NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... November 2014

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

In This Issue

In the Spotlight
In the Spotlight...
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Right Column:

Reducing School Violence

Reducing School Violence
We mourn the death of three more youths due to gun violence, this time in Marysville, Washington.

Taken from our Wellness Toolkit, we find three great resources on what we can do as far as prevention: The following resolutions and links show where we stand on firearms:

NYS PTA Resolutions
  • GUN POSSESSION BY MINORS – 2008 (U-’01, R-’94, U-’87)
National PTA Position Statements

Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health, Which is Why Mental Health Wellness Week is Recognized in November

Mental illness and suicide
A recent study released in the Journal of Psychiatric Services highlighted how difficult it is to make an appointment with a psychiatrist.

Researchers were only able to make an appointment about 25% of the time, regardless of the insurance they had and even when they intended to pay out of pocket. This is very alarming that people may not be able to get the help that they need.

Mental illness and suicide have impacted many families in our country. Special Education students are often at risk.

Help prevent suicide
According to the CDC, in 2009, suicide was ranked as the 10th leading cause of death among people ages 10 years and older, accounting for 36,891 deaths. It is important for people to reach out if they need help.

Below are links to additional information:

Addressing Students with Disabilities and Bullying

Disabilities and Bullying
The US Department of Education has issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to remind educators of their obligations to ensure that students with disabilities are not subject to bullying.

The whole document can be found by clicking here.

Tougher Texting-While-Driving Laws in Effect

No texting while driving
A new law meant to crack down on texting-while-driving is going into effect across the state.

New and young drivers will face tougher penalties if they are convicted of texting-while-driving.

Click here for more information.

Governor Cuomo Signs Bills Expanding Access to Emergency Medical Treatment in Schools

Student with inhaler
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation that will expand access to potentially lifesaving medication for students and school personnel in the event of an emergency.

The new laws include provisions that will allow schools to administer epi-pens to students without prescriptions in emergency situations, and that will allow students diagnosed with asthma, allergies and/or diabetes to self-administer prescribed medical treatments.

Click here to read the full article.

Wellness Toolkit and Advocacy Positions

Wellness Toolkit
Don’t forget to check the NYS PTA Wellness Toolkit and Calendar to learn more about wellness advocacy and resources.

Health Insurance Marketplace

Insurance Coverage
To stay covered with health insurance for 2015 under the Affordable Care Act, it is important that you follow these five steps during open enrollment:
  1. Review your current plan’s 2015 health coverage and costs.
  2. Update your Marketplace application, starting November 15.
  3. Compare the health plans available to you in 2015.
  4. Choose the plan that best meets your needs.
  5. Enroll in the health plan you want for 2015 coverage by December 15, 2014.
For more information, click here.


November 2014
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In the Spotlight

‘Multiple Pathways’ for High School Graduation

At a recent meeting, the Board of Regents approved ‘Multiple Pathways’ for high school graduation.
Part of the meeting included what can be done to assist English Language Learners achieve their diploma.

In the course of the discussion, we need to make sure that students with disabilities are guaranteed a diploma that is not only a reflection of their hard work, but will offer them the same opportunities.

Click here to read more.

Click here for ECB Position Paper entitled “New York students deserve a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway to high school graduation”.

ECB State Aid Proposal

The Educational Conference Board workgroup on finance released its 2014-15 State Aid proposal last week, following a November 13 press conference.

The proposal, titled “Turning the Corner”, calls for the addition of $1.9 billion in state aid. $1.2 billion of this amount would be required to fund ongoing programs, with an additional $700 million proposed to fund new initiatives.

New or expanded initiatives, which Conference board members believe can be funded through projected state surpluses and penalty settlements with Wall Street banks, include:
  • Accelerating both the phase-out of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and the phase in of additional foundation aid,
  • Professional Development for educators to successfully meet the challenges of essential educational reforms,
  • Planned investments to open new pathways to HS graduation in areas including Career and Technical education, humanities, the arts and languages,
  • Streamlining prekindergarten and early childhood in grades k through 2,
  • Assisting districts with populations of English Language Learners, including the recent influx of unaccompanied minors, and
  • Reimbursing school districts for valid but unpaid prior year aid claims.
Click here for ECB Proposal entitled “Turning the corner: With an improved fiscal condition, New York can lead the way for sustainable educational progress”.

Drug Facts Week

Drug facts week
National Drug Facts Week will take place January 26-February 1, 2015. Now is the time to start planning programs and advocacy.

For resources, visit NIDA for Teens.

To order free materials, click here.

Every Child in Focus

American Indian family
National PTA's Every Child in Focus is a campaign to strengthen family engagement in schools by celebrating the achievements and reporting the disparities within diverse populations, and sharing resources and advocacy tools to help understand the needs of every child.

November is the month of the American Indian Child.

Additional information about this population can be found here.

IDEA Full Funding Act

IDEA Funding
Senator Harkin (D-IA) has introduced legislation that attempts to support high quality education for children with disabilities.

One of the bills, IDEA Full Funding Act (S2789), will provide full Federal funding to IDEA, instead of the current 15.3% that is funded. More can be learned at: govtrack.us.

This is also a great site which allows people to follow not only specific legislation, but their individual elected officials.

Media and Young Children

Screen time for kids
Today, children and families are being exposed to technology in ways that were not available 10 years ago. More and more young children are exposed to “screen-time”.

Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families has designed three new research-based resources to help parents make thoughtful, informed decisions about the content and context of what their children are exposed to.

Click here to read about key findings of their research and specific strategies to help you make the most out of screen-time for the whole family.

FAFSA Completion Challenge

FAFSA challenge
Attention High School Parents: First Lady Michelle Obama is urging all high schools to increase the number of students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Each year, over $134 billion in loans, grants and work study programs are awarded to college students to help cover the cost of college.

DC Ebola Guidance

Ebola Safety Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control has launched an Ebola Guidance page. It is important that PTAs work along with school districts to address fear and stigma issues regarding Ebola.

To review the joint document between the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Education Department regarding Ebola, click here.
The NYS Health Department also has information here.
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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