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

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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

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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

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Hello Residents of School District 12

Tomorrow, May 21st, is the day of “choosing”. Most visitors of this site already know my views and program, but if you are new, you can find them at the About page. I think it’s a different approach than we’ve been used to for a quite some time. I believe in diversity of discussions and that’s why, in my opinion, I would complement greatly the other members of the board of education. Continue reading

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Future Debates of District 12 Residents

This post reflects my opinion regarding comments that originated on Facebook. There was expressed a disappointment that a candidate forum wouldn’t take place in the district 12 (MUFSD) prior to the election this year. It was suggested I invite the incumbent board of education member who I challenge to a debate.

I am open to debates regarding the future of the school district 12. A debate with a board member who last July signed on administrative salary increases, intentionally covering such act, thus relegating the board to a mere committee for advancing administrative interests (CAAI) wouldn’t be about a future. The debate would inevitably swing to the principal divide between the residents of the district 12. Continue reading

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Candidate Forum at NAACP Lakeview Branch

naacp logoAll candidates running for the board of education of the school district 12 (Malverne Union Free School District) were invited to attend the NAACP meeting on Tuesday evening, April 23rd. Jack Tulley and I accepted the invitation and, after we were introduced, we presented our reasons for running. We each run for a different seat on the board. Mr. Tulley runs unopposed, I am challenging Mrs. Hopkins.

You can read my reasons and goals in the introductory post and also on the About page. As a graphic designer, I don’t get many chances to address larger groups. The NAACP meeting was my first opportunity to speak in front of a public gathering since my university studies in Prague, some 20 years ago when I spoke in my mother tongue. At the beginning, my answers were cumbersome, but the public was friendly and curious and set me at ease. Seeing familiar faces from the Malverne Educational and Fitness Foundation and parents whose kids I coach track at CYO also helped. Continue reading

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Ballot Position Draw

ballot draw from a cup

The two different color papers were folded. The yellow revealed row 1B, the blue row 1A.

One day following the deadline for submitting the petitions with signatures to run for a seat on the board of education, the ballot position draw took place at the school district 12 (MUFSD) clerk office. When I and my son entered the room, the clerk, a witness, and Mrs. Hopkins, the incumbent, were already present. Mr. Tulley didn’t need to participate, as he is running unopposed for a different seat. Continue reading

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District 12 Information for 2013 Election

Inaugural Post

You, most probably, landed on this site for school district 12 residents after reading a flyer that was distributed door-to-door throughout the Malverne Union Free School District (MUFSD). Reading the flyer first helps better understand the following information.

The Issue—Board of Education

There are many issues within the school district and they are being addressed directly by the school administration and indirectly by the board of education (board). The board consists of school district residents who are elected to their post by school district residents. The board members listen to the voice of the lay community and retain professionals to execute the input from the community according to educational standards. Then, they relay the feedback from professionals to the community. Matters get adjusted and the cycle resumes.

…Not in district 12. The board members exhibited their intentions to distance themselves from the residents in March 2011 when they called for a special meeting, just to extend the superintendent’s contract and tried to keep it secret. The information about the meeting leaked and the meeting was canceled. Nevertheless, the board members secretly continued working on administrative advancements until they succeeded in July 2012. They orchestrated the act so the residents were completely eliminated from the process. The elected board members formed a closed clique with administrators, thus exuding an absolute power in decision making and, at the same time, also absolute subordination to the administrators.

There are several possible reasons why a resident “representative” would disassociate from the residents. Each year, the superintendent selects few residents to his “superintendent’s advisory council”. The council meets several times during the school year and a council member runs for a seat on the board with the full “official” support. Last May, there were two “council graduates” elected to the board. This May, there are two seats on the board available as well.

Then, there are the residents who view the absolute decision power as a model of strength and stability that is necessary. They consider the current board members as their legitimate representatives who assert their interests.

A Path to Remedy

It will take some time, as the board members can’t be voted off, but we can make a significant dent in their enclosed relationship already this year. Two out of five seats open for re-election on Tuesday, May 21st. On that day, let’s show the other group we also are capable to assert our interests, and in larger numbers. Let’s leave the “council graduates” or candidates with the official stamp of approval behind.

I offer to represent your interests and coordinate your efforts to bring the board’s conduct to a functional state, but I would really like you to set your mind to a long term goal and assert your interests along the way.

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