If you’re concerned about student privacy, inBloom, and corporatizing of America’s schools, you might get on the bus June 8th.
If you’re tired of politicians and educrats ignoring the most important factors for student achievement (not teacher practice, but parental involvement and poverty), you might get on the bus June 8th.
If you’re fed up with not being able to grade your own tests and SED’s obsession with test security, you might get on the bus June 8th.
If you’re sick of listening to billionaire ed reformers spout off about education, you might get on the bus June 8th.
If you were shocked the first time you heard that John King sends his kids to Montessori school, you might get on the bus June 8th.
If you care about great teachers being driven out of the profession, you might get on the bus June 8th.
If you think it’s time for change at State Ed, you might get on the bus June 8th.
Join us on June 8th in support of public education. Stand up for our schools, stand up for our children, stand up for New York’s future.
For more info visit: http://www.nysut.org/resources/special-resources-sites/one-voice-united
NYSUT is providing bus transportation to the rally in Albany. Buses leave at 8:30AM from the NYSUT office in East Syracuse (Brittonfield office off 481). See your building rep or email/call Greg McCrea (882-6344) to reserve a seat. If you’d rather drive, please consider taking a friend. The WDEA will reimburse $75 in travel expenses to all members who car-pool (drive) to the event.
Weblinks for this article include:
Calling all walkers, runners, and family members. We need you to join our Corporate Challenge and Relay for Life teams. Follow the links below to sign up for a team or make a donation to our Relay for Life team. As teachers, you make a difference in our community. Please consider joining our team today.
To sign up for the Relay for Life event on June 7th, visit:
To sign up for the Corporate Challenge race on June 18th:
- Log on to JPMorganchase.cc.com
- See “Schedule and Registration”
- Click on “Syracuse”
- Under “Company home pages” you’ll find: Westhill
- Go to “Register for this company”
The deadline to sign up is Wednesday June 5 and receive your free Westhill Team T-Shirt
A retirement letter by Jerry Conti, a Westhill HS social studies teacher, seems to have gone viral on the internet. Last month Conti submitted his retirement letter to the Board of Education and offered his “deepest regret, ending my more than twenty-seven years of service at Westhill.” He goes on to criticize the “ill-conceived policies [that] will betelling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come.”
Mr. Conti is a great teacher, and it’s pretty clear to us that his reach goes beyond the Westhill community and kids. We’re going to miss him.
Here’s a few links that may be interesting to anyone concerned about the state of education in NY.
Mr. Conti’s Letter of Retirement and article in the Post Standard.
More about the Gates Foundation and their influence on ed reform.
Just what is a “Vogon”?
Sign the petition today, put an end to run-away high-stakes testing in NY.
Learn about the Opt Out movement growing across NY.
Are you smarter than a 3rd grader? See a sample of the NY ELA exam.
BOE Meeting Tonight
The Westhill BOE meeting is tonight at 7pm in the HS auditorium. Please come out in support of the board as they make the difficult decisions re: the budget, but more importantly in support of our colleagues as they face potential job cuts. There’s no easy way out of this mess, but it will be slightly more bearable if we hang together, or assuredly we shall (well you know the rest).
Budget Deal in Albany
There’s apparently a budget deal in Albany which includes restorations to the education funding. We haven’t seen the details yet, so we don’t know how much more Westhill will be getting. I’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
Tests Make Kids Sick
Fed up with testing? I sure am. There were reports last week of students sickened by the test and a ridiculous response by SED in one case in Westchester County. READ ABOUT IT HERE.
Considering Opting Out?
There is a growing movement referred to at “Opt Out” among parents across the state. Parents are asking districts to allow their children the option of “refusal” on the state tests. A report out of Western, NY appeared on the Buffalo YNN affiliate. CHECK IT OUT HERE.
Sign the Petition, Come to a Meeting
NYSUT has two forums with which you can speak out against high-stakes testing. Go to testing.nysut.org
and sign the parent’s petition and also share your stories about testing in the classroom through “Tell It Like It Is!” NYSUT will host a “Tell It” forum on April 18th, 5:30PM, at C-NS High School. Save the date and recruit your friends to attend. We want Prez Ianuzzi to hear us loud and clear as we stand up against SED’s runaway testing regime.
You’re not going to believe this next story coming out of Westchester County. In a recent town hall forum hosted by NYSUT, a teacher from Hastings shared a tragic story about a third grader in her class. It illustrates just how sickening the NY testing obsession has become.
Phyllis Montalvo of Hastings Teachers Association shared a story that could make you sick – if it doesn’t make you cry: A third-grader in her class was so anxious about upcoming state tests that he bombarded his mom with worried questions: What if I don’t understand the question – I can’t ask my teacher! What if it’s too hard?
His teacher reassured mom and son: It will be OK.
On the day of the test, just six questions into the exam, the young boy threw up - all over his answer sheet.
Teachers cleared the room, relocated the students and disinfected the area. The hardest of all? Comforting the distraught child. Yet the unbelievable part was still to to come.
The school principal called SED to ask how to handle the situation. SED’s answer: To ensure test security, we need every test back. Protocol was followed. “Since every test had to be accounted for, we put it in a Ziploc bag and sent it back,” Montalvo said.
You can read more about the testing forum in Westchester and watch a video at:
And don’t forget to send Commissioner King message to let him know how sick you are over the NY State tests. Just drop a ZipLoc bag in the mail and send it to SED. There’s no need to include an explanation, he’ll get the message.
Commissioner King’s address:
Dr. John B. King Jr.
Commissioner of Education
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234
I wanted to share with you the success we had yesterday with our visit to Sen. DeFrancisco’s office. “Success” is relative here because there is still no budget in Albany as of this email (follow budget updates at: http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/) and in fact we didn’t even see DeFrancisco, rather his education aid. What we did see was a group of dedicated teachers, parents, and students speaking out for Westhill schools and standing up for education funding.
The GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment) was imposed some 5 years ago and has resulted in over $7.5M in cuts to Westhill alone in state and federal funding. Restoration of this funding is essential if we hope to have sustainable budgets in the years to come. If we don’t, we will continue to see budget cuts like this year’s and last’s.
The kids that spoke at the meeting yesterday afternoon were brilliant (video coming soon). They shared a message more powerful than any I could hope to relay. Thanks should go out to the parents who have been so dedicated to our cause. Together, we are building coalitions in our community that make us stronger as educators.
What’s next? What can you do to help?
- Please call the Governor’s office (right now) and ask him to pass a budget that restores the GEA funding to education @(518) 474-8390. We’ve sacrificed millions of dollars in Westhill, it’s time he keeps his promise to restore funding to the schools.
- Log on to http://mac.nysut.org and fax your legislators and the gov.
- Join us at Monday night’s board meeting at the HS starting at 7PM. Please encourage community members and your colleagues to attend. This is our chance to stand up, speak out, and put people first in our classrooms.
- Make a pledge to vote in your local school budget elections on May 15th. We have hundreds of NYSUT members living in our district, but if they don’t vote, we can’t win. We win when you vote.
Thanks for your continued dedication to education in our community. As always, call me or email if you have any questions or comments.