May 15 matters

We are now eight weeks away from the day most school districts vote on local schools budgets. (Voters in New York City and other large-city schools do not vote on school budgets: Their common councils set those budgets.)

Most school districts have set out a first draft of a budget and now await what state aid they will receive. Day after day, I tweet the news articles about cuts local districts are making. You can follow along, or join in by using the hashtag #nystatebudgetcutshurt. Help to document the pain and the sacrifice schools are making.

What else can local unions and members do?

  • Educate the parents and community in your district on what your achievement really is. Fight those misleading the public that New York schools spend too much for too little in results. Make sure people know the truth. Such as:
  1. Even though New York’s graduation standards are amongst the highest in the nation, graduation rates are drastically improving. Here’s a link to an AP report about that improvement. (Remember it was not that long ago that New York students had the option of a local diploma or a Regents diploma.) Here’s a link to the report “Building a Grad Nation.”
  2. A CNBC study ranks New York’s education system as first in the nation for providing what business needs. Click here to read that report.
  3. New York schools excel at science. Our state has more Intel semifinalists — 105 — than any other state. The next closest state is California with 41. Other numbers for this prestigious contest are: 1,839 apply and 300 make semifinal status.
  4. New York schools rank second in the nation for the number of students successfully completing Advanced Placement courses. You can download the complete report here.
  5. “Quality Counts,” the report by Education Week, ranks New York third in the nation in overall quality. Click here for the link to this state-by-state report card on how the nation does in six areas of educational policy and performance.

Two months is a long time or a blink of an eye. What matters is how you spend the next 56 days.

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