NORTH SHORE SCHOOL DISTRICT LEGISLATIVE ACTION COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES 2015 EDUCATION ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN
By the North Shore School District Legislative Action Committee
Following the announcement of Governor Cuomo’s 2015 Education Agenda, the North Shore School District’s Legislative Action Committee (LAC) began an advocacy campaign to influence state education decisions. Although our district is a top-performing district in the state, our ability to determine how our children are educated will be crippled by the Governor’s plan. It is critical that our entire community fight to gain the local control necessary to save our district from the expensive and unnecessary proposals now being considered.
Specifically, we seek to win more local control for high performing districts and proper funding of public education. LAC is focused on three issues from the Governor’s agenda that will be the most detrimental to the education of our children.
Increased emphasis on state standardized test scores in TEACHER EVALUATIONS
The Governor proposed increasing the percentage of a teacher’s rating that is based on state test scores to 50% (currently it is 20%). With the implementation of the 20% requirement (2013), schools saw a dramatic shift in the daily education of students. The change to 50% will require teachers to spend unprecedented amounts of time on test preparation, rather than teaching.
Increased focus on standardized testing costs our schools money that the state will not provide. Test preparation does not offer creative classroom experiences or authentic learning. Our district has in its mission statement to foster the lifelong love of learning. The pressure to perform on this single measure of accountability imperils this mission.
Additionally, under the Governor’s proposal, 35% of a teacher’s rating will be based on the findings of an “independent observer” who will conduct a one-time visit to the classroom. Therefore, just 15% of a teacher’s rating will be based on observations by the principal or assistant principals. Thus, the people who know our teachers best will have the least input into their evaluation. In short, 85% of teacher evaluations will be removed from the hands of our community and placed in the hands of the state.
Evaluation of our teachers should remain in the control of our district and not the state.
Creation of additional CHARTER SCHOOLS
Charter schools are publicly funded, privately run schools. Where public schools are chronically failing, charter schools may offer an alternative. In districts that are not failing, or in districts, like ours, that perform well above the standards, charter schools will only serve to siphon funds and duplicate the need for resources. The Governor proposes to double the number of charter schools with no criteria for establishing such schools.
Charter schools are not governed by a board of locally elected community members. Rather, they have their own governance structure and are not accountable to the local taxpayers. Charter schools are not held to the same standards as regular public schools with regard to performance, teachers, schedules or behavior nor are they held to the same costly mandates, yet they are funded through our taxpayer dollars.
Local school districts lose money to charters for every student attending a charter school. If a charter school were to open in our area, our tax dollars would fund it to the detriment of every child attending North Shore schools.
Criteria must be established to determine the need for creating a publicly funded Charter School. Charter schools should only be established in communities where the public schools are chronically failing.
Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA)
The GEA was first introduced in the 2009-2010 budget year as a temporary measure to help NYS close its then $10 billion budget deficit. The GEA represents a reduction of state aid funds to school districts across NYS. Although intended to be a temporary measure, the funds eliminated by the GEA have not been fully restored, as the state has been unable to address its own continued budget challenges and priorities.
Over the past five years, North Shore Schools lost $3,687,292 as a result of the GEA reductions. With so much attention on the NYS tax cap, it should be noted that if GEA funds had been restored in the 2014-2015 budget cycle the school tax levy on Long Island would be 2.6% lower than it is currently.
The GEA must be completely eliminated and full funding restored now.
The North Shore School District Legislative Action Committee
Amy Beyer, Chair Christine Hughes Vito Palmieri
Robyn Charlop Tim Madden Carol Remi
Roger Friedman Deborah McDermott Larry Ruisi
Marty Glennon Jennifer Mone
How you can help
Get involved, stay involved. Visit the LAC page on the district website: http://www.northshore.k12.ny.us/Board_of_Ed/LACpage.html
Share what you know
Contact your legislators about these issues by March 25, 2015 (click here or on chart below)