Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Deadline this Friday to sign up for remote or in-person learning next year -a difficult decision for many parents to make
Today's "Talk out of School": the need for more nurses before reopening NYC schools, and how the COVID shutdown threatens the future of public education
DOE still has no plan to fill nursing shortage ahead of school reopening, by Sara Dorn, New York Post
Solving the School Nurse Crisis Before Schools Reopen, by Kim Watkins, Gotham Gazette
Does the Covid pandemic spell the end of public schools?, by Johann Neem, USA Today
COVID-19 "Microschools" Are Betsy DeVos's Lastest Privatization Scheme, by Candice Bernd, Truthout
Friday, July 31, 2020
DOE plans for the reopening of schools and critiques from CM Treyger, Public Advocate Williams & former Superintendent Matt Bromme
The Councilman has proposed several good ideas that may or
may not come to fruition. I agree with him regarding the delaying of the
opening of the schools. We have too many staff members on every level who
have preexisting conditions and will want to teach virtually. We also
have many students whose parents will have major concerns about sending their
children into school and need to be reassured regarding health and social
DOE has yet to address how they will have sufficient staff to cover the new day
care centers, hire enough teachers to take the place of those teachers opting
to do only virtual learning and where they will get the funding for salaries,
benefits, supplies, books, etc. The city and state are in dire financial
circumstances. Where will they get the money? As of today, I do not see a
positive federal response for more funding.
a former middle school Principal in a school with close to three thousand
students, I am very concerned about bus and subway transportation and social
distancing when students arrive and are dismissed from school. In terms of transportation,
how do you social distance children on school buses? How do you enforce the
wearing of masks on all modes of transportation?
are issues with emergency drills and how students will attempt to socialize
even in the cafeteria. The early grades are even tougher. You
cannot ask Pre-K 3 and 4 year olds, as well as the other early grade students,
to do the things we adults can do easily. This includes issues regarding
hygiene and wearing masks all day. This will be a great challenge.
suggestion for synchronous learning is also a contractual issue. When first
approached to teach in a distance learning system, the teachers’ union informed
the teachers they did not have to do that. There were numerous reports of
students not receiving any real instruction. Therefore, there has to be a
buy-in by the UFT. The DOE must ensure that high poverty communities have
better access to the Internet. They must also consider how to train and use
paraprofessionals to be part of the distance learning program. Paraprofessional
are not licensed teachers, therefore they cannot be in charge of classrooms
whether on site or in the virtual world.
The current DOE plan is unacceptable and totally lacking in
so many ways. The current plan truly hurts those families with two or
more children in the school system. How does a parent handle child care issues
if her children’s school schedules are in conflict with each other? What about
the single parent who must work to pay bills, but has no one to take care of the
child and does not make it into day care facilities?
Member Treyger deserves credit for at least putting ideas out there for people
to comment and try to implement. However, the first day the schools were shut
down, was the first day the Chancellor should have started to plan for their
reopening. He and his staff should have been devising multiple scenarios in
consultation with all of the communities they serve]\ I would hope as the
Council Member has suggested that the opening of the schools physically is
delayed so a real plan can be put forward.
-- Matt Bromme
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
108 NYC charter schools received a windfall averaging $940,000- $2.2 million each in federal PPP funds; check the list here!
Williamsburg Charter High School was given between $2 million and $5 million, a total of $2,000 to $5,000 per student based on their enrollment last year of 963. Brilla College Preparatory Charter Schools received between $1 million and $2 million, $1,400 to $3,000 per student based on their enrollment of 677. Pave Academy Charter School, founded by the son of billionaire Julian Robertson, was awarded between $1 million and $2 million, equaling about $2,000 to $4,000 per student based on their enrollment last year of 490.
KIPP charter and KIPP LLC (which I guess is its Management Organization) is getting between $3 million and $5 million, despite also receiving $86 million from a federal charter school grant in 2019, and many millions more previously. Uncommon Charters, which has been criticized for its abusive disciplinary practices, received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP funds. The full state and city list is below.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
They also discussed issues related to school funding inequities, the need for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy, the importance of smaller classes, and the inadequacy of the Common Core standards, especially for younger learners.
Schools Beat Earlier Plagues With Outdoor Classes. We Should Too New York Times by Ginia Bellafante
Petition for Outdoor Schooling Now!
Contact your legislators now – schools desperately need funding to reopen safely next fall! Action Alert from Class Size Matters
Monday, July 20, 2020
Governor Cuomo, the State Department of Health, and the NY State Education Department all came out with detailed guidance on what measures schools should take to reopen in the fall to ensure health and safety as well as provide instructional and emotional support to their students. If the COVID positivity rates of all regions of the state remain under 5%, as they do currently, their schools will be eligible to reopen if they adopt the recommended protocols.
Yet little or nothing was said in these instructions about how schools can afford the expensive health and safety measures, as well as the extra staffing and space necessary to keep students engaged in learning while attending school in person in shifts to ensure social distancing.
As the National Academy of Sciences pointed out, “Many of the mitigation strategies currently under consideration (such as limiting classes to small cohorts of students or implementing physical distancing between students and staff) require substantial reconfiguring of space, purchase of additional equipment, adjustments to staffing patterns, and upgrades to school buildings. The financial costs of consistently implementing a number of potential mitigation strategies is considerable.”
Even to do an adequate job with full-time remote learning requires funding for additional devices, faster internet access, and more teachers and counselors, to provide more individualized and ongoing support and to keep group sizes small.
Our schools’ desperate need for more funding has been aggravated by the fact that Governor Cuomo hijacked the extra dollars that were funded by Congress in the CARES ACT to fill holes in state aid, instead of sending these dollars to schools to help them address the COVID crisis.
Now is the time for the Governor and our State Legislators to stand up for our schools and protect our children by providing them with the funds that are badly needed. They could do that easily by boosting taxes on the ultra-wealthy, including the Ultra-millionaires Tax on residents who earn above $5 million annually (S.8164 / A.10364), or above $1 million annually (S.7378/A.10363); and the Pied-a-Terre tax (S.44 / AA.4550), a surcharge on non-primary residences worth over five million dollars.
There is no doubt that the ultra-wealthy can afford this. In NY State, 118 billionaires saw their wealth increase by $77.3 billion during first three months of the pandemic. Michael Bloomberg saw his net worth increase by $12 billion during this period alone. All New Yorkers, including the ultra-wealthy, need to pitch in during this time of need, to ensure the health, safety and education of our kids. Below are links to your Legislators’ contact information and a script you can use. They will be back in session starting tomorrow.
Directions: Call your Legislators in their district offices – unless their phones are busy and then please call their Albany offices.
You can find your Assemblymember’s phone number here and your State Senator’s phone number here.
Script: Hi, my name is ________ and I am a constituent.
Our public schools desperately need more state aid to deal with the pandemic. I want to urge [Elected Name] to support the Fund Our Future package, including the Ultra-Millionaires Tax, the Billionaire Tax Shelter Tax and the Pied-a-terre Tax, so our kids can attend school safely next year. Can I count on [Elected Name] to sign onto these bills, and to ask the Legislative leaders to bring them to a vote?
Afterwards, if you have time, please enter their responses into our Google form here. Thanks!