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Teachers see Holocaust education as orientation to civic responsibility

On Board Online • July 23, 2018

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

and

Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

The philosopher George Santayana famously said that those who do not remember the past "are condemned to repeat it." Let's hope that's not always true, because here's a sobering statistic: 22 percent of Millenials haven't heard of the Holocaust.

Asked what Auschwitz was, 66 percent of Millenials and 41 percent of all U.S. adults could not identify it as a concentration camp, according to the 2018 Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study.


What the Janus decision means to your school district

On Board Online • July 23, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

In one of its most important labor law decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court declared on June 27 that mandatory payment of "agency fees" to public sector unions is unconstitutional. In Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, the court ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment for a public employee who is a non-union member to be required to financially support the union that negotiates with his or her employer.

An "agency fee" is often referred to as a "service fee" and is roughly equal to regular union dues less any reduction of monies attributable to union political activity.


Questions and answers on payroll deductions for union dues in light of the Janus decision

On Board Online • July 23, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

State law requires school districts and other employers to make payroll deductions for union dues and agency fees (union dues minus the cost of lobbying or other political representation). This obligation will be significantly affected by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 and its interplay with New York State's "Taylor Law."

Under Janus, agency fees are no longer compulsory for non-union members who fall within the parameters of a bargaining unit, but may continue to be paid on a voluntary basis upon affirmative consent by the employee.


Session ends without resolution on APPR

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Julie M. Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

Despite a concentrated effort to eliminate the mandate to use state test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, the 2018-19 school year begins with no agreement on changes to Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR).

Current law still mandates that state test scores be used in evaluations for teachers teaching test subjects; however, a year is left on a Board of Regents moratorium that temporarily blocks use of state test scores in evaluations. The State Education Department plans to propose an alternative to APPR before the start of the 2019-20 school year.


'An alarming disregard for the safety of others'

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Jay Worona
Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has upheld a school district's permanent suspension of a student who emailed two terrorist threats to his school. The decision is significant because previous commissioners ruled in other cases that the penalty of permanent suspension would have been an excessive penalty.

In Appeal of D.B. and A.B., the commissioner recognized that school districts must retain their authority to protect students and staff from threats of violence, particularly in light of repeated instances of an "epidemic" of school shootings in the United States.


Effect of Janus may be muted in NYS

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

In a 5-4 ruling on June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public employees can become union members only by affirmatively opting in.

In Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, the court also said that unions cannot require non-member workers to pay agency fees (normal union dues less the portion covering political activities).


School boards are making the grade

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

The 2017-18 school year wasn't an easy ride for school boards, but NYSSBA members everywhere rose to meet the challenge. Ninety-nine percent of all school district budgets were approved, graduation rates continued to increase and new state learning standards were implemented. Many forms of innovation advanced in career and technical education, early college, P-Tech, personalized learning and project-based learning. Pre-K, after-school and community school programs were all expanded. Parental sentiment, including opt-out decisions, were respected. All the while, school boards consistently demonstrated their commitment to the principles of resource equity, community leadership and success for all students.

Not bad for a bunch of "unpaid volunteers."

 


Thirteen of 16 budgets pass on revote

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Thirteen of the 16 districts that had their initial budgets defeated on May 15 had the same or revised spending plans approved on the second try on June 19.

In addition, the Eldred Central School District budget passed June 19 on the first try. The district had to halt voting on May 15 due to the severe weather, and all ballots cast were destroyed.


Six things you should know about the 2018 session end

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

The 2018 Legislative session ended with anticipation of a deal worked out behind closed doors. Lobbyists, including the NYSSBA Governmental Relations team, camped out in the halls of the Capitol for days on end, waiting for word on the usual "big ugly" - a kitchen sink bill. This would be the last opportunity for groups like NYSSBA to try to get certain things in or out of the bill.

But this year, what seemed inevitable never happened. Legislative leaders gaveled out of the 2018 session with no "big ugly."


Don't know much about slavery

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

What were slave patrols?

A. Armed groups of white men who rode at night to prevent enslaved people from meeting or traveling.

B. Abolitionists who waited by northern railroad stations and docks to help escapees from slavery.

C. Groups of enslaved men posted to protect plantations at night.


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