NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs – June 2015

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

June 2015 – In This Issue

In the Spotlight


New NYS Education Commissioner
MaryEllen Elia
The New York State Department of Education has a new Commissioner, native New Yorker MaryEllen Elia. To learn more about her, click here.

Board of Regents Votes on Standardized Testing and Teacher Evaluations
The NYS Board of Regents approved regulations to have teacher evaluations based in a 50/50 split between standardized tests and local tests. There will also be an extension process for districts with hardships. Read more here.

US Surgeons General Call for Better Sex Education
Three former United States surgeons general have issued a call for the US to renew its national commitment to sex education. They state that “70 teenagers become pregnant, 1,100 youth acquire an STD and one young person contracts HIV” per hour in the US. Read the full article here.


There are a number of legislative debates occurring before the NYS Senate and Assembly break the week of June 17. Keep an eye on the following issues impacting youth and families:

Parental Choice in Education Act (formerly known as Education Investment Tax Credit)
Public education
This bill is supported by the Governor, but opposed by NYS School Boards Association, NYSUT, the Alliance for Quality Education and NYS Council of School Superintendents. Find out more here.

Enough is Enough
An agreement has been reached on the “Enough is Enough” legislation, which focuses on policies related to college campuses and sexual assault. To learn more about this legislation, click here.

Education Conference Board Advocates to Change Tax Cap
The New York State Educational Conference Board (NYSECB) is a coalition of the major education organizations, uniting parents, teachers, school administrators and school board members to work together to enhance and improve the quality of education in New York. Governor Cuomo is pushing lawmakers to make the tax cap permanent, while the ECB has recommended four significant reforms to the legislature. Click here to read more.

Education Reforms
Legislation is pending to allow the NYS Education Department to extend the deadline for school districts to install new teacher evaluations from November 2016 to November 2017. Read the bill here.

Special Education

Twice Exceptional Students
Twice exceptional quote
The US Department of Education has sent a memo to all state directors of special education detailing their responsibilities toward “twice exceptional” students. According to federal officials, these students are entitled to special education services, even if they are cognitively gifted. NYSED has released a memo to all school districts in New York. Read it here.

Special Education Resources for Parents
The Center for Parent Information and Resources has a lot of information for parents on a variety of special education topics. To access more information, click here.

Graduation and Transition
June is a big month for changes. Many kids with disabilities will graduate and go to post-secondary education settings, while others will choose some type of employment. Transition is not a dirty word. Disability.gov has great guide for students and their parents here.


NYS Ban on Fracking Will Continue
Ban fracking
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) states that New York intends to continue its ban on hydrofracking. The DEC’s review of the potential adverse effects of fracking was more extensive than a recently released study by the US Environmental Protection Agency. To read more, click here.
In the Spotlight

Kids with Autism and Animals

Boy and service dog A recently published study has shown that kids with autism demonstrate physiological changes after playing with animals. The children displayed a sharp drop in anxiety and social stress. Additional information can be found here.

Health and Wellness

Fight to Halt Sale of Palcohol
Prohibition of the sale of Palcohol (powdered alcohol) has passed both the NYS Senate and Assembly. Read more here.

US Senator Charles Schumer is also pushing for federal legislation to ban the sale of Palcohol due to risks to youth. Read more here.

Johns Hopkins Medicine on Sports Injuries
With temperatures rising and spring sports in full swing, many are heading outdoors to ramp up their exercise programs. But before you hit the pavement, field or court, learn what you can do to prevent sports related injuries. Click here to read more.

Exercise Boosts Heart Health
Learn about three kinds of exercise that boost heart health and how to balance your fitness plan to get all the benefits for a healthy heart. Details from Johns Hopkins here.

NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) on Tick Bites
Now that warm weather is here, the NYSDOH urges New Yorkers to take proper precautions in preventing the spread of tick-borne illnesses. By following several simple precautions you can protect yourself and your family. Learn about Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases here.

End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in NYS by End of 2020
The Blueprint to end HIV/AIDS epidemic in NYS by 2020 has been released. Read about it here.

New Drug Fighting Lung Cancer
According to clinical trials, a new drug appears to harness a person’s immune system to fight the most common form of lung cancer. Learn about the new drug Opdivo here.

Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate and Assembly
Senate Bill S.5086, which would provide expedited marijuana for people with progressive and degenerative diseases has passed. It had already passed the Assembly. This will take effect immediately. Find out more here.

Hurricane Season Begins June 1
While you cannot stop a tropical storm or hurricane, you can take steps now to protect yourself and your family. Learn how to prepare for a hurricane, the emergency supplies you will need, the disaster plan to make, your plans for evacuation and many more valuable lessons. Please read about hurricane readiness from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here

June / July Awareness Events

June July To see more events, go to the NYS PTA Wellness Toolkit Calendar.

Juvenile Protection and Safety

Impaired Drivers
Impaired driving
You and your teen driver can learn about the Safe NY Impaired Drivers Take Lives Campaign here.

Juvenile Drug Courts Report
The US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released its report on Juvenile Drug Courts. To learn more about the different studies and reports related to Juvenile Justice, click here.

Summer Youth Employment
NYS Summer Youth Employment: Young people between ages 14 and 20 with a family income below poverty level can qualify for this program. Read more 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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