NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs – February 2015

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

In This Issue

In the Spotlight
In the Spotlight...
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NYS PTA Legislation/Education Conference

Leg/Ed Logo
Attention all PTA Advocates! Let’s raise our voices to reclaim opportunity together!

The NYS PTA Legislation/Education Conference will be held on February 28, 2015 - March 1, 2015 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, NY. This conference provides current information on hot topics and long-standing issues. Don’t miss this truly outstanding event!

Panel discussions and workshop presentations are conducted by education partners: health, wellness and child advocacy service providers, agencies and organizations, and members of the NYS PTA Board of Directors. Open to all interested PTA members, this Conference offers specific advocacy training and ways of accessing resources that can benefit the local PTA and school community.

Though advance registration is already closed, it is not too late to participate; attendees can register onsite. Please note that there is no guarantee of available hotel rooms onsite, but there are many other hotels in the area if you are in need of lodging.

Click here for more information about the conference.

ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization and New York's Waiver

US Capitol
Want to say something about testing, school turnaround or funding ESEA/Title I? The US Senate and House of Representatives are actively debating the reauthorization of the 40-year-old Elementary Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB).

Fundamental revisions are under discussion, including proposals by Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate’s education committee. Please contact Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and your local House member to share your opinions as discussion ensues. For ongoing PTA information on the reauthorization debate, visit: Should ESEA/NCLB not be reauthorized in a timely manner, New York will have to re-apply for the waiver. The latest Board of Regents discussions on the components of the New York waiver can be found at:

ELL Flexibility on Alternate Pathways to Graduation

The February Board of Regents Agenda includes a recommendation that the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education be amended to extend the ability to graduate with a Local Diploma via appeal to qualifying English Language Learner (ELL) students who satisfy all other graduation requirements. Click here to read more.

Regents Clarification on Enrollment Procedures and Public Notice Guidance

Unaccompanied minors in school
For Board of Regents discussion of school district requirements regarding student enrollment as it pertains to unaccompanied minors and undocumented youth, click here.

School Counselor Certification and Preparation

School counselor training
The Office of Higher Education and the Office of P-12 Education have been working collaboratively to review and amend requirements for school counselors since October 2013. Updated information can be found here.

Child Abuse Identification and Reporting Training Required for Temporary Coaching Certificates

High school coach
The Regents extended the two-hour required child abuse identification and reporting training for teachers to also include coaches and temporary coaches. To read more, click here.

Orientation to a Guidance Document for Achieving NYS Health Education Standards

Health class Genesee Valley BOCES is offering an online training called “The Orientation to a Guidance Document for Achieving the NYS Education Standards.” It is a 45-minute training that addresses NYS Commissioner’s Regulations Part 135.3, Health Education for Public Schools. The cost is $20. For more information or to register, click here.

Updates from the Safety Institute

Safety First
The Safety Institute, a NYS PTA cooperating partner, has sent out the following alerts. Please go to www.thesafetycouncil.org for more information on the recalls and safety alerts listed below:

“More than four billion prescriptions are written annually. Too many people, however, suffer unnecessary injuries, and some die as a result of preventable medication errors. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes that many of these medication-related risks are manageable if parties committed to the safe use of medications work together.”

“The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is sponsoring a nationwide carbon monoxide safety poster contest to help warn people about the dangers of CO. Create a poster about the dangers of carbon monoxide, win money and save lives!”

“Fake Checks: The Nanny or Caregiver Scam – Do you, your friends or loved ones offer your professional services as a babysitter, nanny or other kind of caregiver? You may have used websites that can match you up with potential clients. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff has seen complaints about con artists cheating caregivers with a counterfeit check scheme.”

4th Annual Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Symposium

Smarter lunchrooms
The Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs has opened registration for their
Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Symposium for May 14-16, 2015 in Ithaca, NY. The symposium is FREE!

You can register here.

Additional information about the symposium, accommodations and maps can be found here.
Download the agenda here.
Scholarships for travel and lodging are available on a first-come first-served basis. The scholarship application
can be downloaded here.
February 2015
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In the Spotlight

Education Group Wants School Aid Figures Released

Students in classroom
In looking to drive the Legislature to pass education reforms, Governor Andrew Cuomo has refused to release state aid figures for school districts.

The NYS Educational Conference Board, comprised of seven groups including NYS PTA, NYS United Teachers (NYSUT), and the NYS Council of School Superintendents, has written two letters to Cuomo to say that the delayed “school aid runs” showing what districts will receive should be released immediately.

To read the article, click here.

To read the letter dated January 26, 2015, click here.

To read the letter dated February 9, 2015, click here.

NYS PTA Testifies Before the NYS Joint Legislative Committee Hearings on February 3, 2015

Policy makers and legislators often hold public hearings on a particular issue of concern or bill. These hearings provide an opportunity for education and child advocates to exchange ideas and influence decision making. Often NYS PTA is asked to present testimony before government and education committees and commissions.

For the testimony recently delivered by a NYS PTA representative to NYS legislators, click here.

NYS PTA Virtual Lobby Day

Virtual Lobby DayVirtual Lobby Day is Tuesday, March 3, 2015. On that day we are asking all members to call, email and/or fax their legislators. Let them know that you support full funding for public schools and want to see restoration of education support. Contact all legislators listed, as well as your local representatives. We need thousands of voices to ensure our message is heard.

Together, we can send a powerful message to Albany to:
  • Honor past commitments to fairly and adequately fund our schools
  • Re-examine the effectiveness of student and educator assessment practices in improving effectiveness of instruction
Issues briefs and talking points, plus the full Virtual Lobby Day packet, are available on the NYS PTA website here. These documents will help you craft your messages. Be sure to share this information with all of the members in your unit.

Implementing the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act

The 2014 ABLE Act allows people with disabilities to open special accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, to pay for education and other expenses. The next step is that each state must now draft regulations so that the accounts can be set up. More details can be found here.

National Attention to Critical Issue: Passage of Avonte’s Law

Senator Schumer and Vanessa Fontaine
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will continue the fight this legislative session to pass Avonte’s Law. The bill would establish and fund a federal program to provide electronic tracking devices to families of children with developmental disorders who request them. Roughly $10 million would be allotted to the Department of Justice for these devices. Additional information can be found here.

The Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act

ACE Kids Act
Representative Joe Barton (R- Texas) and 116 other members in both houses of Congress have sponsored another important piece of legislation. The Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act would create a national database which researchers could use to study complicated medical conditions that affect one in 25 children nationwide. It will also improve coordination of care, especially fragmented care across state lines, and help improve treatment for rare diseases. For more, click here.

Funding for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

A bill was recently introduced in Congress that will again attempt to increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act incrementally. Congress is asking the federal government to pay 40 percent of the cost — a level that is considered to be full funding. The recently-introduced legislation comes with bipartisan support. Click here to read more.

President Obama’s Budget Proposals for FY2016

President Obama’s Special Education Budget Proposals for FY2016
President Obama has made some proposals in his budget package for fiscal year 2016 that will increase funding not only for special education, but also for programs for people with disabilities.

Some highlights of the plan include $175 million in funding for special education services for school-age children with disabilities and $115 million for programs for young children served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The president wants $56.7 million added to vocational rehabilitation programs to assist young people with disabilities in gaining employment. The press release can be read here.

President Obama Requests Increase in Funding for EPA
The Healthy Schools Network has sent out, to their cooperating partners, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Budget in Brief for fiscal year 2016 (which can be found here).

On pages 20-21, you will see there is information regarding indoor air quality and children’ health. Pages 74-76 has the budget recommendations. These are advocacy positions for NYS PTA.

CPR and AEDs in Schools

CPR in school
February is Heart Month. The American Heart Association and Parent Heart Watch are offering information and conducting advocacy on increasing student knowledge of CPR and access to AEDs by trained school personnel. There are free resources for teachers and PTAs to download and order.

February Wellness Events

Wellness Toolkit
The following are February events that regions, councils and units can use to bring wellness education into their communities: To plan for future months, go to the NYS PTA Wellness Calendar here.
Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2015 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

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