AQE Blitz Week

Get involved and take action against Governor’s Cuomo’s educational proposals!! Join AQE (the Alliance for Quality Education) in an organized “Blitz Week” (a sort of Spirit Week) for students, teachers, parents and schools to take part in. The dates and activities are listed below:

MONDAY, MARCH 2: Banner Monday

Make a banner with the school name on it and #WeCantWait hash-tag, and have members of the school com- munity sign it throughout the week – Banners will be used during the Parade for Public Ed on Thursday, March 5 in Utica. See your building rep for materials.

TUESDAY, MARCH 3: Telephone Tuesday

Join in on Telephone Tuesday by committing to place at least one phone call opposing Cuomo’s education proposal to your NYS Senator, Assembly Member and Regent and then tweet or post about your phone call using the #WeCantWait, #MissedOpportunity #AllKidsNeed #InviteCuomo hash-tags to drive the message home.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4: Write a letter Wednesday

Similar to Tuesday, write a letter expressing your opinion to your NYS Senator or Assembly Member. Take a picture of it and then tweet or post about your letter using the #WeCantWait, #MissedOpportunity #AllKidsNeed #InviteCuomo hash-tags to generate even more anti-Cuomo buzz.

THURSDAY, MARCH 5: March & Rally for Public Education

A parade will proceed at 4pm from Oneida Square to the Plaza at the State Office Building. Don’t forget to bring the banner your school created on Monday. All are welcome to attend and bring their friends, family and fellow community members who care about public schools. Children of all ages are especially welcome!

FRIDAY, MARCH 6: “I’m blue about Cuomo’s budget”

All will wear Blue as show of solidarity against Cuomo’s budget and education “reforms” he demands. Again, take a picture of you and your colleagues and then tweet or post about your letter using the #WeCantWait, #MissedOpportunity #AllKidsNeed #InviteCuomo hash-tags to help create awareness.

Information on additional events organized or supported by AQE can be found at aqeny.org.

Who is AQE?

The Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high quality public education to all students regardless of zip code.

Week of Action – Guest Column Jamie McNair

Greetings Fellow Activists!

I hope that you have all enjoyed a restful, albeit cold week off here in the Mohawk Valley.

So that we can hit the ground running on Monday morning I am sending along a few reminders and some updates about upcoming events and actions.  Please share widely and spread the word.

Monday February 23 – Friday February 27
PHONE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS WEEK.  Make a call every day and forward this email to everyone you know that cares about kids.  Details for this action are listed at the bottom of this email.

Monday February 23rd @ 6:30 pm
Rome Forum for Public Education – Rome Free Academy Large Auditorium

Wednesday February 25th @ 6:30 pm
West Canada Valley Forum for Public Education – Middleville Firehouse, 41 N. Main St.

Thursday February 26th
Camden Forum for Public Education – Grape-n-Grog, 85 Taberg St.

I am also looking for members of the following communities (Brookfield, Clinton, Holland Patent, New York Mills, New Hartford, Oriskany, Remsen, Sauquoit Valley, Utica, Waterville, Westmoreland and Whitesboro) to commit to sending at least two people to the next OHM BOCES Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, March 11th at 4:30 pm.  BOCES is our direct connection to the NYSED and we need to make sure that those that are representing us to the State of New York know what we want in our public schools and what we think about the Governor and Chancellor’s proposals.  

Contact Your Elected Official Today!

It only takes a moment to contact your elected official. See just how quick and easy it is here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_8kx7vu-AA-V29wakNpNjNMaDA/edit 

Directions for Participation

Thanks for agreeing to participate in this important action. It is time to make your voice heard as you speak up and speak out for our students and the public schools that serve them.  Everything you need to get started is right here.

Step1:   Find your Assembly member:  HERE  

                Find your Senator:  HERE  

Step 2:  Reference the list below to find the correct phone #

Step 3:  Make a phone call.  

Contacts

Political Events Potential Impact on NYS Public Education System – Guest Column

Hello fellow educators,
I am writing today to update you on some recent New York State political events that have the potential to seriously and negatively impact public edu- cation. The summary below is provided for your convenience. I encourage you to read this and share it with as many people as you can. There has never been a more important time to stand together for our students and our schools.

On December 18, 2014, Governor Cuomo’s Director of State Operations, Jim Malatras, penned a letter to NYS Board of Regents Chancellor of Meryll Tisch and outgoing Education Commissioner John King. In that letter he posed 12 questions about the direction of NYS education policy. The short sum- mary is that Governor Cuomo is looking to do the following:

– Revamp and toughen APPR

– Align the number of ineffective teachers to proficiency levels on state tests

  • -  Weaken due process so it is easier to fire teachers
  • -  Require 5 years to earn tenure
  • -  Increase the number of Charter Schools and increase their funding

– Force small and rural schools into mergers

 

On December 31, 2014 Chancellor Tisch responded with the following letter. Tisch’s response is twenty pages, and dense, but the most important points can be summarized with the following:

– Revamp and toughen APPR by requiring 40% of a teachers/principals score to be determined by state test scores.

– Require that any teacher/principal who is rated ineffective on the 40% state test scores be deemed ineffective regardless of the remaining 60%

– “…teachers who have received two consecutive ineffective ratings should not be permitted to return to the classroom.”

– Eliminating local control over scoring bands for the 60% of APPR

– Weaken due process so it is easier to fire teachers/principals

– Require 5 years to earn tenure

– Increase the number of Charter Schools and increase their funding

– Force small and rural schools into mergers

Finally I would like to share a response to the Jim Malatras letter from the New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE). NYSAPE is a coalition of educators, parents and activists who are stalwart supports of public schools and have responded to Malatras/Governor Cuomo with a letter grounded in research. A link on the NYSAPE website will allow you to contact your elected officials and education leaders in Albany to let them know you oppose the changes that are being proposed for our schools.

Should these proposals come to fruition we stand to lose most of the local control of our schools that we now have. New York State public schools are a great place to work and learn and we have too much pride to allow those in Albany to further impose their political will upon us. It is time we make our voices heard.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. If you have questions about any of the information above, please do not hesitate to email me at jmcnair@nhart.org.

With Appreciation,
Jamie McNair

Regional PAC coordinator