New York: State Scores Released, Lowest Scores for Students with Disabilities, ELLs

Diane Ravitch's blog

It is all so predictable. With New York’s “rigorous,” confusing standardized state tests, most students “failed” to meet a standard set unrealistically out of reach. And the ones who were least likely to “pass” are the students with disabilities and English language learners.

Chancellor of the New York Board of Regents Merryl Tisch said a few weeks ago that if she had a child with special needs, she would “think twice” about letting the child take these tests. She was right. But in the latest press release, she insists that everyone should take the tests because the children will be ignored if they don’t have demonstrable evidence that they failed. Say what?

The state acknowledges that some 20% of students opted out of the test. That is the 200,000 that opt out leaders claimed.

The press release says about the opt out students: Department data show that students who did…

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Mythbusters: School Tax Edition

Brian with Those In Favor gets this tricky funding formula in the state of Delaware. While I hear everyone complaining about referendums causing tax increases, we don’t hear jack (pun intended) about the state slowly decreasing the amount they are giving to fund schools.

Those In Favor

Got this comment on CSDWeAllWin’s Facebook page today.

Today I had a friend say all the programs and cuts Christina school district was making is nuts. All because people wont sign a referendum. My answer was Christina School district asked for almost 100% raise in funding on their first attempt. This was highway robbery. They then asked for I believe a 15% increase and it was shot down… You know why??? Everyone I talked to who googled the referendum, saw the previous request. They thought their taxes were doubling. The district did this to its self… So lets do a little math and see if the money is spent correctly. 2014 budget 228 million dollars. 16255 students. That is $14,026.45 / student. I googled the “average private school tuition 19711″… the answer was $11970.00. If it can be funded privately for 2000 less per student and provide a better education……

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Budget Projections Place Christina In Jeopardy In A Year If Current Trends Continue

The true financial impact at Christina School District was revealed for all last night, and the most troublesome of these numbers was the bleeding out of students from Christina to charters.  It is a requirement that any district in Delaware be able to meet the first month’s payroll prior to the school year starting, and CFO Bob Silba announced this may not be a possibility in a year’s time.  Board member John Young commented that the district needs to face the reality they could be down from three high schools to two in a couple years.  Projected numbers show over 900 students leaving Christina but their Title I funding basically remains the same and their IDEA funding which comes from students with disabilities will actually go up.

This shows the students leaving the district are not necessarily those in most need: low-income and special needs.  As Christina hemorrhages students, they are left with financial numbers that are in dire straits.  School resource officers are being spread out among schools instead of one located at each, extra pay for extra responsibilities (EPER) has been drastically reduced, and classroom materials has been reduced by over 50%.

Discussion surrounding an interim superintenedent was chaotic at best, with Board President Harrie Ellen Minnehan starting the meeting with a very long monologue about how the board was unified, but the meeting showed they are anything but.  Minnehan referred to herself as “I” several times, much to the chagrin of other board members who felt out of the loop.  As the meeting stretched into the wee hours of the morning today, several board members actually left the board table for long stretches.  Minnehan, unsure of what the board had just voted for, actually said at one point “I guess we just passed a motion.”

Apparently, even public comment was in disarray with Minnehan cutting off a speaker and having the microphone turned off after the 3:00 minute mark for another.  Challenges of board policy went back and forth between Minnehan, Young and George Evans.  This board needs to unify once and for all before it is too late.  This district will be gone in two years time unless they are able to retain students and increase enrollment.

There was much discussion about the district’s  agreement with the Office of Civil Rights over discipline of minorities, which is now two years running.  From the agreement, the district has to have a vendor to oversee it, but the board was very concerned about the costs associated with this and the revelation that the main staff member who was overseeing much of this was placed in a different school.

Current Superintendent Dr. Freeman Williams, who announced he was going on personal leave last week, will be out at least another 11 weeks.  Prior to the meeting, rumors circulated that former Red Clay Consolidated School District Bob Andrzejewski would be appointed interim Superintendent, but members of the board felt they should not rush into a rash decision.  Discussion around qualifications of principals within the district and timing of the temporary hire took center stage.  The board will meet in a special meeting on August 20th to go over the qualifications and will plan from there.

A proposed board policy on parent opt-out passed it’s first read with six “yeas” and one abstention (George Evans, who was the sole no vote on the board’s opt-out resolution earlier in the year).