State news roundup for October 10, 2015

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Pennsylvania – PSEA President Jerry Oesksiak on school funding

PSEA President Jerry Oleksiak appeared on Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) on Sept. 29 to discuss public school funding, the state budget, standardized testing, and his priorities as the new president of our Association.

Learn more at PSEA.org.

Massachusetts – MTA opposes governor’s proposal to lift the cap on charter schools

MTAGovernor Baker’s charter school proposal threatens to severely undermine our state’s public education system — a system that is foundational to our democracy. His plan would accelerate the dangerous direction in which we are already headed: toward being a state with a two-track education system, one truly public and the other private, but financed with public dollars. The truly public system will always welcome all students. The private system will continue to find ways to underserve those with the most needs and then use inflated claims of success to grab an ever-larger share of public education funding.

As the NAACP has said, charter schools provide “separate and unequal” opportunities for success. Most charter schools serve a smaller percentage of English language learners, special education students and economically disadvantaged students than their sending districts. Most lose a significant number of students between the first year of a charter’s program and the last, driving out students who can’t meet their disciplinary demands or whose academic and social needs are significant. And most have very high teacher turnover rates that are disruptive for students and staff alike.

Get the full story at MassTeacher.org.

Connecticut – Make your voice heard: Share your SBAC experiences with state committee

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Donald Williams, CEA’s director of Policy, Research, and Reform, and Marcia Ferreira, a Windsor literacy coach, are CEA’s representatives on a new statewide committee examining testing. They are attending meetings around the state to hear from educators.

Representatives on the new state committee examining annual statewide tests need to hear your personal stories about SBAC’s effect on your students. CEA leaders have raised strong concerns about the reliability and validity of SBAC and want to share educators’ concerns, challenges, and suggestions with state education officials and others.

Educator Marcia Ferreira, a Windsor literacy coach, and Donald Williams, CEA’s director of Policy, Research, and Reform, are CEA’s representatives on the new Mastery Examination Committee created by the legislature to examine annual mastery assessments. This month they are attending CEA County Forums around the state to hear your suggestions about ways to fix Connecticut’s flawed testing system, and will bring your ideas back to the Mastery Examination Committee.

Ferreira and Williams began to collect stories from educators last night at the Hartford County Forum. One teacher told of proctoring 504 students taking SBAC over a six-week period. She said the students were frustrated, reduced to tears, and her heart broke.

Visit BlogCEA.org to make your voice heard!

Michigan – MDE adds more public meeting on proposed state standards

Michigan MI logoThe Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has added more meetings to give the public a chance to provide input on proposed science and social studies standards. Nine meetings have already been held which features a presentation on the standards, along with comments from educators, and school and community business leaders.

“When people learn and understand what the proposed state standards actually are, then the conversations are based on facts. We are all better informed when the discussions are thoughtful and academic. We are listening to the input and will be making changes, accordingly,” said Superintendent Brian Whiston.

The proposed standards have been developed and reviewed by science and social studies education experts, including K-12 teachers, and college and university professors.

Find out more about the standards and find an upcoming meeting at MEA.org.

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