State of Education: NYSSBA conducts poll with school board members
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Recently the New York State School Boards Association did a poll with school board members. The question: what will have the greatest impact for the new school year? Coming in at 45 percent, common core standards. The goal is to shift the approach to where students become more proficient. For example, take the English language arts.
NYS School Boards Association Executive Director Tim Kremer said, "Instead of just grammar and vocabulary, perhaps, there's going to be a real emphasis, the way it's going to be taught is focusing on literacy, knowledge of the subject matter."
And understanding the underlining themes within the writing. The same goes for the math side of things.
Kremer said, "And really the real key here I think is going to be application, the idea of being able to see the link between these concepts I'm learning in math and how they apply to real world examples."
Then there's teacher-principal evaluations. The real challenge is negotiating the agreements and submitting them to the state Education Department for approval. Right now, only about 300 districts have done this, and far less have been approved.
Kremer said, "But the state Education Department has approved some, and now they've identified some that are models, and so hopefully as they put those out and tell other school districts, take a look at these, these are some things you might want to embrace."
Also coming in with the poll, the Dignity For All Schools Act, also known as school bullying prevention. There are additional guidelines this year.
Kremer said, " You can no longer bully someone based on their ethnicity, their weight, their religion, what gender they are or what they practice."
This will also be built into the code of conduct for each school district, and there will be an actual coordinator to oversee this . But to do all this, it also costs money. Some districts have stated for every dollar they receive from the federal government, they're spending ten locally.
Kremer said, "So there is a real concern of whether or not we can do this using local resources and not having to make cuts in other things such as laying people off, electives, extracurricular and things of that nature."
Despite the fiscal pressures, the main focus is student achievement and a safe school environment.