04/21/15 12:00pm

A mere four years ago, and for decades prior, one could not find any substantial evidence of students opting-out of standardized testing. At first glance, the current, heated, conflict over state testing and the “opt-out” movement appears to be a dispute between those who believe in and those who dispute the value of state tests. But this conflict goes deeper. It is a conflict about what is good for children and adolescents, about how children learn and thrive, and about how to raise young people to enter into and contribute to their communities as mature members of a democratic society.  (more…)

04/01/2015 12:00 PM
Superintendent Steven Cohen and board president William McGrath at Tuesday's school board meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Superintendent Steven Cohen and board president William McGrath at Tuesday’s school board meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Warrantees for new computer equipment, new uniforms and equipment for the district’s sports teams and more community programs.

That’s what Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen has proposed for the 2015-16 school year, according to a budget presentation made at Tuesday’s school board meeting.  (more…)

03/31/15 8:00am
03/31/2015 8:00 AM
Shoreham-Wading River School District Superintendent Steven Cohen. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Shoreham-Wading River School District Superintendent Steven Cohen. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

With reports trickling out of Albany that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reached a tentative deal with lawmakers over the state budget and education reforms, local educators are calling for an independent commission to help develop policy moving forward.

According to published reports, Mr. Cuomo has backed off his demand to tie 50 percent of teacher evaluations to state test scores — up from 20 percent — and instead will task the state education department with improving the way teachers are evaluated.

As part of the deal, teacher tenure would increase from three to four years and schools will see big increases in state aid. (more…)

02/20/15 7:00am
02/20/2015 7:00 AM
Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

The rushed rollout of the Common Core State Standards under Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the 2012-13 school year set off alarm bells in school hallways and living rooms across the state. All of a sudden, teachers and parents in New York were being told that well over half of the student population had failed to make the grade based on the new Common Core-aligned math and ELA state assessments.  (more…)

01/18/15 8:00am
01/18/2015 8:00 AM
Chancellor Meryll Tisch (left) alongside Regent Roger Tilles at a Common Core forum in Eastport in November 2013. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Chancellor Meryll Tisch (left) alongside Regent Roger Tilles at a Common Core forum in Eastport in November 2013. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Ordinarily, letters exchanged between governors and high-level bureaucrats don’t make it to the top of The New York Times bestseller list. But, sometimes, one comes across a letter that makes one sit up and say, “Whoa, what’s going on here?” I refer to a recent letter about education reform sent by Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch to Gov. Cuomo’s office. (It was also signed by the new “acting” commissioner of education, Elizabeth Berlin.)

What’s striking in Ms. Tisch’s recommendations to the governor is the unstated proposition that there is a big difference between public education and state education, and that state education is far superior. From the chancellor’s point of view, public education hasn’t just failed poor, black and Hispanic children the most, but has somehow even failed kids in Great Neck, Jericho, Scarsdale and Garden City — even though many of them go on to the best universities in the nation.

The remedy? State education. (more…)

12/11/2014 1:00 PM
(Credit: Paul Squire)

Supporters of the Shoreham-Wading River school bond review a map of where to place signs around the district. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Sets of tables and chairs were arranged in the Miller Avenue Elementary School gym Tuesday night, right next to a row of display boards showing overhead construction plans with alterations highlighted in yellow and green.

At the tables sat Shoreham-Wading River School District administrators and school board members, ready to answer questions about the district’s proposed $48.5 million plan to refit and repair district schools.  (more…)