Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Education, the economy and the election

May 14th, 2017 by Robert Lowry

We are reviving our blog after a hiatus of over a year. This post first appeared in the January 2017 edition of the Council’s monthly newsletter. We will be returning to themes that it covers in future posts.

In my travels around the state and other encounters last fall, I was impressed by stories of pain superintendents shared – not stories of pain within their schools, although there were those, but pain in the families and communities they serve.

At one regional stop, a superintendent told a state legislator, “Our kids’ teeth are worse than they used to be,” and, “Some of our kids come to kindergarten never having seen a dentist.”

Others told of grandparents raising children, because their actual parents were afflicted with substance abuse or working multiple jobs to make ends meet. When asked by a legislator how parent engagement might be encouraged, a few said of the parents in their communities, “They’re doing the best they can.”

Some explained how school buildings are the only sites for youth and adult communities services in their regions.

In December meetings of our State Legislative Committee, superintendents shared counts of opioid deaths in their communities with executive and legislative staff and explained their efforts to provide health and mental health services in their schools.

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Dueling ads

January 20th, 2015 by Robert Lowry

Both New York State United Teachers and a pro-current reform agenda group launched television ads last week.

NYSUT’s cites a recent New York Times editorial which called upon Governor Andrew Cuomo to “…move beyond peripheral issues and political score settling…” and address “the central crisis in New York education,” adding “…that means confronting and proposing remedies for the racial and economic segregation that has gripped the state’s schools, as well as the inequality in school funding that prevents many poor districts from lifting their children up to state standards.”

The ad by Students First NY combines video excerpts from Governor Cuomo’s first state of the State address (in 2011) and super-imposed text.  It concludes “Our schools are not good enough. The status quo isn’t working. Governor Cuomo is right. It’s not just about money, it’s about fundamental reform. When? Now.”

Both ads are said to cost in “the high six figures” to run.

Both are brief, in the 30 second range.

Watch them here (NYSUT) and here (Students First)

 

Category: Legislation, Politics, State Budget | Comments Off on Dueling ads

Home Room — January 6, 2014

January 6th, 2014 by Robert Lowry

Could today be the day Governor Andrew Cuomo receives the final recommendations of his Education Reform Commission?

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Home Room — January 2, 2014

January 2nd, 2014 by Robert Lowry

Happy New Year!

One of my resolutions is to get back to writing regularly for our blog.

Some items in the news over the past week or so… Read the rest of this entry »

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Home Room, December 18, 2012

December 18th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Three leaders of the Council appeared on Time Warner Cable’s Capital Tonight show with Liz Benjamin last night to discuss school safety.

Council President James Langlois (Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES), President-Elect Mary Beth Fiore (Elmira Heights), and 2009-10 Past President Oliver Robinson (Shenendehowa) discussed what their schools have been doing in the days following the tragedy to ensure safety and reassure students and families, and how school safety has improved in the wake of past tragedies.

The segment is worth watching, here.  A Time Warner subscription is required, however.

Republican George Amedore claimed victory in the last unresolved State Senate race, a district covering part of the Capital Region and Ulster County.  Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk has not conceded, however, promising to appeal a Montgomery County judge’s decision to invalidate roughly 450 absentee and affidavit ballots.

If Amedore’s 39-vote lead stands, Democrats will have won 32 Senate seats and Republicans will have won 31.  However, one Democrat chose to organize with the Republicans and five Senators comprising the “Independent Democratic Conference” joined with the Republicans to comprise a “Bipartisan Coalition” to run the Senate.  With an Amedore victory, the Republican-IDC coalition would hold 37 of the Senate’s 63 seats.

Senate Democrats chose a new leader yesterday, replacing John Sampson of Brooklyn with Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers.  Senator Stewart-Cousins becomes the first woman to lead any of the party conferences of either chamber.

The state’s Mandate Relief Council meets today.

At a news conference after a cabinet meeting this morning, Governor Cuomo was asked if he would consider pushing back the January 17 deadline for districts which failed to have approved teacher and principal evaluations in place, despite a “good faith effort.”  The Governor’s answer was an emphatic and unequivocal no.  Districts without approved plans face the loss of any increase in School Aid they are due to receive.

Finally, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued an audit criticizing the State Education Department’s oversight of preschool special education.

Category: Finance, Leadership, Legislation, Politics, Teachers | Comments Off on Home Room, December 18, 2012

Election reflections

November 12th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

A few reflections on the outcome of last week’s elections… Read the rest of this entry »

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Home Room, September 10, 2012

September 10th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

What the Regents are up to this week, what the national party platforms say about education, reporting on reports, other news and an upbeat perspective on public education…

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Governor’s rating up on handling education, still below overall job approval

May 30th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Results from the latest rendition of Quinnipiac University’s New York State poll are out today.  Among other findings, it shows voter approval of Governor Cuomo’s handling of education is up from February.

It also reports some disjointed thinking by voters on the issue of releasing teacher evaluations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday Wrap-Up — May 11, 2012

May 11th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Some of the news we have highlighted on Twitter and our homepage over the past week, including school budget votes, pronouncements from state leaders, a bit more on testing controversies and teacher evaluations, and a few other subjects… Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday Wrap-Up — April 13, 2012

April 13th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

The debate over teacher evaluations continued to be the most discussed issue in state education policy this week.

Also, it was “Kids Speak Week” at the Education Speaks blog – students supplied essays and videos on how budgeting decisions were affecting their schools.

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Category: Finance, Legislation, Politics, State Budget, Teachers | 1 Comment »