Thursday, January 29, 2015

Moral Challenges to Teachers Under the Current High-Stakes Test Regime; Noble Moral Resisters Among Educators of Our Era & "I have read you this because I have to..."

'I have read you this because I have to. What you make of it is between you and your conscience.'*

We are living in troublesome times. We public educators are expected to blindly follow orders, orders that many of us often feel uncomfortable carrying out: imposing inappropriate curricula such as much many parts of the Common Core --that cause great anxiety in children, institutionalize New Criticism-- and abetting in the over-emphasis on inordinately high-stakes tests over enriching learning.

So, on the anniversary of the passing of a radical educator whose lessons often carried profound moral questions and who suggested that we regularly check the morality of our actions, particularly those done in the name of the government, we can express great reverence for educators that carry their moral conscience forth in advocating resistance to inappropriate high-stakes tests.

Kudos to the teachers of the International High School in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, from In These Times:

On May Day 2014, a group of teachers at the International High School at Prospect Heights (IHSPH) in Brooklyn stood outside their school building and informed gathered reporters that they would not be administering the New York City English Language Arts (ELA) Performance Assessment Exam scheduled to take place that day. The test, which is part of a new teacher evaluation system imposed by the state last year, exists solely to rate teacher performance; unlike, for example the Regents Exam, which dates back to 1866 and determines whether students graduate. Thirty people—nearly all of the teachers and staff at the small public school—signed a statement declaring they would not participate.

Kudos to the teachers, of the Caucus of Education Workers in Philadelphia, this month that are under fire for resisting high-stakes tests, from PhillyMag:

Teachers at a Philadelphia school say they face discipline from the school district for helping parents opt their children out of standardized tests.
Kelley Collings, a teacher at Feltonville School of Arts & Sciences, said Monday she is one of a half-dozen teachers called to an “investigatory conference” on the matter, scheduled for Thursday. Collings is also on the steering committee of the Caucus of Working Educators, which helped organize the effort to help students and their families opt out of the tests.
Officials at the Philadelphia School District did not respond to inquiries on the topic.

Kudos to the supporters of the New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) resolution proposed for adoption by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), in support of the "I Refuse Movement [the opt-out movement]":
Particularly relevant to this blogpost are these lines:

RESOLVED, that NYSUT will lobby the NYS Board of Education to eliminate the use of high stakes testing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that NYSUT will ask that all of its members have their own children refuse to take the Grade 3-8 assessments: and be it further  

RESOLVED, that NYSUT will organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to high stakes testing . . . .

And special kudos to Carole Burris and the other principals and superintendents, who also at some risk, have considered their conscience and have spoken out against unjust, inappropriate educational policies.

     *          *           *
Hans and Sophie Scholl, of the White Rose movement

*Here is the full context and reference, to a German army officer in World War II, expressing moral conscience in suggesting resistance to an immoral directive. Of course, today we are not speaking of genocidal fascism; but the current posture of aggressive education reform-promoting public officials and schools supervisors down the ranks, is to insist on blind obedience.  Is it not very uncomfortable that we have lived with anxiety and disgust at supposedly civilized countries that had many that did terrible deeds, with the excuse that they were following orders? How hard it will be to resist when the deeds we are expect to commit become more noxious, and we cannot resist complying, because we have been conditioned to not question authority and to only critique in private?

"The company commander read us the [commissar] order that evening [mandating the summary execution of any captured Soviet commissar of the Red Army], saying he was duty-bound to do so. And then he said something more. And I remember it well, because we all felt it showed great courage. He said,

'I have read you this because I have to. What you make of it is between you and your conscience.'

We thought this was a great, really clear statement against an order. And we had great respect for our company commander after saying something like that."

-- “WW2 Documentary The Wehrmacht 3/5 The Crimes” by the Documentary Movie Channel, on the German Army in World War II

We must do better than be a nation of public servants that are just following orders. May there be more teachers as those cited teachers from Brooklyn and Philadelphia.

Monday, January 26, 2015

What is To Be Done About Cuomo's War on Teachers; the Frankenstein from Mulgrew's WFP endorsement gambit; Unity-UFT's Anemic Mobilization vs. Cuomo's War

Cuomo is at war with teachers; disingenuous is that Mulgrew is mobilizing versus him; their friendship lurks recent -- Once again, Weingarten looks a little better

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared war on the Teachers of New York State.
This much is apparent from his statements at the opening of the 2015 political year.

And the New York Times has clearly recognized it with: "Cuomo’s Education Agenda Sets Battle Lines With Teachers’ Unions"

And to their credit the New York Times has stood up for reason for teachers in an editorial with integrity.

"The Central Crisis in New York Education"
[Postscript revision: the New York Times has challenged Cuomo's contention that the state's schools are in a particularly dire situation: "Cuomo Cites School Crisis in New York; Data Suggest Otherwise."

But Cuomo's latest salvo is only a recent chapter. For, Cuomo has long been at war with teachers. Since 2010 Cuomo has stipulated tough teacher evaluations, Annual Professional Performance Reviews (granted, it does make sense that teachers get annual professional reviews, but teacher had them previously, and the new regimen saddles cash-strapped districts with heavy costs, as this post discussed in 2013, citing this study).

Also, in 2010, and without seeing the full Common Core standards, Cuomo, with NYSED Commissioner David Steiner and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch ALONG WITH UFT PRESIDENT MICHAEL MULGREW accepted the Common Core State Standards. All of this was reported in 2013 with links at this blog in  "How Mulgrew's Responsible for Disastrous NYC Teachers' Evaluation; Gender & the Weingarten Comparisons."

It is the height of hypocrisy for Mulgrew to protest Cuomo's chicanery when he participated with Cuomo's attacks on teachers. Furthermore, as reported here last year, Mulgrew paid a five digit sum just a year ago for a table at a Cuomo fundraiser.
Mulgrew and the United Federation of Teachers leadership, in a historically cynical move, bullied the Working Families Party last May. Mulgrew and others threatened to defund the WFP if it did not endorse Cuomo. As he pushed through the WFP endorsement of Cuomo, Mulgrew gave "progressive" sheen to Cuomo in the eyes of many impressionable voters. Well, thanks a lot, Michael! Don't tell us that you did not see this coming. Read these essential posts at Perdido Street School on May 30, and May 31, 2014 for details of this fiasco.

And Mulgrew's response to this formidable attack? An anemic "emergency Delegate Assembly" this Wednesday at UFT headquarters and a stone-ages simple website.

Randi Weingarten -2005 sellout contract and all, looks more like the militant as she held a mass rally at Madison Square Garden. Just months later there was even, in many quarters of the union, talk of a strike authorization vote.

Instead of elite level caucusing at Wednesday's emergency DA, away from the rank and file, at the UFT headquarters, there should be a thorough education campaign at the school level of:
*how poverty impacts education performance
*how Common Core distorts proper teaching
*how Danielson demeans the teaching profession
*how poverty + Cuomo's new 50% high stakes test performance hurdle + Danielson-informed APPR potentially dooms the careers of thousands of teachers
*how Cuomo failed to give New York City Schools the Campaign for Fiscal Equity $5.9 billion that they are due and he promised in his WFP endorsement deal with Mulgrew and other union leaders

This campaign should be done with school level organizing, before school hours sidewalk pitches, regular community outreach, selectively door-to-door and at houses of worship, mass rallies at public squares, thorough social media usage and threats of work to rule.

Then, and only then, could Mulgrew begin to undo the damage of his political courtship of Cuomo.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

ALL Babies Walking By Six Months Old… A Satire on the Common Core Charade.

[copied from DivineSparksIgnites 
 -- On a serious note read my "Common Core and the Gates Education Commercialization Complex" from August, 2013.]

“A Lie cannot live.” – Dr. Martin Luther King
Babies Walking

Race To The Stadium (RTTS) established
A group of professional sports team owners and product sponsors decided the United States was losing ground globally in producing high quality athletes…. so they met with The President and the National Secretary of the Department of Sports to convince them to set new athletic policies. Soon after, the new RTTS (Race To The Stadium) was established.   A committee was selected to write new and rigorous standards starting from womb to stadium.
A handpicked group of professional team owners and employees of national product sponsors were selected to establish the new standards. A few adult level doctors were also added. Written in under a year, they were rolled out to the state Governors and the State Superintendents of Department of Sports. In order for the new Common Sport State Standards (CSSS) to be adopted into law, only the Governor and State Superintendent needed to sign.
Two signatures.
It never went through the State House of Representatives nor the State Senate. In fact, these standards were pushed upon the states by the federal government and the National Department of Sports. This was not initiated by the people or for the people….
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”   Abraham Lincoln
Putting the values of the United States Republic aside, if the two governing officials signed the CSSS into law, a stimulus package of money arrived from the federal government to implement the new standards. If not signed, money was denied and/or removed.   “Naughty” were the states who did not sign on.
Naughty, Naughty. “You will leave your babies behind.”
Some Governors later admitted they were asked to sign the document before the final draft of the standards was completed, but… I guess this is beside the point.
The State Superintendent also needed to sign the document. No committees formed. No review process. No early childhood physical therapists consulted. No pediatricians consulted. No athletes gave input.
Definitely no parents. “What do they know?
About a year after the State Superintendent signed the standards into law, a soft roll out to parents and pediatrician offices was initiated so enough time would be given to prepare their homes and offices. New baby materials, sports products, and technical support would need to be purchased to assist in helping the babies achieve the new standards.
Here were the new early babyhood Common Sports State Standards (CSSS):
  1. All children shall walk by 6 months old.
  2. All children shall run by 6.5 months old.
  3. All children shall do summersaults by 7 months old.
  4. All children shall do cartwheels by 7.5 months old.
It was ensured, by adhering to these rigorous standards, ALL babies would be on track for the Olympics and/or professional athleticism. No one questioned the age appropriate sports standards. No one questioned who wrote the standards… and those who did, in any way, were looked down upon.   Many, at first, even believed these standards were appropriate, necessary, and the answer to preparing the babies for a solid future in professional athletics and quite possibly a turn in the Olympic Games.
In the beginning, very few realized the standards were written by the owners of handpicked professional teams and the high ranking employees of the favored brand name sports products… like… hmmmmm….Nike, Gatorade, 5 Hour Energy… these well intended people, of course, really desired to start our babies off on the right foot. (No pun intended).
Next, a nationwide curriculum, specifically designed for parent use, was written by thesame people… contracts were drawn up, with undisclosed amounts of money to be paid to them. This curriculum was accessible to parents once they bought a tablet. This tablet was the only platform that could run the software. If they followed the steps perfectly, the parents were promised their children would accomplish these high and rigorous goals.
Interested in following the money?: Money eye
Parents followed the lock step programs, using the accepted products only,  and pediatricians tracked their patient’s progress and entered weekly progress into a data tracking system to help parents target certain muscle groups that were failing in their babies legs.
Gill Bates, of course, in all of his athletic background and expertise, paid $200,000,000 to the committee to write the standards. The standards started at one day old. Each day, starting at day one, a lock step, scripted walking curriculum was established…incorporating all the sports baby products sold by the very writers of the CSSS.
Next, knowing the standards needed to be embraced and accepted by the masses, Bates, the athletic expert, also paid at least $200,000,000 for the promotion and advertisement of these new and rigorous baby standards… AND… do not forget… he also funded, through grants, the development of the software for the tablets for parental use.   Just imagine the profits $$$$$ made after every parent purchased one of these tablets.
Interestingly, even Gill Bates admitted the success of the new CSSS wouldn’t be known for 10 years. Listen at 45:22 in his speech to Harvard, “It will take 10 years to know if this “sport” stuff will work.”
The signs of implementation were clearly seen, as anyone driving through the majority of communities across the nation, or observing activity in local parks, saw no children playing or mommy’s pushing babies in strollers. Most were home practicing and following the programed script to ensure their child was walking on time. They didn’t want to “leave their babies behind” or to the doom of factory work for Nike.  Rather their dream was for their child to have the best chance of wearing the Nike gear out on the court as an athlete.
With time, many parents became frustrated with the script, and called their pediatrician’s office with their complaints. “This isn’t working.” Or “Johnny isn’t responding to lesson 6.” Or “My baby failed the three month module test, what do I do next?” Having the pressure themselves to ensure all their patients walked on their 6 month Birthday, the pediatricians continued to encourage integrity to the national walking program.
The pressure mounted.
Each parent knew they were required to take their child to a Smarter Balanced Athletic Testing Center to be analyzed by their Certified Pediatrician. The Pediatricians had checklists full of Criterion, Domains, Components, and Elements… with detailed rubrics (oops, I mean scales) to be tracked. All total there were 41 Elements within the Domains through the Elements based on the Components they would be judged upon whether they met the Criterion. The parent was given an evaluation based on all of this. Within the first 6 months of the baby’s life, the parent had four formal observations to determine if they were accomplishing the 41 Elements within the Domains through the Elements based on the Components and whether they were on track to meet the Criterion.
It was all a little confusing.
Confused BabyThe parents were informed, by Senate Bill 5946, if their child was not walking by the exact date of 6 months old, they would lose their child for 3 hours a day to a state run walking school with the goal of closing the walking gap. Soon there were walking schools springing up throughout the land, filled with state trained certified walking specialists holding the “key” to successful walking.
In a private meeting, the Smarter Balanced Athletic Consortium (SBAC) met, to establish what level of walking would be acceptable to pass the 6 month walking mark.  They based the cut scores on the previous year’s field test done on countless babies throughout the land. The cut score was publicized and revealed approximately 30% of the children would indeed be able to walk by the 6 month mark. However, 70% would fail.
The parent’s fears grew.   They wanted the best for their babies, and not passing the Smarter Balanced Athletic Test would doom their babies to a life slaving in the Nike and Gatorade Factories, or worse yet, peddling 5 Hour Energy Drinks in local stores.
The state run walking schools were prepared, however, and remedial walking programs were written and sold to these schools by the very same company who designed the Smarter Balanced Athletic Test.
The Pressure Mounted.
District Doctor’s Offices, overseeing the Pediatricians, hired testing coordinators. The coordinators found practice walking interim assessments with checkpoint assessments in between the practice interim assessments. Parents could administer these practice tests in their own homes to prepare for the ultimate Smarter Balanced Athletic Test. The data was uploaded to the District Doctor’s Offices in order to follow each baby, parent, and pediatrician and keep track of who was performing well.
Next, Walking Specialists were hired to assist parents in how to implement the tablet run Walking Program and answer the questions that continued to arise. The Walking Specialists were also able to help the parents look at the data from the interim tests and the checkpoints in between the interim tests. This assisted the parents to better understand how to target specific muscle areas needing stimulation, and established next steps for their baby in order to ensure their success on the Smarter Balanced Athletic Test.
The end goal for all, no matter what level they served in the Sporting System, was to get the baby to….
Pass.   The.   TEST.
The Pressure Escalated.
As the parents implemented the new Walking Program, they were informed and mandated to attend several evening professional development classes in order for them to understand the new Parental Evaluation System. You know, the one in which they had to show evidence of the 41 Elements within the Domains through the Elements based on the Components to see whether they were on track to meet the Criterion?
Baby said, “Eh?”
Their checklists looked much like the following: TPEP List 3
Harder still, the parents had been mandated by the state to utilize a new Nutritional Program and Eating Schedule, (written by 5 Hour Energy), for their babies that was entirely different than the one used before. So… now… they were implementing the new Walking Program which included utilizing a new technology with the tablets, establishing a new Nutritional Program and Eating Schedule for their babies (thanks 5 Hour Energy!), as well as learning how they would be evaluated upon these things… all at the same time.
Who would have dared question this charade?
 It was a Race To The Stadium…
 The Pressure Continued to Mount.
The Pediatricians were “under the gun” too. They were also judged and evaluated by similar criterion, much like the parents. Percentages of pass rates of his/her patients were logged and tracked into CEDARS, the state data bank. The data was then uploaded to The Feds. FERPA laws were loosened, so data could be released to third party vendors. Every pediatrician… every parent… every baby followed…
Data Tracking of Children.....Tracked.
Data logged.
National Baby IDs established.
(The following link shows how to access the National IDs and how the FERPA laws were loosened):
If the Pediatrician’s percentage rate was found failing, the state closed the doctor’s practice, and brought in their own set of better trained, “higher quality” doctors to run the offices.  All at tax payer expense of course.
Sadly, the pediatricians were tied to their desks, entering their evaluation data into computers from the four observations of each parent capturing the 41 Elements within the Domains through the Elements based on the Components to see whether they were on track to meet the Criterion.
Baby said, “Eh?”
The actual time with their patients decreased significantly because most had anywhere from 45 – 100 parents to track times four in a sixth month period.  (There’s some mathematics for you!)
Note… this was a “growth model” with the full purpose of helping the parents become better at teaching their babies to walk.
Again Gill Bates got involved, and helped fund Pediatrician For America (PFA). This program allowed those with a bachelor degree to be put in five week crash courses to become Pediatricians. After all, most were young and willing to follow the script and do exactly what they were told. Another benefit to the PFA, was the lower end salaries paid to these new doctors due to their placement on the salary schedule.  Additionally, this was considered a good thing because many of the traditionally educated Pediatricians were leaving the field and Pediatrician shortages became a real problem.
Sadly, the PFA program began to collapse too, as most PFA doctors gave only two years of their lives to helping babies walk before moving on to other jobs that became their real careers.
The Pressure Increased.
In the beginning stages of the implementation of the CSSS (Common Sports State Standards), it was decided the parents needed to incorporate a new sleep therapy program. New “research” had come out stating babies with strict sleep schedules were better able to practice their leg exercises each day to prepare for walking. The parents again, were called to more professional development in the evening to understand the strict sleeping program and how to adhere to it without waiver. Boxes arrived to their homes.   They cleared out hall closets to make room for all the resources arriving from the state.
The Pressure Point of Collapse Loomed.
A few parents and a few pediatricians started to raise some questions. They were scorned.Didn’t they understand these national Common Sport State Standards were written by experts in the field and necessary to prepare babies for the Olympics and Professional Sports? Didn’t they understand how critical it was to be able to compete globally with other countries producing star athletes?
The few parents and pediatricians grew in strength. They began to uncover the CSSS weren’t written by experts, but rather by the owners of professional sports teams and the product sponsors. Their voices grew.
In fact, in New York State alone, the Pediatricians wrote a letter of concern regarding the evaluation of parents by baby walking scores. It was signed by more than 1,535 New York pediatricians and more than 6,500 parents:
Another joint document was written and signed by over 500 early baby specialists stating their concerns with the CSSS:
Still many states insisted on staying the course. Eyes shut. Ears closed.   A lot of officials made arguments the cost was already too high and there would be no way to abandon the CSSS.
Dr. Peg Luksik wrote, “When parents approach school districts or state legislatures with their concerns about the disasters occurring in Common Sport “homes” and ask that the program be stopped before even more damage is done to the education and self-esteem of America’s little ones, they are told that such a step would be irresponsible because of the huge amounts of money that have already been spent. So our “babies” will just have to “soldier on”.
Dr. Luksik went on to say:
The apparent success of that argument must have many other industries rethinking their approaches to problems.
Pharmaceutical companies who have been forced to stop production of a new drug that made it all the way to the final testing stage before the discovery of serious negative side effects could claim that they had already invested a great deal of money, so it would be “irresponsible” to stop production at this late date.
And companies that brought drugs into the marketplace, only to be faced with recall either because the drug had not been properly tested or unforeseen complications had arisen from its use, could make the same claim and avoid having to pull that product off the shelves.”
 Dr. Luksik makes more arguments for the halt of the CSSS despite the money spent so far.  She furthered her logical argument by mentioning how the auto industry may need to rethink how they go about business. Baby Driving 2
A failing car?
No need for recalls.
After all… it cost too much to design the car, manufacture the car, and transport them to all the car dealerships.

Fast forward ten years.
“Funny” thing…
Few pediatrician doctor’s offices exist. There are thousands and thousands of state run baby schools of walking. Parents are up in arms… protesting. Their babies no longertheirs.
“Funny” thing…
Ten years later… The majority of 6 month old babies… still aren’t walking.
Ingenious Experiment.
For Whom?


Real or not real? Peeta Mellark, The Hunger Games
This is the birth to kindergarten mental health interventions for babies. This is “research” for the early learning and the $1 billion Obama is funding for daycare and preschool.  See for yourself:
Martin Luther King Graphic
Passionately Submitted,
  1. HB 5946:
  2. Teacher Evaluation Bill:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cuomo's Endgame for Breaking the Teachers Union and Dismantling New York State's Public School System

[For a suggested strategy on resisting Cuomo's endgame, see, "What is to Be Done About Cuomo's War on Teachers  . . ."

From Clemsy's Corner blog:

Cuomo's Endgame for Breaking the Teachers Union and Dismantling New York State's Public School System

This is how to fight back. Today, I received an email from one of our guidance counselors. It is a forward from his sister, a teacher, who received it from Eric DeCarlo, president of the Scotia-Glenville Teachers Association, who gave me permission to share it. He received, and adapted it, from Mike Mosal, president of the Burnt Hills Teachers Association. The president of my local, Clint Wagner of The Gloversville Teachers Association, forwarded it to everyone in the district.

You need to do the same. This is it in black and white. This is Cuomo's endgame and the careers of every educator in this state, especially those in FOCUS school districts, are at stake. Our public school system is at stake. Our children's education is at stake.

This is it. This is the moment of truth.

Please read, memorize and share, share, share.

Then DO something.

Recently, the Governor’s office and Regents Chancellor Tisch exchanged letters about the future of education in New York. The links to these letters was sent out in an email last week to the Association. You can read the full letters at those links.  The conversation between these two can be broken down into the following “reforms” that could be implemented this spring.

1.    40% of teacher evaluation should be tied to growth scores. The local 20% achievement (SLO) should be eliminated.
2.    Any teacher deemed “ineffective” on the new 40% state score would be deemed ineffective overall(no matter their scores on the local observation 60%).
3.    Any teacher who receives two consecutive ineffective ratings would not be allowed back into the classroom (apparently without a 3020-A hearing or due process. Additionally, all of the current 3020-A hearing officers would be replaced with “state employees”. The Regents seek to replace the last gatekeepers of due process with their own appointees.
4.    No student could be scheduled to have an “ineffective” teacher two years in a row (by proposed changes to state education law).  This would likely require disclosure of which teachers are “ineffective” for scheduling purposes (and possibly to parents). This is a massive invasion of privacy that was already legislated. Such information is currently not shared outside of the administration and impacted teacher. Parents can only gain this information through a district determined process and, even then, the parents can only know where their student’s teacher falls on the “HEDI” range.
5.    Merit pay would be established and, apparently, would not be collectively bargained. Districts would be empowered to “design innovative compensation models based on educator performance”. According to Chancellor Tisch’s letter, our Association would not be privy to the process for how this “compensation” would be doled out and what the criteria would be for merit pay.
6.    Teachers would be required to wait five years before they could be granted tenure. Additionally, teacher certification tests would become vastly more challenging.
7.    Schools who do not meet the Governor and Chancellor Tisch’s performance expectations, would be closed and replaced with “institutions that are up to the task” which would likely be for-profit charter schools.  Additionally, Chancellor Tisch is effectively asking the state legislature for unfettered authority to open and close schools based on metrics (state test scores) that she controls. The Regents and the State Education Department can raise or lower cut scores, and therefore “achievement” gains or losses, at a whim. We have seen this over the past two years as the Common Core assessments become integrated into the APPR. This is, without question, unlimited power for Tisch, the Regents, and the enemies of public education. Furthermore, Tisch seeks to uncap the limit on for-profit charter schools.

These changes are not speculative or “what if’s”.  Read the letters linked above, read what NYSUT is saying.  This is our FUTURE!!!!

In 2010, all of us (NYSUT included) were caught off guard at the scope and scale of Race to the Top, the Common Core standards, and the APPR law 3012-c. These initiatives completely changed education as we know it. These changes, with very few exceptions, were wholly negative for teachers and bad for children.

Here we are, four years later, with two of the most important figures in state politics and education having an open discussion about how to unequivocally destroy public education in the state of New York. They have become our enemies and our students enemies. They are brash, unencumbered, and openly declaring war on our profession. They seek to eliminate collective bargaining’s impact in the areas of evaluation. They ignore mandatory subjects of negotiation, like compensation.  They have so little respect for teachers, and the institutions that represent us, that they openly write about changing due process tenure. This would have been unthinkable five years ago. They do not care about what’s best for kids, teachers, or schools; only headlines and perception. There is no subterfuge here. Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Tisch seek to end public education as we know it. They want to break the back of NYSUT. They want to make our loca irrelevant. If we do not act now, all will be lost.

Simply put, we are at war!

I say to you now, we must become part of the solution. We must take up this cause as we never have before. We cannot be blind to what is about to occur in this state budget cycle.

The first step is to pay very close attention to Wednesday's (1/21/15) State of the State address (held at 1:30).  This is an important speech. Governor Cuomo will unveil his budgetary agenda and we will have a clearer picture of what we are facing. Please make every effort to learn about what type of proposals involving education he makes today.

If we do not act now, we accept these changes with our passivity.  There will be no one to complain to about “what has happened to education” if you sit on the sidelines now. We are all busy. We are all exhausted. I have three children (one of which is currently in the hospital) and there is not a week that goes by when I do not ask myself, “is leading this Association worth the sacrifices my family makes?” I say, we say, that it is. I love teaching and seeing the impact that I have on my students. I have seen some of the most dedicated professionals I have ever met here in our district That is worth protecting. We are facing unprecedented threats. You must be part of our local’s response to this new threat or you become part of the problem.

In  Unity,

Ric DeCarlo, President
Scotia-Glenville Teachers Association

As that guidance counselor's sister has done, so must you do. Send this to friends and colleagues in other districts, or if you are a parent send this to all of your friends.

We need to be informed and we need to act. Now.

There is no later.