Advocacy Newsbriefs is published once a month, with the exception of the month of July and November.
October Advocacy Newsbriefs
Region Highlight: Gearing up at Nassau Region
EVERY PTA leader has the potential to take action and make a difference in a child’s life.
Nassau Region PTA believes Fall is a good time of year for PTA leaders to gear up. We offer an annual workshop to unlock innovative ways to tell decision makers about the power of PTA advocacy.
EVERYDAY LEADERS: Prepare to Advocate was the theme of our Resolutions Advocacy workshop this year.
Lively, small group discussions took place on useful topics such as First Timers at Convention, How to Write a Resolution, Amending Resolution language, and more.
Working together, we explored PTA resources available to initiate action within our local PTAs. The proposed convention resolutions packet and Where We Stand, NYS PTA’s official position book, are a few examples of what we reviewed.
Before you knew it, everyone was brainstorming and creating action plans to overcome particular issues. Who knew advocacy planning and PTA resolutions could gear us up for action?
E-Cigarettes Banned from School Grounds and Added to Clean Indoor Air Act
NYS PTA advocacy was instrumental in the passage of two bills, one banning e-cigarettes from school grounds and one adding e-cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act.
We are so proud to share that Governor Cuomo has signed BOTH into law!
To get the facts about e-cigarettes, please visit the NYS Department of Health Page on e-cigarettes.
Heroin and Opioid Crisis
Senator John Brooks recently held a conference with several local leaders and organizations all fighting the opioid epidemic. The coalition called for greater public awareness of drug use prevention, symptoms and resources to combat addiction. Read Senator Brooks Press Release on the Opioid Epidemic.
Governor Cuomo recently detailed a series of aggressive actions to combat the fentanyl crisis across New York State. The Governor has promoted legislation giving law enforcement the ability to go after the dealers who manufacture and sell these drugs. He also took action to direct insurers against instituting arbitrary limits on the number of naloxone doses covered by an insurance plan.
He also announced that New York State will be receiving $19 million in federal funding to expand access to addiction services:
- $10 million for promoting integration of primary and behavioral health care;
- $5.7 Million Grant Will be Used to Expand and Enhance Medication-Assisted Treatment Programs; and
- $3.3 Million Grant Will Support Expanded Services For Pregnant and Postpartum Women Diagnosed With a Substance Use Disorder
Governor Cuomo recently signed an executive order aimed at increasing organ donation, directing the State Health Department to work with state agencies to provide additional opportunities to become an organ donor through the new Donate Life Registry.
School Vision Health Month
Need help deciding if your child’s vision is influencing their learning, check out the Children’s Vision Coalition. Additionally, the NYS Ophthalmological Society offers pediatric ophthalmology clinics, contact the clinic near you for more information.
- Albany Medical Center, Albany, 518-262-4353
- Children’s Medical Eye Consultants, Slingerlands, 518-533-6502
- Oshei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Outpatient Ophthalmology Center, Buffalo, 716-859-5437
- Western NY Ophthalmology Group, Amherst, 716-204-4516
- Columbia Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, New York, 212-305-9535
- New York-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, New York, 646-962-2020
For referrals to optometrists in your community who specialize in pediatric eye care, please contact the New York State Optometric Association.
According to an audit released by NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, many New York schools fall short when it comes to protecting students from harassment and discrimination based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
This audit examined New York state schools’ compliance with the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). DiNapoli states “The Dignity for All Students Act was created to protect students but four years later, many schools remain unsure of what to do and make serious errors in reporting incidents of harassment and bullying”.
October is Learning Disability/ADHD Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month!
October is also Bullying Prevention Month! So many kids, especially special education students, are bullied each year. Parents and educators need to become aware of the signs. Remember the end of bullying begins with each of us.
In important news, the NYS Education Department issued a memo regarding procedures for due process hearings.
Further, on October 20th, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it has rescinded 72 guidance documents regarding special education and rehabilitation services. While some areas may be outdated, it is important for parents to be aware of changes in special education.
The U.S. Department of Education has also released information to ensure continuation of critical services to students, families, and educators affected by Hurricane Harvey.
A number of certified teachers from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands may be coming to New York schools too. This week, the Board of Regents took action to allow teachers displaced by Hurricane Maria to obtain temporary nonrenewable teaching certification. Many local schools look to benefit from the bilingual tools these teachers bring.
Did you know? National Family Literacy Day is November 1st!
Celebrate with special literacy activities and events that showcase and prioritize reading as a family affair.
An Update on the NYS Every Students Succeeds Plan
In September, the NYS Education Department submitted New York’s ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education.
Take time at PTA meetings to review the plan, as it will impact your school once approved, and share the new ESSA Fact Sheets for Parents, Educators and School Board Members.
The State Education Department also submitted three waivers to the ESSA law, which NYS PTA fully supported:
- eliminate double testing of grade 7 and 8 students who are in accelerated Math and Science;
- substitute the NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test results for English Learners; and
- enable some special education students to be tested on cognitive ability, not age level.
A meaningful diploma for every child continues to be a priority of NYS PTA.
At the October Regents Meeting, regulations were proposed to provide an additional pathway to earn a New York State high school equivalency diploma by allowing individuals to use passing scores on certain Regents exams in place of the corresponding Test Assessing Secondary Completion subtests. A 45-day public comment period on the proposed amendment will be held from November 1 through December 18.
November Awareness Events
November 13-19 – Get Smart about Antibiotics Week
November 14 – World Diabetes Day
November 15 – America Recycles Day
November 16 – Great American Smokeout
November 18 – International Survivors of Suicide Day
Week before Thanksgiving – American Education Week
Thanksgiving Day – National Family Health History Day
November 31-January 1 – Tie One On for Safety Campaign
2017 Past Editions