Monday, January 26, 2015

Only Speak if You Can Improve the Silence

Another great weekend in the books. I finally feel like myself again, and it was great to get downtown to ice skate, get back to running, and renew my Syracuse Chiefs baseball tickets for this year! I also had the opportunity to give back to my profession and work with a group of people who would like to be superintendents someday.

Weekend Competitions Go Well: The weekend was great for some other reasons as well. Our cheerleaders held a GIGANTIC cheerleading event at our high school on Saturday, drawing in well over a dozen cheer teams from around the area and beyond.

While they were cheering, our Academic Decathlon Team was in competition and they did VERY well, placing second, receiving many medals, and qualifying for state competition. Great job! To me this group should receive as many accolades as our sports teams and Marching Band. They practice in the classroom and their uniforms are the hair that cover up their superior brains! Maybe they could shave in a WG somehow?

The Governor Connects State Aid to Education Reforms: By now you have heard that the Governor has withheld an increase in state funding to schools unless the legislature agrees to some significant reforms for education. On the surface, and as a result of the great job the governor has done vilifying my profession, one might think that we DESERVE to be reformed and that our teachers and administrators NEED to be watched more closely and corrected for not increasing student achievement more quickly. These assertions can be proved FALSE.

Here is the news. I feel that the governor should get his own house in order before throwing stones. The Speaker of the House, Sheldon Silver, a top legislator, was recently arrested for abuse of power, and there are numerous investigations happening in Albany related to corruption and campaign financing abuse. These are FACTS.

I have read just about everything out there about the governor's plans for education reform, including all of the well-worded responses from people in my field. Has any of this "back and forth" done anything to improve the situation? I do not think so. It is going to take action.

The first step is to give our parents, community members, and elected officials an idea of what schools would look like if the governor's reforms, especially the reform related to evaluations, are agreed to as written. I want them to see it from the schedule building process right through after-school experiences. 

The second step is to show our parents, community members, and elected officials what schools will look like IF an agreement between the governor and the legislature cannot be reached. For West Genesee that will mean a $1.3M reduction in opportunities for students, a budget that has already CONSISTENTLY been BELOW the GOVERNOR imposed tax cap.

As parents and educators, the one thing you can do is contact an elected official and let them know that you would like them to do their jobs and reach a middle ground. The Central New York School Boards Association is holding two Community Forums, one on February 3 in Auburn at West Middle School and February 5 at North Syracuse Junior High School. The time of each forum is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. These events are not being held for people to rally, they are being held to get information about how to advocate for education.

Events in the District: This week is Regents week for our High School students. We are also preparing for Strategic Planning and the high school musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, is right around the corner.

Thanks for reading and see you around the community-