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New York State PTA

One Wembley Court
Albany, NY 12205
Phone: 518.452.8808
Toll Free: 1.877.569.7782
Fax: 518.452.8105

Email: pta.office@nyspta.org

Advocacy

Advocacy Newsbriefs – May 2017


In This Issue


In the Spotlight

The time is NOW to comment on Revised Learning Standards for Schools!

New York is currently reviewing learning standards related to English Language Arts (ELA) and Math.

Why is this important? These changes directly affect children in the classroom.

Your to-do list:

  1. Read the standards HERE that affect your children in the grade level.
  2. Submit comments on the ELA standards HERE - and on the Math standards HERE.

Please read more below in the “Education” section below. Comments are due by June 2, so don’t wait!


Region Advocacy and Events

Westchester East Putnam Region (WEPR): WEPR held their 65th Annual Spring Conference on Friday, May 5.

NYS Assemblymember Shelley Mayer (Yonkers) was the keynote speaker and discussed PTA advocacy efforts.

She mentioned a drastic improvement of NYS PTA presence in Albany and how local PTA units/council delivered much correspondence needed during advocacy season. She urged all to keep advocating.


National PTA Legislation Update

Federal bills that National PTA recently endorsed:

  • H.R.695: Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017
  • H.R.627/S.383: Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2017
  • H.R.1864: Chronic Absenteeism Reduction Act
  • H.R.1809: Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017
  • H.R.1478: Gun Violence Research Act

Learn more about these bills here.

National PTA’s federal appropriations activities included the House Dear Colleague letter in support of funding Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) in fiscal year 2018 that garnered signatures from a bipartisan group of 46 Representatives. Additionally, 88 national and state organizations signed on to a letter in support of funding SFECs—including 52 state PTAs. The appropriations advocacy work in the Senate to fund SFECs will begin at the end of April. National PTA submitted 30 individual constituent appropriations request letters to fund SFECs in fiscal year 2018 on behalf of 22 state PTAs (12 House and 18 Senate submissions).

Private School Vouchers: National PTA is a founding member of the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE). Founded in 1978, the NCPE supports public schools and opposes funneling public money to private and religious schools through vouchers, tuition tax credits, education savings accounts and portability. Check out key federal legislation that PTA opposes here:

  • H.R. 610: To distribute Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in the form of vouchers for eligible students and to repeal a certain rule relating to nutrition standards in schools
  • H.R. 895: Educational Opportunities Act
  • H.R. 1387: To reauthorize the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act, and for other purposes
  • S. 148: Educational Opportunities Act

National PTA endorsed S. 786, entitled the “Student and Student Athlete Opioid Misuse Prevention Act.” The bill aligns with the recommendations found in the recently adopted Recommendations Regarding Prescription Opiate Abuse Awareness and Preventions position statement.

Bill Summary: This piece of legislation would allow the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services, to provide $10 million annually to support prevention programs for students and student athletes, as well as training for teachers, administrators, trainers, coaches and athletic directors, specifically targeted at mitigating the risk of opioid misuse and overdose.


Education

New York Next Generation Learning Standards: On May 2 the NYS Education Department (NYSED) released revised NYS English and Mathematics Learning Standards. To learn more about the revisions and the review process, go to: SED Press Release on Revised NYS English and Mathematics Learning Standards. Revised standards will be posted here. Public comments are accepted through June 2, 2017 at Feedback on ELA Learning Standards 2017 and Feedback on Mathematics Learning Standards 2017. If you have questions about the revised learning standards, please email standards@nysed.gov.

Every Student Succeeds Act - New York's Plan: On May 8, the NYS Board of Regents and Commissioner Elia shared the draft of a reader friendly NY ESSA Plan Summary and the full NY ESSA Plan 2017. The meeting video of the rich three hour discussion of the ESSA Plan in their morning session and an afternoon discussion on Assessment, Evaluation, and Educator Improvement  elements within the plan illustrate the challenging discussion in trying to meet Federal mandates for a plan, creating a broader vision for education in NY, and the current issues with assessment and teacher evaluation. Clearly the plan is a draft and all expect feedback from parents, educators and others through their Public Comment Press Release.

COMMENT ON New York’s ESSA plan draft by Friday June 16, 2017

In person at an ESSA Public Hearing: ESSA Public Hearing Schedule and Locations (to be updated as information is received),

Via E-Mail: ESSAComments@nysed.gov

Via US Postal Service:

New York State Education Department
ATTN: ESSA Comments
Office of Accountability, Rm 400
55 Hanson Place
Brooklyn, New York 11217

Comment Period: open until Friday, June 16, 2017

To review information discussed at the May 2017, Regents meetings, click here.

To connect to specific topics from May meetings, go to:

Computer Based Testing
Amendments to Commissioners Regulation 100.2(x) for Homeless Children and Youth
Flexibility in Middle Level CTE
Amending Health Regulationsrelated to health screenings and the use of epinephrine auto-injector devices
Healthcare Workforce Planning Study
Amendments to Certified Athletic Trainer regulations
Approval of Pathways for Languages other than English assessments criteria


Special Education

NYSED released several documents of interest to parents and educators.

Transition Planning and Services for Students with Disabilities: Two agencies that provide services and support to students and their families:

Assistive Technology for students with disabilities; read more here.

School districts responsibilities for out-of-State approved residential program; read more here.

Senate Bill S.2534 would require training for teachers in the area of dyslexia and related disorders. The legislation would mandate all NY school districts to provide teachers specifically trained to instruct students with dyslexia. It will also help teachers more easily identify dyslexic students so they can be evaluated and receive special education if needed.


Wellness

The US House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628. The bill is substantially the same as the bill they withdrew in March. The changes are here. Much is left up to the states to determine what people will pay and what benefits they will receive.

This bill now goes to the Senate. Whatever bill the Senate comes up with will return to the House for adoption or alteration. This process is not done and your emails, calls and letters to your Representatives in Congress, Senators and President are still essential.


Environment

GGovernor Cuomo recently launched a new initiative that would require all manufacturers of household cleaning products sold in New York to disclose chemical ingredients on their websites. Governor Cuomo states, "These new regulations will help protect New Yorkers and give them the peace of mind of knowing what’s in their homes and in their communities. These actions continue this state’s legacy of environmental stewardship and will help build a cleaner, greener New York for all." Read more here.


Juvenile Protection

Raised the Age: TThe passage of the FY 2018 New York State Budget ended a decade-long injustice by raising the age of criminal responsibility. This will ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds who commit non-violent crimes are processed as juveniles in NY’s justice system. New York was one of only two states in the country that automatically processed all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

Under this new budget agreement, young people will now be able to receive the intervention and evidence-based treatment they need and will no longer be permitted to be housed in adult facilities or jails. Read more here.

Child Abuse Reporting Bill: NYS Senator John Brooks sponsored legislation to expand the reporting of child abuse requirements to private schools. This bill (S.4342) was unanimously passed by the Senate Committee on Children and Families and is awaiting a Senate floor vote. The current state law only requires public school administrators to forward reports of child abuse to law enforcement, but does not include private schools. Read more here.


CalendarCurrent and Upcoming Awareness Events

May

Arthritis Awareness Month

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Clean Air Month

Food Allergy Action Month

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month

Healthy Vision Month

Hepatitis Awareness Month

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

Mental Health Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

National Bike Safety Month

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

June

Fireworks Safety Month

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month

National Great Outdoors Month

National Safety Month

The NYS PTA Wellness Team has developed a Wellness Toolkit and Calendar to help your unit, council or region plan programs, advocacy and fundraising efforts. Each month connects to events and websites where you can gather information for activities or to research an article for your members. There is also a connection to New York State PTA positions to help your advocacy efforts. Click here for the toolkit and calendar.