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The announcement today of statewide test results in grades 3-8 English language arts and math exams represents a mixed bag. The good news: students in all grades combined made incremental gains in proficiency in both ELA and math and fewer students opted out of those exams than did last year. The bad news: only about four in 10 students are proficient.
Richard Engelbrecht of the Madison-Oneida BOCES Board of Education has been named the 2017 Everett. R. Dyer Award winner by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).
The Dyer Award is given annually for distinguished school board service to a current or former school board member, who, in the judgment of the NYSSBA Awards Committee, should be recognized for outstanding contributions to public education and children in his or her own school district.
Schools function best under steady, consistent leadership. State lawmakers acted just in time to renew mayoral control and ensure continuity in leadership as the New York City school system prepares for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. We thank Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature for completing this unfinished business and averting a disruption to the city school system.
We expect lawmakers will return to Albany at some point to address outstanding issues – most notably extending mayoral control of New York City schools – and correct what can best be characterized as an incomplete end to the legislative session.
While we are grateful for the passage of much-needed technical adjustments to the tax cap, the major education issue of this session, mayoral control, hangs in limbo. The use of the mayoral control school governance model in New York City is preferred by nearly all interested parties. Therefore, it makes sense to separate this issue from other issues not so widely supported, and approve an extension immediately while the law's expiration deadline of June 30 is looming. Other issues can and should be taken up by the legislature at a later date.
We urge the Legislature to resolve this unfinished business as soon as possible.
Despite numerous warnings of widespread teacher shortages, a new report from the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) finds teacher shortages in New York are generally confined to a handful of subjects and geographic regions.
"What we found was that teacher shortages in New York exist largely in such hard-to-staff subjects as science, math, special education, English as a second language, bilingual education, foreign languages and technology," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "We also found that shortages aren't necessarily widespread across the state, but are found mostly in New York City and in smaller, more rural locales.
New York State voters approved 99.4 percent of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 16, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association.
"This year, many school boards overcame rising costs in order to deliver budgets that stayed within the state's property tax cap," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "Smart budgeting, community input and an increase in state education funding helped districts win strong voter support. Some districts were even able to restore positions lost during leaner budgeting years."
After nearly a year working as a part of the ESSA think tank, NYSSBA is pleased to have a full draft of the state plan for review.
Now that the ideas and input of the think tank and stakeholders have been compiled, we must consider the specific proposals advanced by the department, and whether districts have the authority and resources to implement what is proposed.
The average proposed school district tax levy increase in 2017-18 will be 1.48 percent, more than half a percentage point below the acclaimed "2 percent" property tax cap, according to a NYSSBA analysis of school district property tax and budget data from the State Education Department.
This will be the fourth consecutive year the tax cap growth factor will be below 2 percent.
We are encouraged by the State Education Department's more collaborative and inclusive process for the adoption of new learning standards for public schools, in contrast to the adoption of Common Core standards in 2011.
The department has consulted with school board members, parents, teachers, subject matter experts, and others in an attempt to craft age-appropriate standards and obtain buy-in from stakeholders.
We look forward to reviewing the standards and submitting comments on behalf of school board members.
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