NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... October 2013

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

$90 Million in Funding Restored to OPWDD

Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, centerLawmakers are applauding the recovery of funding for the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities, as Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation restoring $90 million previously removed from the office's budget. The bill (A.06692-c/S.04777-d) received unanimous, bipartisan support in the Assembly, where, for the first time in history, every member co-sponsored the legislation. Click here for more information.

October is Learning Disabled Awareness Month and ADHD Awareness Month

October is Learning Disabled Awareness MonthOctober is “Learning Disabled Awareness Month” and “ADHD Awareness Month.” Many organizations are recommending that you share information with another person. It will go far in increasing the understanding of how these conditions impact the millions of Americans diagnosed with it.
October is ADHD Awareness Month

Changes to the GED Exam

GED DiplomaMany students (including those with disabilities) are not able to earn a high school diploma, and have used the GED exam as an alternative. New York State will use a new assessment called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), which will begin in January 2014. With the recent changes for diploma options from NYSED, these changes to the GED exam will impact disabled students as well. Click below for additional information:

Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying Affects Real LivesCyber bullying continues to be an important issue impacting all kids. Recently, a 12 year old Florida girl committed suicide after being bullied for over a year. The bullying took place through a number of new mobile apps: ask.fm, Kik and Voxer.

Rebecca Sedwick became the ninth teen to end her life in the past year after being terrorized by hateful comments on ask.fm. Make sure that you are having a discussion with your children, especially those with special needs. The following links might help you start a conversation:

Binge Drinking and Kids

Binge DrinkingAccording to a recent study published in the Journal of American Pediatrics, it is becoming common for high school seniors to engage in binge drinking; binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks at one time. The study shows that seniors are drinking up to 10-15 drinks at once, much more than the threshold for binge drinking: archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1738765.

The Underage Drinking and Enforcement Training Center (www.udetc.org) has many resources, including podcasts and webinars to train volunteers and parents on this very important issue impacting all of us today.

The Newest Drugs of Abuse

Bath Salts (these are not the bath salts people use in a tub) Salvia: Synthetic Marijuana (K-2,3, Spice): “Bath Salts” (Synthetic Cathinones): The combination of “Bath Salts” (these are not the bath salts people use in a tub) and “Molly” (MDMA) has killed a number of young people at recent music festivals: teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/mdma-ecstasy-or-molly.

To learn more about these drugs, go to: teens.drugabuse.gov/facts-drugs/spice-salvia-and-bath-salts.
October 2013
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In the Spotlight

Common Ground on Common Core

Common Core
Five major statewide educational organizations, including NYS PTA, representing school boards, parents, superintendents, teachers, principals, business officials and others have collaborated on a document that outlines the need to support the Common Core Learning Standards, while recognizing many of the issues that have arisen around implementation. This document presents a five-point action plan for getting New York State’s Common Core initiative back on track.

To read the entire document, visit the New York State web site at www.nyspta.org, on the home page under “News & Announcements”, or click here.
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“Advocacy is at the heart of PTA's mission and vision. Taking action provides both parents and PTA leaders with the resources to become more involved with their community at home and their community across the nation.”

Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care Act
Under the Affordable Care Act, New York State has established the New York State of Health website. The website has information and resources regarding insurance coverage. For information, go to: info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov.

The federal website regarding health insurance is: www.healthcare.gov.

School Meals and Positive Results

Healthy School Lunch Choices
The USDA has released information indicating that “When Schools Improve Meals, Positive Results Follow.”

For more information, click here.

New Guide for Healthy School Purchasing

The Coalition for Healthier Schools has developed a document entitled, “Healthy Purchasing for Healthy Schools: A Guidance Memo to Green Cleaning + Five More Product Categories to Help Make Schools Healthier.”

To review this document, plus see other resources regarding a healthier school environment, go to www.healthyschools.org.

Update of Air Quality Standards in Indoor Ice Arenas

As of January 2013, the prior legislation in both the Senate and Assembly relative to this topic and resolution included in our “Where We Stand” died in the respective health committees.

The wording was changed, and the bill now has a new identification number, S597-2013; currently there is no matching Assembly bill. If passed, this would add a new title to Article 13 of the Public Health Law. In part, we find the following recommendations for levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide:

§1389-hh defines terms used in Title 14, including “Air quality measuring device,” “Correction air level" (when CO is between 30 and 125 ppm and/or NO2 is between 0.5 and 2 ppm), “Notification air level” (when a single sample shows CO is over 60 ppm and/or NO2 is over 1 ppm, or 6 consecutive samples detect over 30 ppm of CO and/or 0.5 ppm of NO2) and “Evacuation air level” (when CO is over 125 ppm and/or NO2 is over 2 ppm).

The new bill further defines the process of certification needed by the ice arena, the role of the officer issuing the certificate, the process to follow for correction, notification and evacuation, on-site investigations and fines. Please note the corrected air level numbers for carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are within the numbers we set forth in our adopted resolution.

However, while it makes reference to particulates in the air, there are no standards listed for them, which we included in our resolution.

To see the bill in its entirety, visit: open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S597-2013

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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