Advocacy Newsbriefs is published once a month, with the exception of the month of July and November.
December 2017 Advocacy Newsbriefs
NYS PTA Legislative Summit
NYS PTA Legislative Summit and Lobby Day is scheduled for February 11-12 in Albany, NY.
This new and exciting format invites all attendees to get the latest information on NYS PTA’s advocacy positions and training on how to lobby. This Lobby Day at the Capitol is going to be very exciting as we meet with key legislators and Lead The Way to Advocate Today.
Look for registration information in your coming NYS PTA Connection.
Advocacy in Action – Supporting Our Kids
$2.0 billion for School Aid Needed
- $2.0 billion increase for state aid for 2018-19 – $1.5 billion increase for current services and $500 million for: (1) supporting struggling schools, (2) professional development, (3) increased supports for English language learners, (4) college and career pathway expansion and support, and (5) targeted funds for districts with enrollment growth;
- Investments and support for family engagement programs statewide;
- An update to the Foundation Aid formula to account for poverty, disability, enrollment growth, English language learners, geographic sparsity and other factors;
- Common sense modifications to the tax cap;
- Continued investments in heroin and opioid use prevention and treatment, and expansion of recovery high school programs statewide;
- Continued support for lead testing in schools and communities; and
- The prohibition of the advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth.
Education Conference Board (ECB) also submitted its budget priorities – read here in detail.
Concern Over Medicaid Cuts
ECB also issued a Medicaid Fact Sheet, and offered great concern over potential cuts to Medicaid. Medicaid dollars fund programs and services for students in schools, such as school-based health centers, and services for students with disabilities. Read more here.
Opposition to the Federal Tax Reform Legislation
ECB and NYS PTA came out in opposition to the current versions of the federal tax reform legislation that the House and Senate are working on. The proposed changes to the current State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) in both one-house tax reform bills would be devastating for public education in our state.
Region Advocacy Events
Join Nassau Region PTA’s advocacy efforts & attend LEGCON2018! This informative & interactive Legislation Conference will be held March 3, 2018. Go to nassaupta.org for more info.
New York State Sues EPA: Governor Cuomo, together with New York Attorney General Schneiderman, filed to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the federal Clean Air Act by failing to curb ground-level ozone, or smog, pollution that blows into New York from upwind states. New York is asking that EPA require sources in five states: Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, do their fair share to address pollution impacting New York. The EPA’s own studies demonstrate that pollution from states upwind of New York contributes substantially to the state’s dangerous smog problem. Some analysis states two in three New Yorkers (approximately 12.7 million people) breathe air with unhealthy levels of smog pollution.
Codeine Warning for Children: The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently reported that despite warnings from the FDA, some children are still being prescribed codeine. Approximately 5% of children were prescribed codeine after a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy according to a new study, despite federal safety warnings. This practice has been called an “unnecessary gamble” by researchers that can lead to respiratory depression for some and may not relieve their pain.
After-School Funding Available: Governor Cuomo has announced $35 million in funding available for high-need school districts across New York to establish quality after-school programs. This investment will support increased enrollment in after-school programs by 36 percent. The governor states “with this funding, we will further level the playing field for children in underserved cities across New York by expanding their access to programs and community resources that will help them get ahead and help create a stronger, fairer Empire State for all.”
Suicide Prevention Task Force: Governor Cuomo announced the formation of the NYS Suicide Prevention Task Force that includes leaders from state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit groups, and other recognized experts in suicide prevention. This task force will focus on prevention in high-risk groups including adolescents, veterans and LGBT community, to build awareness of and access to supportive services. The governor states, “the rise in the number of suicides nationwide is unacceptable, and New York will continue to make suicide awareness and prevention a top priority until we put an end to this epidemic. The Suicide Prevention Task Force will focus on high-risk communities and groups to build on our efforts to address this challenge, and help build a stronger, healthier New York for all.”
HEAP Assistance: Starting on November 13, Governor Cuomo announced that applications for home heating assistance will be accepted throughout NYS. The Home Energy Assistance Program is making $327 million in federal funding available to eligible older New Yorkers and low, and moderate income New Yorkers to help cover heating costs. The governor states “by securing this federal funding, residents across the state will no longer be forced to choose between buying food for their loved ones or paying their heating bill. I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to apply for this assistance in order to stay warm this winter season.”
More Graduation Options for Students! In a huge win for parents and students, the NYS Board of Regents on Monday issued a new draft regulation that would allow the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential to be used to seek a superintendent determination for graduation for many of our students with disabilities.
NYS PTA is highly pleased that the State Education Department has recognized that we need more and different pathways to graduations and success for our students, read our comments here.
“This is a great step forward to ensuring each and every child receives a meaningful diploma option that leads to a successful career or college experience,” Gracemarie Rozea, President of NYS PTA, offered.
NYS PTA will comment in favor of this regulation, and hopes that the final regulation and future work on this issue continues to support children. You can read the full draft regulation here.
It is important that all stakeholders make their feelings known. Public comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through February 12, 2018 and can be submitted by email to REGCOMMENTS@nysed.gov (link sends e-mail).
Supreme Court Decision FAPE: US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released a Question and Answer document regarding the US Supreme Court decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1. This was created to clarify the scope of the free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
NYSED Commissioner Newsletter: The Commissioner of Education releases a newsletter that is designed to provide parents with information, updates, etc. Parents need to sign up and the newsletter is sent to their inbox.
Child Development Tip Sheet: The NYS Office of Mental Health has some family tip sheets that provide families with tips about child development in a variety of areas. Additional information can be found at https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/childservice/bright_futures.html
The December NYS Board of Regents actions:
- The Board of Regents finalized their legislation priorities and budget request for the 2018 legislative session. Commissioner Elia video highlights priorities and can easily be shared via social media or at a PTA meeting.
- Early Childhood Blue Ribbon Committee with experts presented a comprehensive plan to increase funding and program supports for early learners (from birth through age 8) by expanding Preschool access in 40 highest need districts as a means to improve readiness and school success, through streamlined funding and high quality program supports. Investment in establishing five Early Learning Regional Technical Assistance Centers for social emotional and learning and development supports, pre-service early learning training, and deeper research on full day Kindergarten access were also part of this presentation and budget agenda. For advocacy you can share the brochure and meeting video.
- 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSELs) replaces the 2008 Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards as of the December Regents meeting. Here is a summary of the adoption. A standard setting panel for edTPA passing score will establish criteria for edTPA multiple measure, scheduled to be in place by June 2018, will replace the edTPA safety net regulations. Here are Committee recommendations and process.
January Awareness Events
- National Birth Defects Prevention Month
- National Blood Donor Month
- Healthy Weight Week (Third week in month)
- King Day of Service (January 15)
- National Drug Facts Week (January 22-28)
2017 Past Editions