Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
SAANYS has recently received a number of inquiries regarding the release of student test performance data. On June 2, Kevin Casey, Don Nickson, and I met with Commissioner King and Deputy Commissioner Slentz and requested clarification. On June 4, we received the following information:
1. What student information may be released district-to-district for “records requests” when families relocate? Is responding to a records request the same as sending a student transcript?
Response: A response to a request for records does not constitute a transcript. “The legislation specifically allows scores to be transferred to the state or other school districts.” Therefore, student performance of 3-8 common core-aligned tests, or other tests, may be shared with other districts based on a records request.
2. For students taking both a common core-aligned Regents examination and a 2005 NYS standards-aligned Regents examination, which score or scores must be entered in a student’s transcript?
Response: “If the student takes both the Common Core and the old test, both scores should be reported to the State through SIRS, but the district decides what to do on local transcripts, etc. For example, they can certainly decide to include only the higher score on local transcripts.”
We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you updated. All the best. … Jim Viola
Tuesday afternoon SAANYS met with Senators Dean Skelos and John Flanagan, and with Assemblymember Catherine Nolan’s Legislative Director, Devra Nusbaum. The following is an update regarding the status of state budget negotiations for 2014.
General Support for Schools
At meetings with both the senate and assembly members, SAANYS expressed that the current proposal for state aid to schools is insufficient and will result in additional cuts of programs and personnel. We, again, recommended that any funds that are contemplated to initiate/support other programs (such as full-day pre-kindergarten, after school services, and P-TECH) be re-directed to operating aid. The current proposed allocation amounts are:
Foundation Aid /Gap Elimination Adjustment
The senate and assembly have adopted different approaches to the allocation of funds to reduce the Gap Elimination Adjustment versus increasing Foundation Aid. SAANYS expressed that our members’ school districts are in different positions – some would benefit more from reducing the GEA, some would benefit more from increased Foundation Aid. SAANYS recommended both in our legislative testimony. Current respective proposals follow:
Tax Freeze/Tax Cap
SAANYS expressed strong concern about the devastating consequences that would accrue from the proposed tax cap freeze – dramatically exacerbating those of the current tax cap. We also expressed to the senate representatives our upset with their contemplated action to make the Property Tax Cap permanent. Respective positions follow:
SAANYS expressed our continuing support of the governor’s proposal to establish a mechanism, with safeguards and parent notice and participation, for waivers from statutory requirements (and concomitant regulatory requirements) specified in §4402 and §4403 of Education Law. The status of this proposal follows:
SAANYS continues to remain active in meeting with members of the legislature. Also, we are planning for our next Government Relations Committee Lobby Day on April 9.
On Wednesday, March 5, after hours of debate, the State Assembly passed a far-reaching bill relating to multiple planks of the Board of Regents’ education reform agenda. The bill – A-8929 – addresses the following points
Although the bill is not perfect, SAANYS found the preponderance of its voluminous provisions to be consistent with our positions, and there are no provisions with which we are categorically opposed. Any shortcomings have been addressed by including recommendations. We thought that you may be interested in some of the details of the bill, and so our legislative review is attached to this communication.
We hope that you will find the attached review informative. We will continue to keep you updated. All the best. …Jim Viola
The link below was released by the State Education Department the morning of February 25. The link provides access to a field memorandum issued by Julia Rafal-Baer, executive director of the SED Office of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, Policy and Programs. The memorandum pertains to APPR revisions accruing from the Board of Regents February 2014 meeting, including the following actions:
Week of February 24, 2014
– Review Room 2.0 Portal – add school-wide option for 6-7 science and 6-8 social studies
– APPR Guidance and Purple Memo
– SLO Guidance
– Task-by Task Guidance
Week of March 3, 2014
– Certifying Instructional Time APPR Guidance
– State-approved third party assessment list
– Review Room 2.0 – change third party assessment option for K-2
Subject: memo re: APPR and recent BOR meeting posted
Summary of the Board of Regents Recently Announced Regulatory Changes to Subpart 30-2 of the Rules of the Board of Regents, Relating to Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR) for Teachers and Principals ha been posted at
The SAANYS Government Relations Committee will discuss this memorandum, as well as all of SED’s 19 “Adjustment Options” with Commissioner King and Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz on February 26.
We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you updated. All the best. …Jim Viola
On January 28, SAANYS presented testimony at a joint hearing conducted by the state legislature regarding Governor Cuomo’s proposed Executive Budget. Our written testimony, upon which verbal testimony is based, is available by clicking here. However, since the legislative hearing, we have received numerous inquiries about two matters:
Does SAANYS plan any action similar to that taken by NYSUT, in taking a Vote of No Confidence in Commissioner King?
What is the SAANYS position in regard to Personally Identifiable Information – including inBloom?
We are taking this opportunity to address both of these issues, and it is likely that we will include this information in News & Notes as well. NYSUT’s Vote of No Confidence NYSUT took their Vote of No Confidence on January 25. SAANYS was aware of such a planned action and discussed this matter on this same day with this association’s board of directors. At the close of this discussion the SAANYS board of directors determined that we would not embark upon a similar course of action. There were many reasons for this position including the following: Is the NYSUT action properly directed? The NYSUT action solely addresses Commissioner King, and the SAANYS board had misgivings as to whether this is appropriate. The board recalled that the current reform effort began with Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and former Commissioner David Steiner. It has been supported by a majority of the Board of Regents, by Regents Research Fellows that some have described as a shadow government, by a legislature that was willing to pass APPR legislation in two days without a hearing, by two different governors, a variety of private foundations and commercial interests, as well as by Secretary Duncan and President Obama. In short, the pro-reform advocates are far more than any one person.
What is to be gained? Board members did not feel that there is any great likelihood that John King would resign or be fired. Even if he did, the Board of Regents would select a successor who would also continue to pursue implementation of the Regents’ education reform agenda. That said, the SAANYS board reviewed the draft resolution that was presented to the NYSUT board of directors and was sympathetic to much of the rationale NYSUT cited in support of its resolution. The implementation of the reform has been unpiloted, uneven across school districts, and not timely supported by promised curriculum or professional development. There has been excessive testing and a lack of empathy at SED toward students, parents and professional staff at schools. While a No Confidence Vote might provide short-term visceral satisfaction, it takes no real step toward fixing the damage done. The SAANYS board is instead focusing on advocating for the following, which have already been communicated to members of the State Legislature and Board of Regents:
SAANYS Position on “Personally Identifiable Information”
Ordinarily, at Legislative Hearings, verbal testimony will highlight salient aspects of written testimony. The Executive Budget did not address the issue of Personally Identifiable Information and so our written testimony did not address this topic. It is planned that we will lobby the State Education Department and legislature in this regard. We also engaged the SAANYS Board of Directors on this topic at their January 25 meeting. However, because some members of the legislature asked questions in this regard to those testifying before SAANYS, we took license in going “off script” and addressing this in our verbal testimony. We said that, SAANYS supports the recommendation in the report accruing from the five Senate Hearings conducted by Senator Flanagan for a one-year delay – a stop — in any Race to the Top activities related to the data portal. This time would be essential to thoughtfully consider (and reconsider) this matter. In that New York State is a local control state, we recommended that decisions regarding whether to opt-in or opt-out of data portal utilization should be done at the local level – as has been the case up to this time. We recommended that the State Education Department “drop inBloom.” We also expressed support for the safeguards included in Senate Bill 6007 and Assembly Bill 6059-a.
These safeguards include:
We are doing all that we can to advance the above positions, and other SAANYS positions. SAANYS Executive Director Kevin Casey and I met with Senator Flanagan on February 3 (yesterday), today we discussed considerations related to successful school completion with Deputy Commissioners Slentz and Smith, and tomorrow I am scheduled to meet with Assembly member Nolan. Coincidentally, moments ago, two news articles were released (attached below), one by leaders of the State Assembly, the other by leaders of the State Senate. Both articles address common core phase-in, and recommend delays in the use of common core-aligned tests for high stakes purposes. Further, leaders from the Assembly recommend, “delay the use of inBloom or any third party vendor in developing a ‘data portal,'” and leaders from the Senate recommend, “delay operation of the Education Data Portal for at least one year.” These calls by the Assembly and Senate are consistent with positions advanced by SAANYS.
Note: On February 10 and 11, the Board of Regents is expected to present their adjusted plan for roll-out of their education reforms. SAANYS will be at this meeting, and we will keep you informed. We hope this information is helpful. All the best. …Jim Viola
New Release 1:
Assembly leader calls for Common Core delay
February 4, 2014 – 11:13 AM
by Tom Precious
ALBANY – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Education Chairwoman Cathy Nolan today called on the state Board of Regents to delay the state’s common core program for two years. The views of the Assembly Democrats generally influence the Regents, since its members are essentially selected by the Democrats who control the Assembly.
In a written statement, the two lawmakers said:
“New Yorkers share the same goal – to improve our schools and help prepare our students to be successful and college- and career-ready upon graduation. However, given the serious issues that have been raised over the past year, we feel it is both prudent and wise to take the following actions. The use of Common Core aligned tests for high-stakes decisions for teachers, principals and students should be delayed, at a minimum, for two years. At the same time, SED (State Education Department) should continue to develop Common Core aligned curricula and assist local school districts in developing their own curricula so that teachers will be able to successfully teach Common Core aligned subjects while at the same time helping students reach their maximum potential.
“As we have stated in the past, there are equally serious concerns and potential flaws regarding plans to share student data with a private third party vendor. There are persistent questions regarding the ability to protect such data from security breaches, the necessity of the details and categories of such student data that is being shared, as well as the highly inappropriate potential for commercialization. SED should delay the use of inBloom or any third party vendor in developing a “data portal” until all these questions have been answered and the concerns fully satisfied.”
News Release 2:
Senate Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, and Senate Education Chair John Flanagan Call for Delay of Common Core and Sharing of Student Privacy Data
Senators Skelos, Klein, and Flanagan issued the following statement:
We continue to support the goals of an improved education curriculum that increases standards and ensures that students are college and career ready.
However, after having spent months listening to parents, teachers, administrators and educational professionals at public hearings conducted throughout New York State, it is our belief that while the implementation of Common Core Learning Standards may have been well intended, it has been poorly executed.
We continue to have grave concerns over this flawed roll-out. Unless the Board of Regents acts to alleviate the concerns of parents, teachers, and other educators, we call on the Regents to delay the use of Common Core tests for high-stakes decisions about teachers, principals and students for a minimum of two years. During this time, SED should continue to develop curricula aligned with higher standards and assist local school districts in developing their own curricula so teachers can successfully implement higher learning standards and help students reach their maximum potential.
In addition, students, parents, teachers, privacy experts, and school administrators have raised serious concerns about the ability of unauthorized third-parties to access personally identifiable information (PII) of students, teachers, and principals that will be collected on the state-wide Education Data Portal (EDP). Therefore, we reiterate our call for the Regents to delay operation of the Education Data Portal for at least one year. I
n the end, our goal must continue to be the development of higher learning standards in the best interest of our students and their futures.
The information attached below was received today from the State Education Department. The document pertains to the 2014 Summer Food Service Program, to ensure that low-income students up to the age of 18 years continue to receive nutritious meals.
We hope you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you informed. All the best. …Jim Viola
We are writing to provide you the following three updates:
1. We have submitted a document recommending two additional provisions to the State Education Department’s ESEA Waiver Application. In it, we recommend that students who remain enrolled in school and graduate with a High School Equivalency Diploma be counted as successful completers. We also recommend that any student who remains enrolled in school and graduates with a high school diploma (or its equivalent) be counted as a successful school completer, regardless of the number of years they are in high school. Read the full recommendation by clicking here.
2. We will present testimony today at a joint meeting of the State Legislature. Read the full testimony by clicking here.
3. We are informed that by mid-February, Michael Rebell will initiate court action, similar to the CFE action in which he prevailed. Preliminary information indicates that the new actions will:
a. Identify courses of study that must be available to students, and require that the State Education Department notify districts of such requirements.
b. Provide districts with methods of improvement.
c. Establish a system of accountability for sufficient resources.
d. Ensure that all districts make services available.
e. Require that the cost study methodology be reviewed every three years.
f. Revise the state aid formula to ensure sufficient funding, or better, for all school districts.
g. Programmatically, sufficient funding should be benchmarked against college and career readiness, all “at risk” students should have access to early education, and required education programs should include extracurricular activities/clubs and the arts.
We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you informed. All the best.
Jim Viola, director of government relations
On January 21, Governor Cuomo presented his proposed state budget for 2014-2015. A summary of provisions related to K-12 education follows:
The Board of Regents convened in Albany on January 13 and 14. The first action taken by the full board was to discuss and approve the penultimate ESEA Waiver Renewal application to be submitted to the US Department of Education. The application builds upon the State Education Department’s current ESEA flexibility waiver and extends from the current school year through 2015-16. Therefore, under the next waiver, 2010-2011 performance data will continue to be used for the identification of priority schools and focus districts and schools. Priority and focus accountability status will not be based on common core-aligned assessment results until 2015-2016 – at the earliest – three years after the first implementation of grade 3-8 common core-aligned tests.
The use of common core-aligned Regents examination results will not be used for accountability purposes for an extended period beyond that of the 3-8 tests, though no contemplated school year was articulated at the Regents meeting. Assistant Commissioner Ira Schwartz reported that, to date, the US Department of Education has provided no guidance to state education agencies regarding the accountability system that will be in place for 2015-2016. However, he also indicated that:
“We are already planning for the 2015-2016 school year. We have an advantage at the high school level … because we are one of the few states that uses a cohort system for high school accountability, which is based on the performance of students … four years after they first enter ninth grade. Most states are using some sort of census test (e.g., tests administered to all students in grade 10). … Our cohort system actually gives us more time to rollout these kinds of changes.”
The assistant commissioner indicated that if the ESEA waiver process is continued after the next ESEA waiver period, that New York State will need to determine the school year for which performance data will be used for accountability. In this regard, he said, “For our purposes, that would be the graduating class of the 2015-2016 school year, which would not yet be one that would have been affected by the changes to the common core (Regents examinations).”
The flexibility requested by the State Education Department in February 2012 was primarily focused on accountability issues. The waiver application now under consideration will also address:
• Testing for Students with Disabilities – Allowing students with significant cognitive disabilities to be assessed based upon their instructional level, rather than upon their chronological age. The number of grade levels below chronological age would be limited to two years; and the number of eligible students with disabilities included in this waiver may not exceed one percent in ELA and two percent in mathematics of all the students in the grades assessed in reading/language arts and in mathematics.
• Explicitly Align the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) with District Comprehensive Improvement Plans (DCIPs) and School Comprehensive Education Plans (SCEP) — The State Education Department would require school districts with priority and focus schools to prioritize funds for systemic planning training, expanded learning time, and community school programs; and to select activities to be funded by Titles I, II, and III consistent with areas of need identified by DTSDE reviews.
• Technical Change Regarding Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) – Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year results, the “all students” group in a school district or a school will be deemed to have achieved AYP if all the accountability subgroups have achieved AYP. Also, the Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) for grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics will be revised to reflect the lower percentages of students who scored at or above Level 2 and at or above Level 3 on the common core-aligned assessments administered in 2012-13.
• Testing for English Language Learners (ELLs) – Newly arrived ELL students will be exempted from participating in English language arts assessments for two years, and the NYSESLAT results will be used for accountability. Also, beginning in 2015-2016, Spanish Language Arts assessments will be available to school districts as a local option, to measure the progress of Spanish-speaking ELL students. Finally, beginning in 2014-2015, a Performance Index will be in place for newly arrived ELL students in their first two years in the United States, in which growth toward proficiency in language arts will be calculated based on the NYSESLAT assessment.
A condition that must be met by SED in order receive approval of its waiver application, is to address two issues identified during a monitoring visit by the US Department of Education:
1. NYSED will issue a press release on an annual basis when Title 1 Reward Schools are identified.
2. For principals of priority schools that are not implementing a School Improvement Grant (SIG), but are following “Turnaround” principles, NYSED must provide additional guidance the school districts as to how they may determine whether the principal should continue in that role. (A principal of SIG school must be removed if he/she has served in that role for two or more years; a principal of a priority school that is not a SIG school “may” continue to serve in such capacity, regardless of the number of years he/she has served in such role.)
The State Education Department’s ESEA Waiver Application will be posted for public comment from January 16 to January 27, 2014. Those wishing to review and comment upon the draft waiver should please note the following contacts:
• New York State’s approved ESEA Flexibility Waiver can be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/ESEAFlexibilityWaiver.html
• The item presented to the Board of Regents may be accessed at: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2014/January2014/114bra6.pdf
• The proposed amendments can be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/documents/ESEAFlexibilityRenewalforPublicComment011614_1.pdf
• Comments regarding the renewal application or regarding one or more of the amendments may be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be submitted in writing to Dr. Lisa Long, Supervisor, Office of Accountability, 55 Hanson Place, Room 445, Brooklyn, New York 11217.
Following the comment period, the ESEA Waiver Renewal Application with related amendments will be presented to the board as an action item on February 10, and will be submitted to the US Department of Education by February 28, 2014.
New York State’s Education Reform Agenda
Also noted at the January meeting of the Board of Regents is the growing propensity of board members to express individual positions that are different than the positions adopted by and pursued by the overall board. SED’s education reform agenda, and information pertaining to the senate and assembly hearings that were recently held in regard to the Regents education reform agenda were not included in the board’s January agenda or in the information items that were discussed. Nonetheless, near the close of the full board meeting on January 14, Regent Kathleen Cashin, representing Judicial District 2 – Kings, expressed the following:
“I am here to say a few words about inBloom. … The vast majority (of parents) do not want inBloom or at the very least, they want the ‘opt out’ option. And since I think we function of the people, by the people, and for the people, we should be listening very carefully to that dimension. So I recommend that we withdraw from inBloom – we are the only state that is in inBloom.”
There was no discussion of Regent Cashin’s remarks by the Board of Regents.
For more information regarding the Board of Regents meeting and the Regents education reform agenda, contact James Viola, Director of Government Relations, at JViola@saanys.org.