Students work with iPads in 2012 at Southold High School. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)
There is no doubt that the largest portion of any local property tax bill is the amount funding the public school district. It’s a bill that causes taxpayers agita each and every year.
The 2 percent state cap on year-to-year tax levy increases is a temporary control tactic, not a sustainable strategy. And as we tighten our belts as a result of the cap, there are significant negative outcomes: pre- and after-school program cutbacks minimize opportunities for youth; increasing class sizes to maximum allowable levels results in instruction that cannot possibly address the needs and diversity of any given classroom population; lobbying for “our fair share” produces great photo-ops but makes us look like pigs at the trough; and staff layoffs are temporary fixes and only hand more responsibilities to someone already working at capacity, creating resentment and loss of pride in work.
So, what is the answer? (more…)
A view of two of Shoreham’s tennis courts last spring, which have become unplayable after years of neglect. New courts would be included in a bond that voters could decide on in December. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister, file)
Roof replacements. New classroom space and tennis courts. Ceiling repairs. Safer parking lots. Security upgrades.
A committee of Shoreham-Wading River teachers, administrators and parents presented a litany of fixes Tuesday night to address longstanding issues across the district’s four buildings. (more…)
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO
The New York State Department of Education has released the results of Common Core-aligned math and English Language Arts exams taken this spring by students statewide, and outcomes from local districts fall in line with wider trends.
Those trends pointed to improved scores in math overall, with ELA results generally falling or staying flat.
Statewide, proficiency rates (the number of students scoring at levels 3 and 4) increased more in math than in English. In 2013, 31.2 percent of students achieved proficiency on the math exam; that number jumped to 35.8 percent in 2014. In English, the proficiency rate ticked up one-tenth of a percent, to 31.4 percent.
The tests were — and remain — a source of conflict for many parents and teachers throughout the state. Part of New York’s Common Core State Standards, state legislators delayed some of the impacts the tests have in evaluating teacher performance in reaction to opposition from the public. The standards came after New York opted into the federal program, which supplies the state with education funds otherwise not available.
This year’s results provided the first opportunity to compare students’ test performance in consecutive years. Educators with the state’s Board of Regents, which has been implementing Common Core, said that despite what some may consider low proficiency levels – numbers that opponents say defeat the students taking the tests — long-term, the plan is going as scheduled.
“This is still a transition period,” said New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch. “It will take time before the changes taking place in our classrooms are fully reflected in the test scores.”
This year’s results are below:
Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) and Senator Ken LaValle at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)
Common Core is a federal government power grab disguised as a “revamping” of our nation’s educational system — an educational system that, with all its flaws, managed to produce people who put a man on the moon and gave the world the Internet. (more…)
Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)
There may be another party line on the November ballot for state office seekers.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the GOP challenger facing Governor Andrew Cuomo in the upcoming election, has launched a petition effort to establish a Stop Common Core party line focused on capturing voters unhappy with the controversial Common Core State Standards initiative. (more…)
The Riverhead Charter School in Calverton.
Riverhead Charter School has been in and out of the local newspapers this year due to allegations of “Union busting.” The local newspapers have done an excellent job with covering these allegations. We commend the media for providing the public with unbiased accounts of the happenings at RCS. (more…)
David Gamberg during a school board meeting in Southold. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)
What would make the most sense about developing and promoting the necessary ingredients for a high-quality public education system in the United States? Would it be an agenda made up of the highest standards possible? Of course, but in and of itself this would fall short of a full-bodied agenda for success. (more…)
Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney, left, and Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen.
Amid increasingly intense scrutiny of standardized testing as a means of improving teacher and student performance, the opt-out movement — which encourages refusal to take the tests used to measure New York’s educators — appears to be gaining some traction locally. This year, in the Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River districts, and at the Riverhead Charter School, more parents than ever before are refusing to let their children sit for the upcoming state assessments. (more…)