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In mock trial competition, students explore school justice in the era of high-stakes tests

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

A teacher at Bigtown High School said she saw Carson Conners push another student in the hallway and reported that the girl loudly refused to go to the assistant principal's office. When two school resource officers arrived, Conners was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Was this an open-and-shut case of a student violating the state's penal code? Or was it an allegation without an identified victim, and unsupported by any witness testimony, that benefited the probationary teacher by preventing a traditionally low-scoring student from participating in an upcoming district-wide assessment?

Senate Activity Resumes

June 5, 2018

After a weeklong gap in action, yesterday, with little fanfare, the State Senate entered their chamber and took up 130 bills, before adjourning for the day. These were largely non- controversial measures, and it remains to be seen what will happen today or if there are controversial bills advanced. NYSSBA Governmental Relations will continue to push to see our priorities advanced while bills are still being considered.

Senate Remains Deadlocked

June 4, 2018

The hectic days that lead in to the final days of the NYS legislative session have hit a new snag. Following the departure of Senator Tom Croci, who has begun preparation to resume active military duty and stopped coming to Albany, neither the Democrats nor Republicans have the requisite number of votes (32) to pass legislation.

Senate Democrats and Lieutenant Governor Hochul have argued that in this instance, she, as president of the Senate, should have the authority to preside over and cast the deciding vote.

At 2030 summits, board members ponder preparing students for ever-changing world

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Clothing that never needs to touch laundry soap? Concrete that can mend its own cracks? How about tires that last forever?

Such products might be commonplace by the time today's kindergarteners become adults, according to technology trend-watchers. Even more profound developments could build on or eclipse innovations such as smartphones, social media and genetic mapping.

98 percent of school budgets approved

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst
Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Voters across the state approved nearly 98 percent of school spending plans when they went to the polls on May 15.

Of the 675 budgets put before voters, 659 passed - an approval rate of 97.6 percent. Sixteen budgets were defeated.

APPR is one thing, tests another

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

In one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, Macbeth is anguished over the meaning of life, concluding that "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

The same could be said for the state's mandated Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) system for evaluating teachers and principals. After eight years of tinkering, the current APPR system is a confusing and controversial morass of growth measures, rubrics and observations, as well as an alphabet soup of SLOs and HEDI ratings.

The current APPR system, required by law, is burdensome, a source of anxiety and a turnoff for those considering the profession. You have to know things are bad when the only relief comes in the form of a four-year moratorium!


Emphasis on social-emotional learning seen as 'paradigm

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

At its May meeting, the Board of Regents advanced several initiatives to support local educators working to build school environments that are more attentive to the social, emotional and mental health needs of students.

That includes providing new resources to help school leaders set benchmarks and policies for promoting social-emotional learning. It also includes a plan for the State Education Department (SED) to release guidance for implementing mental health instruction, which state law requires to be part of the health curriculum as of July 1.

NY students join Second Amendment rallies

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Students from at least two school districts in New York participated in school walkouts to express their support for gun rights on May 2.

Will Riley, a high school senior from Carlsbad, N.M, said he conceived the "Stand for the Second" walkouts as a response to the student-led March for Our Lives on March 25. He said they were also a counter-protest to the walkouts and anti-gun rhetoric inspired by the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., on Feb 14.

School budget voter turnout drops by 50,000 voters

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Voter turnout for last week's school budget votes plummeted by more than 50,000 from a year ago - the lowest total since the inception of the tax cap in 2012, according to a NYSSBA analysis of State Education Department data.

The total number of votes cast was 505,075, compared with 561,833 in 2017 - a drop of 56,758. The number of votes cast in 2018 was nearly 300,000 fewer than in 2012 - a 37 percent decline.

Retirements, title changes may explain big drop in number of school librarians

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

School librarians may be becoming an endangered species in American public schools. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of U.S. school librarians has declined 19 percent since 2000.

The sizable dip in the profession may very well be attributed to retirements, title changes and changing school needs, according to School Library Journal.

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