NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs – September 2015

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

September 2015 – In This Issue

In the Spotlight


Education standards
Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo on Common Core Standards
Recently, Governor Cuomo issued a statement regarding the “flawed” implementation of New York’s education standards by the NYS Education Department (NYSED). Read the statement here

NYS Assembly Speaker Heastie commented on the governor’s statement. Read his comments here.

Public Educational Data Access Site
To read 2014-2015 School Year Data Reports, enter your district name or school name in the search box. To find the Annual School Report Cards and additional reports, click here

NYSED Commissioner Elia Q & A with Educators 4 Excellence
In this video, the commissioner shares priorities and answers questions regarding current issues in education. Watch the video here

See excerpts from one of Education Commissioner Elia’s Listening Tours here.

Board of Regents Meetings and Reports
The July 20 meeting video and documents are archived, and we expect meeting agendas for September 16-17 to be filed by September 11. Find the documents here.
Schools of Thought Report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute Advancing Educational Excellence
This report explores issues of education policy and leadership. Read it here.

Video resources are available regarding New York’s education standards. Click here to watch.
How Well Are Student Assignments Linked to Common Core?
As the Common Core standards and testing debate continue, a recent study by the Education Trust indicates fewer classroom assignments are aligned properly with grade-appropriate standards.

The article links to the study results based on a review of analyzed 1,500 student tasks assigned at six urban middle schools. To view the study, click here.

Education Week has released a summary article with an overview of varied resources around teachers’ Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR). Read it here.

PDK/Gallup pollsters released a survey of the public on testing, Common Core, school choice, state vs. Federal control of education, vaccine requirements and perception of their public school. Click here for more.

Concerns About SAT Scores – While more students take the SAT nationwide, state scores on the college bound assessment remain low. Is it due to broader numbers of test takers, students choosing ACT instead, or high school preparation? To read more, click here.

Colleges eliminating SAT/ACT scores for entrance may be promoting diversity, or may be promoting their selectiveness, according to this NPR article here.

National Teacher of the Year illustrates how to work with the neediest students (ELL, high poverty, highly stressed). Read it here


Public hearing
The NYS Assembly Public Hearing Calendar has been released. View it here.

The NYS Senate Calendar has also been updated. To view it, click here.


Legislative Office Building
Resources to Stay Up to Date with Legislative Issues
If you have walked the halls of the Legislative Office Building, you have probably seen a newspaper available to pick up and read free of charge. However, did you know that the Legislative Gazette is also available online? Go to legislativegazette.com and you can stay up to date on what is buzzing in Albany.

Another news website is capitalnewyork.com. This news outlet also provides daily email blasts. However, there is a rather high fee for “pro” content.

Special Education

Air Traveling
The Two Percent Rule
The US Department of Education has published a ruling in the Federal Register that eliminates the “2% rule.” States will no longer be able to administer tests that are based on modified academic achievement standards. Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities (up to 1%) can still take tests based on “alternate academic achievement standards.” Read the ruling here.

Foster Care/Adoption of Children by Individuals with Disabilities
A document was issued this month from both the US Department of Health and Human Service and the US Department of Justice. It warns both state and local officials about not discriminating against people with disabilities who have children or would like to be foster/adoptive parents. For more, click here.

Air Traveling with Developmental Disabilities
The US Department of Transportation has issued a document entitled “Guide: Air Travelers with Developmental Disabilities,” which clarifies existing rules for airlines and travelers. It does not make new rules. The document can be found here

Career Development and Occupational Studies
NYSED has provided information for both parents and businesses regarding the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential. Both brochures can be accessed on the Office of Special Education’s Graduation Requirements page here.
In the Spotlight

Urge Congress to Reauthorize Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act Due to Expire September 30

Healthy school food
PTA members worked hard to secure passage of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which has proved very effective in making school breakfasts and lunches more nutritious for children. Now it’s time to continue the job through reauthorizing this law. Read more here.

Family Engagement

Family learning together
Family and Community Engagement
The US Department of Education has tools to promote learning as a family affair. Read more here.

Countdown to School Success
Here is a month-by-month resource on how parents can work with schools to support children. Click here for more info.

Health and Wellness

Kid receiving vaccine
New Vaccine Rules
NYS Department of Health (DOH) officials have announced new vaccine rules for school children. Children in New York schools must now receive two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR), according to a DOH press release. Children in grades K-5 need five doses of DTaP, and children entering kindergarten and grades 1, 6 and 7 must have four doses of polio vaccine.

Previously, kindergarteners were allowed to attend school before completing the MMR, DTaP and polio vaccine series. The new regulations follow recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an advisory group to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more from DOH here.

Officials Approve Statewide Rules to Fight Legionnaires' Disease
Recently, Governor Cuomo announced that New York would now require testing and inspection of building cooling towers across the state to combat Legionnaires' Disease. This is following an outbreak in New York City that killed 12 people and infected approximately 119. Building owners with towers are now required to register the structures with the state health department within 30 days. To view the regulations, click here.

To learn more about Legionnaires’ Disease, click here

Powdered Caffeine
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action on bulk pure powdered caffeine products. This action is to prevent additional deaths from these potentially dangerous products. Use of these products has already claimed the lives of two teenagers.

The agency has issued warning letters to five distributors of powdered caffeine because their products are dangerous and present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers. The levels of safe quantities of these products are very hard to measure. Using a toxic amount can easily occur. One teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is equivalent to the amount of caffeine in about 28 cups of regular coffee. Read more on this issue here.

Children’s Health Concerns in National Study
An annual poll of the children’s health concerns by adults has been released. Top concerns are childhood obesity, bullying and drug abuse. However, this year, internet safety, child abuse and neglect, and sexting have moved up in the poll. Read more here

UNITE to Face Addiction in Washington, DC
On October 4, there will be a gathering of thousands of people at the National Mall to end the silence about addiction. Click here for more.

Back to School Food Safety Tips
School food safety tips for parents and caregivers; to read more, click here.

Juvenile Protection

Educating at-risk students
The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent or At-Risk
This organization provides assistance to states to improve education services for children and youth who are neglected, delinquent or at risk. This organization has been hosting forums regarding the Correctional Education Guidance Package. If you missed any of the forums, you can review the information here.

To look for upcoming events, click here.

OJJDP Bulletin regarding High-Risk Adolescents
The US Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) recently released a bulletin entitled “Studying Deterrence Among High-Risk Adolescents.” To read the bulletin, 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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