NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... January 15, 2013

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

“Putting Students First”: Education Reform Commission Report Released

Richard Parsons, Chair of the NY Education Reform Commission, released a 92-page Preliminary Action Plan entitled “Putting Students First,” which puts forth a central goal of improving the “education pipeline” in New York State. Among the recommendations are:
  • full day pre-K programs in highest-needs districts
  • increases in length and number of school days
  • expanded technical training to enhance the connection of high school, college and careers
A final Action Plan is expected in September 2013.

Click to view the entire report here.

Families Together in New York to Hold Legislative Awareness Day

Families Together in New York (FTNY) is a non-profit organization that provides information, services and support to families of children and youth with social, emotional and behavioral challenges. On February 12, FTNY will hold its 2013 State Legislative Awareness Day in Albany at the Convention Center, Empire State Plaza. For details, click here.

School is a Family Activity

February 18-22 is National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week. For the first time, this event will have a theme, “Safety at Home and at Play.”

NPTA is also making toolkits available with tips to help groups conduct events and activities for Take Your Family to School Week and resources to raise awareness of the greatest safety risks and ways to achieve safer behaviors.

NPTA is also offering 100 grants of $500 each to local PTAs as a way to encourage and recognize engagement of families in their schools. For details, click here.

New Health Laws in Effect for 2013

New Protections for Domestic Violence Victims (S7638) – A law designed to protect victims’ health care and insurance information. As of the first of the year, victims of domestic violence who seek medical and/or mental health services and use their health insurance to pay for them can designate alternative contact information so they may receive health insurance correspondence in a safe location of their own choosing.

Ban on Electronic Cigarettes for Minors (S2926B) – A law prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to youth under the age of 18.

Student Health Care (S7314A) – A law that allows eligible private and public colleges and universities in New York State to self-insure for their students’ health insurance needs. A college or university that self-insures can design its own plan to best serve students and reduce administrative costs.

For more information, click here.

2012 in Review

The US Health and Human Services Agency has developed a brief Year in Review Video. It includes information on the Affordable Care Act and response to Hurricane Sandy.

The EPA Works to Help NYS

The EPA has awarded $25,000 to the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York to work with people in Buffalo to reduce air pollution and to support local air sampling.

The EPA has awarded nearly $25,000 to the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater to improve water quality in Peekskill, NY.

The EPA Environmental Justice Grant will help train Syracuse residents about how to reduce asthma attacks and protect against lead poising.

Resolve to Win a 2013 AF&PA Recycling Award!

Any business, school or community paper recycling program could win a 2013 American Forest & Paper Association Recycling Award. The rewards are a cash prize, local and national visibility, a feature on the paperrecycles.org website, and bragging rights for your successful paper recovery efforts. Schools have the opportunity to submit students' artwork related to recycling, the best of which will appear in future AF&PA promotions and educational materials.

Award criteria, deadlines and entry forms are available on paperrecycles.org, along with paper recovery statistics, classroom resources, and case studies of previous award-winning programs. The deadline for award entries is February 15, 2013.
January 15, 2013
In the Spotlight

Special Education Update

There has been a lot of negative publicity about autism since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Many people who have been diagnosed with a developmental disability live productive lives.

On January 12, 2013, Alexis Wineman competed in the Miss America pageant as Miss Montana. She was also diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD-NOS), including borderline Asperger’s syndrome/autism spectrum disorder at the age of 11. Her platform is “Normal is Just a Dryer Setting, Living with Autism.” To read more about this remarkable young lady, click here.

According to experts, there is no link between autism/Asperger’s syndrome and violent behavior. Information is power. The more people know, the less they will rush to judgment. Here are some links for additional information about Autism spectrum disorders:
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Whither New York State?

Governor Cuomo 2013 State of the State AddressOn January 10, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered his State of the State address for 2013.

The speech laid out an ambitious program of education initiatives for 2013-14; many  called for in the NY Education Reform Commission’s preliminary report:
  • community schools to address whole child/family needs
  • high-quality pre-school programs in high need districts
  • grants for districts to extend school days
  • higher standards for aspiring teachers
Funding for these programs will remain a mystery until the governor presents his proposed state budget later this month.

For more information, to watch the full speech, or to download the complete text of his address, visit Governor Cuomo's website.

Governor’s Resources Page for Working Families

The NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has developed a resource page for working families that offers information on nutrition programs, home energy assistance, health programs, financial assistance, and housing. For more information, click here.

New Year, Fresh Opportunities

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month (www.nbdpn.org or www.marchofdimes.com) and National Blood Donor Month.

Just in time for holiday recovery is Healthy Weight Week, January 20-26.

January 21, Martin Luther King Day and Inauguration Day, is also the annual MLK Day of Service, part of the larger United We Serve initiative, a national call to community service.
Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2013 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

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