYS adopted them in 2010 and has been implementing them ever since. State assessment testing — also called high-stakes testing — was implemented to align with federal Common Core standards this year. Starting in April and continuing in June, students and parents felt the full impact of the new “standards”. The tests (field tests) benefiting just the tests developing company were described in the previous post. Parents asked questions about the meaning of excessive testing instead of learning. Continue reading


High Stakes Testing — Field Tests

The Field Tests

In April, high stakes testing took place and selected classrooms will undergo yet another round of testing— field tests —at the beginning of June. These experimental tests have no implications for the students and schools, but are designed to try out new test questions, Tom Dunn, communications director of the Education Department, told HuffPost. The resources at the end of this post list articles describing the nature of the field testing at length. Below, I summarize the facts that are important to parents. Continue reading


Defeated in Election, Not in Conviction

Thank You

I want to express my gratitude to the residents of the district 12 (Malverne Union Free School District) who supported my views on the election day, May 21st. Although my views were defeated that day, I am convinced that I am on the right path. I gained some experience and I’ll adjust my efforts. It’s the diversity of ideas, discussions among diverse groups, and reconsideration of original views that drives the progress. Vague phrases calling everybody “to pull together” historically mean to “follow” but one stream of ideas without questioning. They lead to stagnation and maintain a status quo. Continue reading