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Top education news stories of 2018

On Board Online • December 10, 2018

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

By the time you read this, the state Board of Regents probably will have decided to extend the moratorium that shields teachers and principals from any employment-related consequences based on student test scores.

But events that maintain the status quo aren't usually considered big news. Our staff picked the following as the most significant news stories affecting public education in New York State:


Teachable moments come out of #MeToo

On Board Online • December 10, 2018

By Mareesa Nicosia
Special Correspondent

Last fall, Oneonta High School health teacher Renee Stanley was in the middle of a lesson about defining sexual consent when she noticed a girl sitting stiffly at her desk. Tears were streaming down her face.

That's when the veteran educator and parent of two teenage daughters realized that she needed to "do way more than what I'm doing" to educate students about consent.


Redefining ready

On Board Online • December 10, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

Have you ever gone to a meeting, unsure of its purpose, only to be pleasantly surprised? That was my experience recently at Baldwin Senior High School, where I attended the "Redefining Ready" Forum.

What I learned in a few hours was an eye-opener.

Redefining Ready, a national campaign launched by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), is a model for assessing student progress and achievement that offers an alternative to conventional credentials that rely heavily on state-produced standardized tests.

The theory behind Redefining Ready is that many different kinds of achievements can prepare a student for future success, and the criteria used to award graduation credentials ought to be more flexible and broad.

 


SED reminds school districts of duty to evaluate private schools' instruction

On Board Online • December 10, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The State Education Department has updated guidance for public school officials who must regularly review the educational programs of local nonpublic schools.

In more than 300 school districts with nonpublic schools within their boundaries, public school officials are required to determine whether the private and religious schools are providing instruction that is "substantially equivalent" to what students receive in public schools.


Political polarization felt at local level

On Board Online • November 26, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Some critics of the Saratoga Springs school board are turning to partisan language to vent their anger on Facebook.

"Find the democrats on your school board and get rid of them ASAP!" urged one commenter.

"Wake up, snowflakes!" demanded another, using a derogatory term some political conservatives use for liberals.


Rise in anti-Semitism, acts of hate prompts educational responses

On Board Online • November 26, 2018

By Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

On Election Day, a spray-painted swastika was found on a window of Binghamton High School.

While unsavory graffiti is nothing new, such incidents are being viewed with high level of concern, especially in the wake of the Oct. 27 shooting in Pittsburgh, where a gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue.

In Binghamton, the graffiti was removed within an hour, said Principal Kevin Richman.


Taking stock of the elections

On Board Online • November 26, 2018

William Miller
NYSSBA President

Election Day 2018 is over - well, sort of. In some places they may still be counting absentee ballots. I'll avoid any obvious references to the 2000 presidential election, except to say, thankfully, this time around we don't have to hear about hanging chads. Remember those?

Closer to home, New York had a few nail biters on election night - especially in some of the races for the U.S. House of Representatives. But the most consequential outcome of the 2018 elections affecting NYSSBA members was the flip in control of the state Senate.

Going into the election, Republicans held a slim 32-seat majority in the 63-member Senate.


Regents edge closer to extending moratorium

On Board Online • November 26, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The state Board of Regents is poised to extend a moratorium on links between student test results and teacher and principal evaluations for another year when the board meets in December.

Chancellor Betty Rosa made a surprise announcement of the plan as the Regents wrapped up their first full board meeting before moving on to committee meetings when they gathered in Albany on Nov. 5 and 6.


Student-directed IEPs - a trend to catch?

On Board Online • November 26, 2018

By Jackie Wiegand

Jonathan Bond, 18, can tell you a lot about his disabilities and why they make it difficult for him to learn in traditional ways.

A visual disability makes it challenging for him to read small text. A condition called dysgraphia means taking handwritten notes is a struggle.


Students on panel at Convention: Involve us in more of your decisions

On Board Online • November 5, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Schools and school boards tend to have a "Eurocentric" bias, and outreach to minority students would help, according to a panel of students who spoke at NYSSBA's 2018 Annual Convention & Education Expo in New York City.

The session, entitled "Education Equity: Student Voices," was one of more than 100 educational sessions packed into three days of programming in late October. About 2,500 school board members, superintendents, school attorneys and others attended the event.

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