Issues: Education

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on New Teacher Evaluation System

“Rushing to implement a new teacher evaluation system would be misguided. We’ve been down this road before and we’ve seen where faulty and fast implementation of poorly conceived education changes leads. Demonizing teachers, over-testing students and rushing major reforms will not improve our education system, it will only cause more problems. Delaying the implementation of this new teacher evaluation system is the minimum step that should be taken.”

BACKGROUND:

April 23, 2015
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Submit Your Comments to the State Education Department

Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo attempted to enact far-reaching educational reforms as part of the 2015-2016 New York State budget. 

My Senate colleagues and I, very early on in this year's budget adoption process, rejected the broad scope of the original Cuomo education reform plan and, in particular, the plan's over-reliance on testing.

April 22, 2015
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Teacher Evaluation Comment Period Now Open

Dear Neighbor,

 

Recently, I helped to pass my first Budget as State Senator for the 55th District, one that includes important provisions to create jobs, control taxes, clean-up Albany, and invest in our community. Yet most of the public discussion has been dominated by one issue: Education.

April 21, 2015
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Queens pols urging gay conversion ban

As reported by Queens Chronicle:

With President Obama’s office’s recent declaration that “gay conversion therapy” — or psychiatric practices geared toward “curing” lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth — should be banned in states, New York legislators are calling for the passing of a bill that would prohibit the procedures.

Last Thursday, state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) reignited the call to pass Senate bill 4917, which would prohibit mental health professionals from partaking in any effort to change a minor’s sexual orientation.

For full article, click here.

April 21, 2015
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Applying pressure on Cuomo to DREAM

As reported by Queens Chronicle:

The dream isn’t over, yet.

After Gov. Cuomo dropped the DREAM Act from the state budget last month, sponsor state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) is pushing for it to be passed in June, whether his name is on it or not.

Peralta, who has made it clear over recent months that the bill — which would grant college financial aid to qualifying unauthorized immigrants and faces the challenge of passing the Republican-controlled Senate — said in a sit-down interview with the Queens Chronicle that supporters are calling for Cuomo to make it a program bill.

For full article, click here.

April 21, 2015
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The New Gates Public Library Early Learning Center

It was an exciting day at the Gates Public Library yesterday as we cut the ribbon on the new Early Learning Center. I was proud to secure a $15,000 grant to help transform this unoccupied space in the library into a fun area for children to learn and play. I am certain this will be a popular addition to the Gates Public Library!

Click here for more pictures from the new Early Learning Center!

April 21, 2015
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LIBRARIES: THEY’RE MORE THAN WHAT’S ON THE SHELF

Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column 

April 20, 2015
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NYS Education Department Taking Public Comment on New Teacher Evaluation Standards

I have been notified that the public comment period on the proposed changes to the Annual Professional Performance Review for teachers has been opened. Public comment on the pending evaluation regulations should be sent to Eval2015@nysed.gov this is your opportunity to let the Board of Regents know your thoughts and concerns. I encourage you to make constructive comments and help make the system better for everyone especially the children.

April 17, 2015
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BROOKLYN ELECTEDS STATEMENT ON PS 8 SCHOOL ZONE OVERCROWDING

BROOKLYN – Today, State Senator Squadron, Councilmember Levin, and Assemblymember Simon released the following joint statement regarding PS 8 school zone overcrowding:

April 16, 2015
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Senator Hamilton, Assembly Member Simon and Panelists at High Stakes Testing Forum

Forum brought together principals, teachers, parents, and education advocates for community dialogue

Brooklyn, NY – Senator Hamilton, Assembly Member Simon, and Council Member Lander co-hosted a forum Wednesday, April 15th, at the Old First Reformed Church.

April 16, 2015
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Education Update ~ NYS Education Department taking public comment on new teacher evaluation standards ~ Read more Updates

The future of education is clearly at a crossroads in New York State. 

That's why this update is so important.

The current level of anger, frustration and even outrage that's currently driving these critically important decisions isn't working. It's not working for students and families, number one. And it's not positive, by any measure, for local school districts.

April 16, 2015
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Parents of PS 143 Students Attending Classes in Trailers Push for School Addition

As reported by NY1:

Some parents in Corona say they are fed up with their children being forced to attend classes in trailers.

Dozens of parents gathered in front of PS 143 on Tuesday in support of a plan to build an addition to the school.

State Senator Jose Peralta is proposing building the addition next to the existing school on land owned by the City Parks Department.

For full article, click here.

April 16, 2015
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Pols Push City to Expand Corona School Where Hundreds Learn in Trailers

As reported by DNAinfo:

CORONA — Parents and elected officials are pushing for the expansion of an overcrowded neighborhood elementary school which is nearly double its capacity and where hundreds of students are being forced to learn out of trailers.

Dozens of parents and students joined state Sen. Jose Peralta Tuesday at P.S. 143 to demand the city build a permanent extension to the elementary school, at 34-74 113th St.

For full article, click here.

April 16, 2015
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Parents call for permanent annex at Corona’s P.S. 143 to alleviate overcrowding

As reported by the Queens Courier:

Parents at one Corona school are saying enough is enough and are calling on officials to give their children more room to succeed.

Over a hundred parents and children gathered on Tuesday morning with state Senator Jose Peralta outside of P.S. 143, The Louis Armstrong Elementary School, located at 34-74 113th St., to propose the building of a permanent addition to the school to help alleviate the chronic overcrowding.

According to Peralta, the Corona elementary school was originally built to accommodate 900 students, yet currently there are about 1,800 students enrolled at the site. This causes some children to have lunch at 9:50 a.m. and a large number of students have to take their classes outside of the school’s building.

For full article, click here.

April 16, 2015
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Hundreds Of Parents Call For PS 143 Annex

As reported by the Queens Tribune:

About 150 parents lined the asphalt outside Louis Armstrong elementary school on Tuesday to join State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) in calling for a permanent addition to the severely overcrowded school.

According to Peralta, the school – PS 143 in Corona – operates at double the capacity the original building was constructed to hold. He said that about 700 are in extra classroom space, with around 250 more at an annex on 37th Avenue that neighbors PS 19, which is slated to see its own decades-old trailers replaced by a new permanent addition.

For full article, click here.

April 16, 2015
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STATE SENATOR JEFF KLEIN ANNOUNCES $18,000 IN PROJECT BOOST FUNDS FOR COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE FOR MATH & SCIENCE

New Funding Boosts Local High School’s Enrichment Opportunities for Hundreds of Students

BRONX, NY - State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), joined by more than 100 school administrators, parents and students announced $18,000 in Project BOOST (Building Options and Opportunities for Students) funding for the Collegiate Institute for Math and Science on Wednesday, April 15th in the Bronx. The announcement came at the school’s annual spring art show.

April 16, 2015
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Murphy announces public comment period on teacher evals, reducing testing

YORKTOWN, NY - One lawmaker feels that both opponents and supporters of data-driven instruction deserve the chance to be heard by policy-makers as they implement new regulations on teacher evaluations. State Senator Terrence P. Murphy, author of the Parental Refusal Act in the State Senate, today said people have the opportunity to be heard during a newly-announced public comment period called for under the recently passed state budget.

April 15, 2015
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Education Update

Many of you have contacted me to express your concern regarding the education policies adopted in the 2015-16 New York State Budget.  As someone who shares a passionate belief in our teachers and our schools, and a deep personal and professional commitment to our children's future, I greatly appreciate the time and effort that many of you have taken to communicate your views about this important issue.

 

April 15, 2015
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CHECK IT OUT! AREA READERS ‘LOVE OUR LIBRARIES’

Fulton Named Tops Among Local Libraries; 55 Librarians Named Best

Fulton Public Library in Oswego County was selected as the favorite among 43 local libraries that gained votes—and 55 local librarians won rave reviews—in an online poll conducted by Senator Patty Ritchie to mark National Library Week, April 12- 18.

More than 200 votes were cast for the region’s best libraries and most outstanding librarians. 

“Today, libraries are so much more than books, they are centers of our communities where people have endless opportunities to expand their horizons, learn and grow,” said Senator Ritchie.

April 15, 2015
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Senator Jose Peralta proposes the construction of a permanent addition to PS 143 to alleviate chronic overcrowding

State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), joined by about 100 parents, today proposed to build a permanent addition to Corona’s Public School 143, The Louis Armstrong Elementary School, to alleviate the chronic overcrowding at the facility. The new annex would replace the current mini-building and the six temporary classroom units (trailers).

“No child should be educated in a trailer,” Senator Peralta said. “Especially in 21st Century New York City, to have kids learning in trailers is just unthinkable and it must stop.”

Senator Peralta noted the area where the building would be constructed belongs to the Parks and Recreation Department. Senator Peralta has continually reached out to Parks, the Department of Education and the School Construction Authority starting two years ago asking the city agencies to work together and consider his proposal.

In response to the proposal, then Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm wrote: “We agree that one potential solution to the overcrowding at P.S. 143 would be to build a permanent addition on site where the mini-building and temporary classroom units (TCUs) are currently located. As you are aware, that land is owned by the Parks Department.”

Last April, in relation to the proposal to build a permanent addition to PS 143, the Parks Department wrote to Senator Peralta and said, “my staff has been in discussions with the School Construction Authority regarding the proposed school expansion that would result in the permanent elimination of a portion of a jointly-operated playground.” The Department added, “Parks and the SCA agreed to work together to address the open space requirements for the school and surrounding community should a permanent school annex be constructed.”

“As of today, there has been no response to the proposal and obviously no action has been taken,” Senator Peralta lamented. “I understand the need for recreational area, but PS 143 is atypical to schools in my community in that there is a good deal of open and recreational space on its grounds and immediately nearby.”

PS 143 was built for about 900 students, and today enrolls about 1,800. Because of this acute overcrowding, the first lunch period begins at 9.50 a.m.

“We, as parents, support Senator Peralta’s proposal. And if the new building becomes a reality, I am sure the academic achievements of our kids will improve because there would be less students per classroom,” said Angelica Salgado, mother of a first and third graders at PS 143 and president of the Parent-Teacher Association. “We need this annex. Our kids deserve better.”

“Our children deserve better,” Senator Peralta, member of the New York Senate Committee on Education, said. “I will not rest until there is a seat for every child. That is the least I can do to ensure that our kids are educated in a decent environment and not in run-down trailers. Good intentions are fine, but time has come to act. And again, I hope the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority and the Parks Department go beyond good words and make the proposal to build a permanent addition to PS 143 real.”

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April 14, 2015
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