Never Knowing Which Way to Turn

I started this blog a few months ago at my husband’s suggestion.  I comment and tweet frequently on education issues and he suggested that I put some effort into consolidating my thoughts and reference materials into one concise area.  I did start, I put out a few posts, hit over 100 readers for one which seemed like a good start.  Everyday, I would see a story or two that would cause me to bang away angrily at my keyboard. Then another one, then another.  Soon, I had 20 blogs started but was not getting anything finished.  If you are following education issues, particularly in New York State, it is overwhelming.

Just this week, heck, just in the last couple of day.

Charter schools bussed students and parents to protest in favor of charter schools in NYC.

Parents protested against a potential charter school in Peekskill.

A member of the BOE in New Paltz brought to light very compelling information on some ethical flim-flam going on with the New York State School Boards Association.  Steve Greenfield was gracious enough to let me republish his findings  https://workingmomfromnys.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/concerns-about-nyssbas-independence/ here.

There was a spirited discussion on the TACKLING EXCESSIVE STANDARDIZED TESTING (TEST) ACT which is supposed to ease testing and append or amend ESEA (the parent legislation to NCLB) Short story, it is legislative slight of hand to make the voters think Congress is addressing education and testing concerns.

New York State schools have had to take in unaccompanied minors, with the heaviest intake on Long Island.  1014416_10152721736592866_8911823709027855314_n

This report does not list Putnam County, but I have been told that my school district has been impacted.   This is a huge issue for New York State schools.  Budgets are crushed by unfunded mandates, we have a 2% tax cap, and now students who will not be able to pass the minimum required Regents to graduate will be eligible to stay in school until 21 to keep trying.  I am all for seeing people fleeing tragic circumstances coming to the USA to build a better life, but how exactly are New York State taxpayers supposed to pay for this?  Or, what are our school districts going to have to cut to be able to pay for this?

A new program, SUNY Bridges, is under development.  “The Bridges Program is a program being developed by SUNY Orange at both its Newburgh and Middletown campuses to accommodate children with special needs that are either aging out from high school or are ready to graduate from high school, and are not likely due to their disabilities of successfully completing a 2 or 4 year college degree program, even with appropriate supports. The Bridges Program will fill a gap that doesn’t currently exist in the Hudson Valley.”   This sounds like a promising endeavor.  But, then I read this line.  “The idea is to work together with organizations like Occupations, Inc. and the business community to combine a college level program, work experience and independent living skills to avoid the need to place these kids in group homes or other institutional type programs, because they have no alternative after High School.”    And there it is.   If you are unable to pass 5 Regents and can only earn a CDOS and/or age of of high school without a diploma, why is the option a group home?  Humm.. how about, give them a path to a diploma so that they do have alternatives after High School?

So, there it is.  The issues in education today are tremendous.  Mistake after mistake, over powered by special interests, more facets and complications.  I am going to try to concentrate on issues related to CDOS and high stakes testing for graduation requirements as there are other bloggers out there with a much stronger voice then mine.  The best advice I have received on this endeavor, find your focus and stick with it.

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