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Watch the video. Best thing MoveOn or any group has put our in years on how to strengthen, rather than defund and dismantle our public schools.
I just wanted to call your attention to the stand-alone field tests that are coming in June. This is the fourth year in a row that SED and Pearson have followed this questionable approach. And each year they do it without informing parents about the field tests.
The list of schools is here. Change the Stakes also has information about the 1,013 schools and grades that have been targeted to give the ELA and math field tests. The window for administering the tests is from June 1 through June 10. Some schools have been tapped to give the tests on two grade levels. I have projected that 135,000 children are targeted to be guinea pigs in this sample of schools. A sample opt out letter is here.
Please remember that taking the tests is not mandated. There is absolutely no requirement for kids to take them--and they have proven to be a flawed way to develop the Core-aligned exams that children have had to endure since 2012. The CtS web site also provides information about the nature of the field tests and why children should not take them.
The key to putting an end to this practice is to insist that parents be made aware of the tests and asked to fill out a consent form if they want their children to participate. But, to date, both Albany (SED) and Chancellor Farina have not notified parents about this field testing scheme and have not sought their permission. Continuation of the stand-alone field tests has depended on keeping parents in the dark.
We must spread the word to all parents, especially those whose children are in a targeted school, that the tests are coming, and parents have the right to reject them. It is a safe and responsible step to take along the path to greater parental involvement and empowerment.
Best, Fred Smith
On the risible statement DOE makes about Pearson & their proposed $8.6M no-bid contract to be voted on tomorrow night
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, ICarmignani@schools.nyc.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Panel members:
1. First of all, the DOE page listing items to be voted upon tomorrow for public review and/or comment does not list contracts though it should.
2. Secondly, I am writing about the no-bid $8.6M, 7 year contract for Pearson’s software line.
All the DOE says on pp. 82-83 to justify this no-bid contract is that “Pearson Education is the sole provider of this software, so a Request for Bids was not practical.” Huh? Of course Pearson is the sole provider of Pearson software, but this is tautological. Where is the analysis showing a detailed comparison of the cost/benefits of other similar software? Where is there any evaluation of the quality of this software at all?
The subsequent statement that “DOE has found Pearson’s performance to be satisfactory on prior work” is risible, considering the well-documented low quality of Pearson exams, the repeated errors they have made in scoring both here in NYC and elsewhere, and the corruption they have engaged in, as determined by the NYS Attorney General.
I cannot see the rationale for this contract stated anywhere that would counter NY’s repeatedly deplorable experience with Pearson products and service.
Finally, I urge you to check out Prof. Alan Singer’s recent column on Pearson at and vote no.
Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters
Despite worsening overcrowding, de Blasio's ten-year capital plan allocates less for schools than Bloomberg's
See the testimony below that I gave today to the NYC Council on the deficiencies of the proposed Mayor's proposed executive and capital budgets for schools, which if adopted as is would lead to larger class sizes and even more overcrowded schools.
The school capital plan was released more than three months late, supposedly to align with de Blasio's new ten-year city overall capital plan, which cuts back on education compared to the previous ten-year plan, developed under Bloomberg.
The new ten year plan has schools at only 28% of overall capital spending, compared to 34% in the Bloomberg plan, and cuts back the spending by almost $5 billion. See the above charts to compare.
NYC KidsPAC is composed of a group of parent leaders and advocates, including several Community Education Council members. A few weeks ago, NYC KidsPAC released an education report card for Mayor de Blasio, with grades ranging from “A” to “F” based on whether he’s lived up to his campaign promises after more than a year in office in many key areas such as class size, school overcrowding, co-locations and parent engagement.
More specifically, de Blasio promised to have a moratorium on co-locations which never happened. In response to the NYC KidsPAC candidate survey, promised to ask Community Education Councils to cast advisory votes on all “major school utilization changes in their communities including proposed co-locations” and that “This vote will influence and provide insight to the Panel for Education Policy.”
He added that he would “raise the level of significance of the CEC's. The Panel for Educational Policy must address the PEP's vote on major school utilization changes in their PEP meetings. They must state why they disagree with the local CEC and work with the local CEC for alternative solutions.”
Yet this process has not yet occurred in the case of any co-location of which we are aware.
We urge any and all CECs that are facing a proposed change in school utilization, including co-locations up for a vote this month and next (see list below), to consider passing a resolution, expressing your views on the proposal in detail – and then send your resolution to the Mayor’s office, the Chancellor and the members of the PEP, whose emails are here, with a cover letter, explaining that you expect the PEP to follow through on the Mayor’s campaign promises.
Please copy KidsPAC and Class Size Matters in your emails at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org you do.
We have drafted a sample draft resolution below including some relevant bullet points. Please feel free to alter the language and of course, you will have to add to it by explaining why your Council is taking this position on the proposed utilization change.
Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters
Shino Tanikawa, President, NYC KidsPAC
Draft language for a resolution on co-locations
Whereas while campaigning to become Mayor, Bill de Blasio promised that he would be more collaborative and respectful of the input of parents and community members than the previous administration;
· Whereas in his responses to the NYC KidsPAC candidate survey, in July 2013, he promised that Community Education Councils would be urged to vote on “major school utilization changes in their communities” and that “This vote will influence and provide insight to the Panel for Education Policy.”
· Whereas in the same survey, he pledged that as Mayor he would “raise the level of significance of the CEC's” and that “The Panel for Educational Policy must address the PEP's vote on major school utilization changes in their PEP meetings. They must state why they disagree with the local CEC and work with the local CEC for alternative solutions.”
· Whereas the Community Education Council is [opposed or in favor of] the co-location of x school in the X building, to be voted on at the PEP meeting on x date for the following reasons….(add your reasons here)
· Be it resolved that the CEC in District x is [opposed or in favor of] the co-location of x school for the reasons stated above;
· Be it resolved that we will send this resolution to the Mayor, the Chancellor and to the members of the Panel for Educational Policy before their vote on this proposal on x date;
· Be it resolved that if any PEP member should vote in contradiction to the CEC’s position , he or should be obligated to state why, as the Mayor promised would occur when he ran for office;
· Finally, be it resolved that the PEP should work with the CEC on alternative solutions, as the Mayor also pledged.
May 20 vote
District 8: Proposed Expansion of Icahn Charter School 7 (84X362) in Building X093 and X893 with P.S. 93 Albert G. Oliver, Beginning in the 2016-2017 School Year
District 22: Proposed Opening and Co-location of Success Academy New York 10 (84KTBD) with Andries Hudde Middle School (22K240) in Building K240 Beginning in the 2016-2017 School Year
June 10 vote
District 15: Proposed Expansion of Success Academy Charter School - Cobble Hill (84K129) in Building K293 with Brooklyn School for Global Studies (15K429), School for International Studies (15K497), and a District 75 Program (75K368) Beginning in the 2016-2017 School Year
District 14: Proposed Expansion of Success Academy Charter School - Williamsburg (84K182) in Building K050 with J.H.S. 50 John D. Wells (14K050), Beginning in the 2016-2017 School Year
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