NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... January 2014

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

New Law Establishes License for Autism Care and Therapy

Autism Cares
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that establishes a new state license for providers of applied behavior analysis services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Applied behavioral analysis is an intensive, often one-on-one treatment method that is beneficial for individuals with autism. This law establishes a new state license for behavior analysts, with at least a master's degree, and a new state certification for behavior analyst assistants, with at least a four-year college degree, with a protected scope of practice.

To read the complete article, click here.

It’s That Time Again…

Special Education meeting
It will soon be time for special education students to have their annual review. According to current law, the additional parent member at the CSE/CPSE meetings is no longer required except under special circumstances. The parent member can attend if specifically requested in writing by the parent of the student, the student or by a member of the committee at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. These changes can be read at: www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/lawsregs/July2013-complete.pdf.

Reducing Student School Violations

School Discipline
The Obama administration has issued a new directive to schools to attempt to reduce the number of students with disabilities and minorities who end up dealing with law enforcement. These students are often suspended or expelled for school violations at higher levels than other students. The new document is to make sure that discipline policies are fair, effective and do not violate students’ civil rights. A disturbing fact is that while special education students are about 12%, they account for roughly 20% of suspensions and expulsions, and nearly a quarter of students experience school-related arrests.

To read more about this issue, visit:

Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

Mental Health quote
On November 8, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury issued the final rules regarding the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. To review all the information, go to: beta.samhsa.gov/health-reform/parity?from=carousel&position=1&date=10282013.

Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Obama administration will provide $100 million for additional mental health services. “The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable,” Biden said. The $100 million package will be split, with half going toward expanding behavioral services and the other going to improve mental health facilities in rural areas. The press release can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/12/10/vice-president-biden-announces-100-million-increase-access-mental-health.

Guidelines for Bullying Prevention: Media Guidelines

SAMHSA has developed tools to help people who are developing content about bullying. Click here for more information.

Governor Cuomo’s State of the State and Wellness Issues

Gov. Cuomo's State of the State address
In Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, there were a number of wellness issues proposed. These include:
  1. The establishment of a Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice to provide recommendations regarding youth in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
  2. The launch of a medical marijuana research program at 20 hospitals to evaluate effectiveness and feasibility.
  3. A “three strikes and you’re out” rule to crack down on youth texting while driving.
  4. A $17 billion strategy to transform state infrastructure regarding extreme weather.
To read the Governor’s full plan, go to: www.NYGetInvolved.com.

Healthy and Sustainable School Food Journalism Competition for High School Students

High School Journalism
“The Earth Day Network is accepting entries for the 2014 Healthy and Sustainable School Food Journalism Competition. This highlights the hard facts about school food in the words of students who eat it. Open to United States high school students between the ages of 13 and 18, all articles submitted for consideration must be about the importance of healthy, sustainable food served in school; what the student's school community is doing to combat climate change; and how the student's school is promoting environmental education. All articles must have been published by the participant's school newspaper. This year, EDN has opened the competition to include broadcasting and photography entries.”

To enter, you must visit www.earthday.org/journalismaward and submit your publication online. The contest is open until February 28, 2014 and the winners will be announced on Earth Day - April 22, 2014! 

Maintaining Nutritious Meals in our Schools

Kids in lunch line
The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946. Its purpose is to provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day: www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/history.

For the period of July 2013 – June 2014, children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals; those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents: www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/NSLPFactSheet.pdf.

National poverty levels: www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Eligibility/Downloads/2013-Federal-Poverty-level-charts.pdf.

For the school year of 2013 to 2014, reimbursement from the USDA is $2.93 for free lunches, $2.53 for reduced lunches as well as $0.28 for paid lunches if school food authorities served less than 60% free and reduced price lunches during the second preceding school year: www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/

The USDA issued new dietary standards for meals served in our schools, with a final release instituted for the 2012- 2013 school year. With this, we also find the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act implemented an increase in funding of 6 cents per meal to the schools. Additionally we also note the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Summer Food Service Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Together, these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net:  www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/002312.

In light of the fact, this is still a work in progress. We need to continue to monitor that our children are receiving healthy meals in their schools, and that their schools are receiving adequate funding. 
January 2014
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In the Spotlight

New York State Granted Federal Waiver to Eliminate Double-Testing in Math

MathOn January 2, NYS Education Commissioner John King announced that the US Department of Education has approved New York State’s request for a waiver from the provisions of federal law that currently require students who take Regents exams in mathematics when they are in seventh or eighth grade to also take the state math assessment.

Prior to this waiver, students in seventh and eighth grade who are enrolled in Algebra I and who take the Regents Examination in Algebra I (Common Core-based) are also required to take the NYS Common Core Mathematics Test for the grade in which they are enrolled. School districts will now be allowed to administer only the Regents Examination in Algebra I (Common Core) to these students, eliminating the need for double-testing in grades seven and eight. This provision also applies to students in grades seven and eight who receive instruction in Geometry and who take the Regents Examination in Geometry.

This waiver will effectively end the “double-testing” of students, beginning with the Spring 2014 assessments. This waiver will affect nearly 60,000 students in New York State. Commissioner King stated, “The Regents, the Chancellor and I are committed to reducing the amount of time students spend on tests and eliminating any tests that don’t inform instruction or improve student learning.”

Additional information about New York State’s approved ESEA flexibility waiver, including FAQs, can be found here.
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SANDY Social Services Block Grant

Gov. Cuomo visits family affected by SandyA $200 million block grant has been awarded to healthcare and human service providers to cover unreimbursed expenses resulting from the storm: stormrecovery.ny.gov/sandy-social-services-block-grant-ssbg-funding.

The list of agencies that received the block grant can be reviewed at: stormrecovery.ny.gov/sites/default/files/documents/

Parents: Tips to Help Your Child Complete the FAFSA

FAFSAIf you’re a parent of a college-bound child, the financial aid process can seem a bit overwhelming. Who’s considered the parent? Who do you include in household size? How do assets and tax filing fit into the process? Does this have to be done every year?

Here are some common questions that parents have when helping their children prepare for and pay for college or career school: www.ed.gov/blog/2014/01/parents-tips-to-help-your-child-complete-the-fafsa-2.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

MLK Day of ServiceDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement. His birthday, January 15, is an American federal holiday, observed on the third Monday of each year. President Reagan signed the holiday onto law in 1983 and it was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000. This year it will be observed on January 20, 2014.

To observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in a special way, go to mlkday.gov.

Governor’s Resources Page for Working Families

FamilyNYS has developed a website with easy to access resources to help working families with nutrition, heat, child support, health, etc. To review all the links, go to: otda.ny.gov/workingfamilies.

LegEd Save the Date
Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2014 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

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