What do you know about receivership? A fancy word for the completion of the deformer take over of our schools.
“ALBANY — A state receivership plan essentially sets “struggling” schools up to fail by penalizing them for having students opt out of the state standardized tests, lawmakers and advocates told POLITICO New York.
The state education department in July identified 144 schools — 124 as “struggling,” which have two years to turn around, and 20 as “persistently struggling” schools, which only have this year to show progress before being taken over by a state-approved receiver.
On Sept. 11, schools were given the list of improvement indicators that they must choose from to demonstrate how they will show “demonstrable improvement,” for example, raising attendance or student test scores. They have until Sept. 30 to submit turnaround plans to the state. The majority of the schools must select 10 indicators, each one counting for 10 percent of their total score.
All of the schools must meet the achievement indicator of “priority school progress,” which requires 95 percent of their students take the state exams. Of the remaining indicators, the majority also require meeting the 95 percent threshold — meaning the bulk of their score will rely on participation on the exams.
The opt-out movement — born of opposition by parent groups and teachers’ unions to the state’s Common Core-aligned exams — grew to a record level this April, when 20 percent of the state’s eligible third through eighth graders refused to take the tests. A similar showing this year could mean that the “persistently struggling” schools go into receivership, whatever progress they manage to show in other areas.
“While we seek to not impose any fiscal consequences on schools that fail to meet participation requirements, there are school accountability consequences when insufficient percentages of students are participating in state assessments,” the state education department wrote in response to a question from POLITICO New York. “We encourage and support the efforts of all schools and districts to explain to parents the benefits that parents, students, teachers, schools, and district and state policymakers derive from student participation in state assessments.”
In the face of high opt-out numbers, some state officials — including ones who are strong supporters of the Common Core standards — have called for some leniency when it comes to participation in the tests.
In August Gov. Andrew Cuomo said schools with high opt-out rates should not be sanctioned.
State Board of Regents chancellor Merry Tisch echoed that response, saying the state would not withhold funding from schools with high rates.
State education commissioner MaryEllen Elia has called opt out “unreasonable,” and has made strides to decrease the refusals.
All three, however, have said the choice is up to the parents.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said the indicators sound like they’re “setting some schools up for failure.”
“No matter what the school does, sometimes they don’t have control over those things,” the Democrat from Utica told POLITICO New York.
New York State United Teachers said the union stands behind the parents’ decision.
“We don’t believe that schools or school districts should be sanctioned when parents make a decision they have every right to make,” said spokesman Carl Korn.
Though the Albany City School District had a relatively low opt-out rate of 17 percent for the English language arts exam and 23 percent for math (some districts recorded much higher opt-out rates), it’s still a concern, said Lisa Angerame, a spokeswoman for the district, which has two schools identified by the state as “struggling” and one as “persistently struggling.”
“Of course we’re nervous…It’s something we can’t control,” she said about test refusals.
Rochester City schools has 11 schools identified as “struggling” and four as “persistently struggling.”
The district had relatively low opt-out rates compared to statewide numbers, but combined with attendance issues, it could be a problem, according the district.
“The good news is that we have been focused on helping schools to improve in all of the target areas already, and most of the improvement goals to avoid outside receivership seem well within reach,” district superintendent Bolgen Vargas said in a note last week to the Rochester school board. “However, most of the academic progress targets … are based on the ELA and math assessments in grades 3-8, which makes potential opt-outs a special concern for those schools.”
As part of the receivership school plan, the schools must create a Community Engagement Team, involving parents and community members in the school’s turnaround. Elia has stressed the importance of giving parents the right information about the importance of the state exams.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco said the State Education Department is still not listening, and the tests remain an insurmountable problem.
“Unless you change the essence of the standards, you’re not going to make parents happy,” the Schenectady County Republican told POLITICO New York, adding that Tisch and Elia’s suggested Common Core name change wouldn’t work.
“Don Draper of ‘Mad Men’ couldn’t rebrand this thing,” he said.
The 95 percent student participation requirement will hurt the high-need, low-wealth districts the most, Tedisco said.
“It’s really criminal,” he said.
“It’s very hypocritical,” said Lisa Rudley, co-founder of New York State Allies for Education, a parent-led anti-testing group. “The state and SED really had the chance to help these schools and they’re really missing the whole point.””
Where is the outrage?
Are you fine with being labeled a failing district due to inappropriate curriculum then having your children in school ALL THE TIME *without local control* to meet better test scores???
Dr. John Metallo shares his note below.
“Receivership: The next road to nowhere
By Dr. John Metallo, Slingerlands, NY (The author is a retired teacher and administrator. Among the positions he has held are principal of Albany High School and adjunct instructor at the University at Albany and SUNY Plattsburgh.) (518) 577-7530. Johngmetallo@live.com
The next big political ploy to be put into place to “reform and improve” the so called “failing schools” in New York State is to identify schools as failing and then to put them into what is called “receivership.” This concept supposedly turns the failing school over to an educational expert or small group of experts who will then turn around the schools and make them successful in a very short period of time. The nearly omnipotent receiver supposedly has the ability to do things that other school leaders could not including: firing and hiring teachers and principals at will, extending the school day and school year, changing the curriculum, purchasing needed instructional tools beyond local budgetary constraints and implementing new teacher evaluation systems. The concept is that through making drastic changes the receiver will bring about improvements in student performance in a year or less as opposed to the in place school administration and staff which could not improve performance to the preordained level set by state politicians over a period of many years.
In short, we are looking at a “magic potion” theory here which will fail along with all of the other politically lead and wrongheaded plans for school improvement which have gone before. This is instantly obvious given even a cursory glance at what receivership will look like in New York State. In most cases the failing schools will be turned over to a receiver who is none other than the current superintendent of schools. So, the concept is that the superintendent who could not move the school forward on Monday will be able to do so on Tuesday simply because the new title of receiver was added to the office door. Additionally, while it sounds very enticing to be able to replace staff instantly while extending the school day and year and spending money whenever necessary to improve instructional programming and practice, the truth is … it is not going to happen any time soon. Without major (and never to happen) revisions in state education law, teachers and administrators cannot be fired without cause (and a lengthy legal process), school budgets have restraints on them and extending school days and years will cost money, a great deal of it, that is well beyond any community’s ability to pay. Further, even if the receiver could magically do all of the things outlined above, the efforts will be futile in that one very important part of the equation is not addressed in this plan as it has not been addressed in the reform plans that have come along and failed in the past, that is the role of the family and the student (when age appropriate) in the educational process.
While those who would attack the public schools as failing point to the students who are not making the grade, we could shift the focal point to the students who are making the grade and in many cases exceeding expectations while attending the very schools labeled as failing by those who would reform them. Even the most challenged schools in New York State are home to students who would be classified from successful to extremely successful. This generally amounts to between 60 and 70 percent of the entire student body. That’s correct, even in the most challenged of the schools deemed failing by state leaders, at least 6 out of 10 students are doing just fine thank you. Wow, could it be that what the reformers are seeking is right under their collective noses, and they cannot see them?
A closer look at those successful students in failing (and successful) schools might provide a model for students who are not making the grade and need help getting there. The truth is that successful students universally display many of the same characteristics including:
Familial support for education
Strong attendance records
Positive school citizenship
School readiness at a young age
Participation in school and community activities
A sense of purpose which embraces education as meaningful in all endeavors
The challenge is not to improve schools which are nothing more than a pile of bricks, it is to try to develop more students who display these characteristics. This will only be accomplished by intensive work with students and families. The answer does not lie in firing teachers and administrators, altering the school day in an arbitrary manner or buying new instructional tools. Doing that is just a waste of money and time and we have neither to spare. The truth is that the vast majority of teachers and school administrators are already doing everything in their power to help every student in their charge attain success. They do not need to be replaced, they need support for their efforts.
The receivership movement will fail as have all other politically motivated school improvement plans. The reason for this failure is that politicians are seeking a quick fix for a very complex problem. While changing one’s title from superintendent to receiver is very easy to do, improving student success takes a bit more thought and work. Perhaps it is time to get to work on what will really help students succeed.”
Education DEform pied pipers leading the children away from their families one by one.
Parent activist Tracey Elwood Demkowicz states:
“Our government, the SED, and the Board of Regents have failed these children! Now instead of improving the problem by adding more teachers and giving the schools the money they need to reach these poor children they decide to further punish them by making them go to school year round? I can not understand what is wrong with the people who are in charge of education in NYS……they are the ones who have failed NOT our children!!!”
Maria Naughton shares:
“I don’t think our definition of success is the same as theirs. The are creating prisons for children.”
Rosemary Martin states:
“Schools wil be provideing health care, mental health care and every thing else a child could need, except PARENTS.”
They set unreasonable expectations, starve the schools of proper funding, insert tests, then when the children don’t “succeed”, they give them more hours away from their families with an inappropriate curriculum. This isn’t a recipe for success, it’s a recipe for complete failure.
Naysayers will say “it’s only a few more hours added to the year” but think back to your summers with your family, summer jobs, camp, and the time to be a child. Nysed is stealing childhood piece by piece.
Education activist Lori Tutt shares:
“This has nothing to do with excellence, it’s all about controlling our children for a longer period of time. The state & feds can’t just say to parents/public “hey we want your kids year round”. They have to come up with a justification to keep the parents compliant and the public willing to pay higher taxes for year round school.”
Parent Shauna Bream states:
“My son spends his time in the summer reading, writing, learning to fish, how to drive a boat, sail, grow food, build a fire, etc.. 10 weeks off is not too long if you’re a decent, involved parent. They can learn a ton at camp too. Summer is a time for huge life strides. No classroom can teach that.”
Maria Naugton adds:
“Whatever school innovations or arrangements are decided on are fine when they are done with local voice and parent choice. However that is not the case with the CCSS and “test, fail and turn around” model being pushed on inner city, urban, poor kids and parents who can’t understand what is really going on.”
Parents, speak now or forever hold your peace.