NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs – August 2015

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

August 2015 – In This Issue

In the Spotlight


Schools near military bases
The Survey Says: High School Graduates Are Unprepared for College
A recent set of surveys by Achieve, a national not-for-profit focused on education reform and consisting of state governors and business leaders, point to students’ lack of academic and social skills necessary for college success. Links to the research questions and data are embedded in the article; click here to read more.

How Do You Define College and Career Readiness?
The American Society for Curriculum Development discusses five steps to support college and career readiness with a whole child focus. For more info, click here.

Schools and the Military
The recent report “The Army Goes to School” details the impact of education standards on children and families living on Army bases. It turns out that local school quality has an impact on the retention of military staff with school-aged children. Click here to read more.

Resources for Parents of Early Learners can be found here.

AP US History Exam to Change
The College Board has updated the AP US History exam. To view the updated information, click here.

Education Issues to Follow
As the new school year begins, PTAs should be aware of the following issues in the education sphere. Here are
some links to learn more about these topics:
  • New Commissioner and Board of Regents: How are people responding to the Commissioner? Is there a new collaboration among educators? See regents.nysed.gov and nysed.gov.
  • APPR: How will districts respond to new APPR requirements? Click here.
  • Struggling schools receivership: click here.
  • Testing: Expectations on how state tests should or might change with a new testing company. Click here.
  • Money: How are schools being funded? What are the fiscal issues and implications for the current school year? Click here.


Federal Update on ESEA
On July 8, the US House of Representatives passed the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), and on July 16, the US Senate adopted Every Child Achieves Act. Each bill would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB).

During the remaining legislative session, the differences between bills will be negotiated in an attempt to finally reauthorize the primary legislation governing the federal role in K-12 education and nearly $15.4 billion for funding public schools. To compare the Senate and House bills, see these stories: Watch your email for more advocacy messages from National PTA.

Protections for People with Disabilities
Governor Cuomo recently signed two pieces of legislation that will offer some protections for people with disabilities. More information can be found at the Governor’s website here.

New Position Papers For all of NYS PTA’s position papers, click here.

Special Education

Service dog
Speech Services for Children with Autism
Federal officials are issuing a guidance document to remind schools not to skimp on speech services for children with autism. The document aims to ensure that the speech professionals are included in meetings that determine services. To view the US Department of Education letter on this issue, click here.

Service Animals for People with Disabilities
The US Department of Justice has released a document including a FAQ page regarding usage of service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additional information can be found here.
In the Spotlight

Family Engagement

Parent teacher communication
Parent/Educator Communication
A new school year brings a new parent/caregiver/teacher relationship. You need to work as a team to support the whole child, so start the school year with an introduction to your child's teacher and a conversation about your new partnership.

Communication between parents/caregivers and teachers is key to your child’s success. You have the same goal: a successful student. Click here to read more.

Parent Checklist
The US Department of Education, along with partners America Achieves, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National PTA and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), has released a new parent checklist to empower families to support children’s success in school.

Health and Wellness

School nurse
School Nurse Checklist for Families
It's August and the next school year is right around the corner! The National Association of School Nurses offers this back to school checklist for families. There are many tips that apply to all kids, whether they have health concerns or not. To read more, click here.

Poverty and Brain Development
A Journal of Pediatrics and American Medicine article reports on the link between poverty and poor brain development in the frontal and temporal (upper-front and side) lobes of a child’s brain, especially in the early learning years. The authors recommend focusing support on the primary caregiver for infants and young children.

Click here to read more.

Heatstroke in children
Heatstroke and Children
Heatstroke is also a major concern in sports, especially in August-September as kids pre-train with school teams for fall sports. The National Association of Athletic Trainers offers information on this subject here.

Governor Cuomo's office has also warned about the risks to children left in cars, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a good fact sheet on this issue here.

End the epidemic
NYS Regional Discussions on Ending the AIDS Epidemic
These events will be held from August through November. It is important that all concerned be a part of the discussion. To sign up, click here.

September Awareness Events
September has a number of awareness dates for which local PTAs can develop programs: To see more events, go to the NYS PTA Wellness Toolkit Calendar.

Juvenile Protection

LGBT Youth Bullying
Anti-Bullying Policies and LGBT Youth
An Education Week report reveals that school bullying policies can fall short of protecting all students. Although every state now has laws addressing peer harassment, not all state bullying laws are created equal. Even in states that require these policies, many school districts still don't have them. Read more here.

Read the report from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) here.

A Guidance Document for School Districts Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students has been released by the NYS Education Department. Read the report here.

Sexual Assault on College Campuses
Politico cites increasing reports of student sexual assaults on college campuses. This may be a result of increasing awareness and reporting rather than an increase in attacks. To read, click 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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