Post by Chris_Wendt on Jan 19, 2012 16:37:33 GMT -5
The Governor's 2012-13 State Budget Proposal included $630K-$640K for Wantagh to initiate Full-day Kindergarten.
This calls to mind Hamlet's soliloquy: "...Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?"
The old excuse, "we don't have the money for Full-day Kindergarten" has been nullified by this particular outrageous fortune: HERE'S THE MONEY, WANTAGH!
Is Full-day Kindergarten "sustainable"? Well, isn't it? Couldn't we find sustaining money for year 2, by reducing a combination of Psychologists, Social Workers, "Assistants" or clerical positions? Of course we could, if we really wanted to. 92% of school districts in NY somehow found the money to sustain Full-day K, already.
If we can fund Full-day K for the 2nd year (after the $640K grant is spent), then that cost gets baked-in to future budgets and won't impact the tax levy increase cap in future years.
A better question would be, will our school board say "NO, THANK YOU JUST THE SAME!" and refuse $640,000 of State Aid to start Full-day K? Or, is Wantagh about to join the overwhelming majority of school districts in the state who already offer this?
Seeking a conclusion:
"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action."
We have that great pith; let's not lose the name of action!
Soliloquy…how about something as simple as a long range plan? Specifically a plan for more than a week or a month. The BOE now has enrollment committee data, long term union contracts and aid information. Add this to the 2% cap and there should be a pretty solid plan.
We were about to put an offer on a house in Wantagh and the lack of full time K is really a dealbreaker. They really need to get with the program, all smart schools jumped on the NYS funding. Without this Wantagh won't draw young famlies to purchase homes which will drop property values and increase in problems. Let me know if anything changes.
The solution for most school budget issues is simple, get rid of no child left behind and inclusion classses. Some kids will be Chemists and some are best off learning a trade, holding back a class and paying a Special Ed teacher to look over 2 kids in a class doesn't work, thanks George Bush.
The U.S.'s rankings in academics have dropped considerably. Initiatives like NCLB, RTTT, etc. don't seem to be going away. They may be flawed in execution but not intention. Looks like they are a fact of life no matter what the school district (or state).
Special ed laws first went into effect in 1975 so thanking Bush isn't necessary. Contrary to your beliefs and attitude, studies and meta-analyses show inclusion provides benefits (academic and social) for both special and general ed students.
And, actually, years back Wantagh was recognized early on as a leader with its inclusion model, so it is part of the district's (proud) heritage.
While I agree with you that Wantagh needs to offer full day K, gee, it sounds like Wantagh isn't a good fit for you. Oh well....
Post by Chris_Wendt on Feb 6, 2012 12:58:49 GMT -5
In response to Lilly:
"Initiatives like NCLB, RTTT, etc. don't seem to be going away. They may be flawed in execution but not intention. Looks like they are a fact of life no matter what the school district (or state)."
I think it may be the word "efficacy" that escapes your recall, just as the concept of "efficacy" has escaped the authors of NCLB. While it may be too soon to adjudge the efficacy of RTTT, one thing is apparent: people are racing without really knowing what the goal is, or where the goal line is.
"...to the TOP!" refers more to "...of the HEAP" than to any clear, or clearly articulated apex global objective academic standard or cost-effective reform of US education, its results and its costs and the funding of those costs. Can you hear Buzz Lightyear's voice in your head? "...and BEYOND!!!!"
Our Governor now thinks it would be a grand idea to make state aid "competitive" in the immediate future. If ever there was an in-efficacious idea, or load of bull crap, that idea would zoom right the to top...of the idiotic idea scale.
Of course, real important stuff, like where to put an unconstitutional gambling casino on Long Island,THATis NOT competitive; the GUV has already decided that the Big A will host the Island's one-and-only unconstitutional gambling casino...
...you know, after he personally amends the State Constitution.
Are you kidding me? Get rid of inclusion classes,Why because your child doesn't need them and your family needs full day Kindergarten. Thank you for not putting a deposit down. Their are too many people like you here in Wantagh already. People that only want what is needed for their own..
We now have a few more views on this subject line. However, they all seem to come from personal ideology. Ryan commented on just another case of NIMBY. Yet no one responded to my earlier note suggesting the BOE should now produce a long range plan. If there was a plan people could judge it based on fact not emotion. There is a BAC session tonight. Will anyone bring up long range planning which the administration promised eons ago?
Full day K is a no brainer with the subsidy available. Regarding inclusion, having a special ed 2nd teacher in every classroom is a big reason why you have budget issues. I guess I shouldn't do research and just move right in, so you want dumb neighbors? Your school budget has major issues and you don't offer full time K. Full time K is a big deal for all homeowners in your district, there aren't many old retiree's moving into Wantagh because your taxes are high. There are bank owned properties all over, you need young familes to buy in your district to support your community. Kids are smart and will take advantage of getting a test read out loud or getting extra time on their tests because they conned their parents...or maybe their parents conned them. Stop coddling your kids, support them and get them ready for the real world. Not everyone can be or wants to be an Engineer.
"...Yet no one responded to my earlier note suggesting the BOE should now produce a long range plan. If there was a plan people could judge it based on fact not emotion. There is a BAC session tonight. Will anyone bring up long range planning which the administration promised eons ago?"
Funny you should ask. During the Q&A, someone asked about the Middle School bleachers which are (still) in 'bad shape'. That elicited a response from ADMIN that (repairing/replacing) the MS bleachers was "on 'The List'...very near the TOP of 'The List'". The meeting officially ended about that time.
I went over to the ADMINs who were there and asked where was 'The List'. They were quizzical. Unlike you and me, they have not been at Wantagh for eons, so I regaled them about those very efforts, down through the eons, to get the District to do that long-range planning, going all the way back to the 1989-90 mid-year State Aid cuts by Mario Cuomo, and including Fred Parola's 14th Assembly District Education Oversight Committee, and the one-and-only year in which the District, under the leadership of Dr. George Besculides, cut $2 Million out of the budget and enjoyed a ZERO percent tax increase.
Wantagh needs a list of every spending priority, every mandate, every contractual obligation, and all those other things that only get occasional lip service and only when someone brings them up in an ad-hoc manner. Things that should be on THE LIST:
Items from the Facility Status Report(s) that were deferred
Advanced Science Research Program
Middle School bleachers
Additional BOCES Courses
NOTHING should make it into the budget that has not first been put on the list, reviewed with respect to the other stuff already on the list, and then prioritized in due course. NOTHING.
THE LIST should be on the web site for all to see. Anyone should be able to nominate things to go on THE LIST, with a process established for vetting and adjudicating nominations. THE LIST should drive the agenda for all those planning sessions the Board of Ed used to have but never has any more.
Maybe the new permanent Superintendent will make such a list and use it to form the agenda for planning sessions he/she will convene. But if he waits for the Board of Education to make such a list, or to commission such a list...
...then he or she (along with the rest of us) will be waiting eons for it.
Guys, by "Future" "Planning", we mean planning, NOW, for the immediate future which will be upon us beginning later this very year. We DO NOT MEAN making a plan later, you know, out there in the future some time years from now, for like, the next millennium.
It starts with THE LIST. Make THE LIST already. It has been twenty years, pretty close to exactly, since we last had such a list.
Zach - I hope it wasn't your real estate agent that told you all of our classes are inclusion, as they are doing our community a disservice by saying that. Regardless of who told you that, you've been given invalid information.
My children attend Mandalay which has no inclusion classes. I believe that some, but certainly not all of the classes at Wantagh El are inclusion and all of the self-contained classes are at Forest Lake.
For poor unenlightened zach, note there is an astronomical physicist (Stephen Hawking), agricultural scientist (Temple Grandin - Aspie on the autism spectrum) and atomic physicist (Albert Einstein - Aspie, dyslexic) on the list. I think it was Thomas Edison's (dyslexic) mother who was told by his school to take him home bc he was un-educable, lolol.
I'll say a prayer for your kids that they don't experience any learning or other disabling problems. It is parents like you that make PPS Directors and teachers' jobs all the harder with the kids suffering that much more to lifelong detriment.
bnjasper, charts on the district's 10 year spending trends (data taken from WSD-issued documents) were circulated at the BAC. With long term planning, it is my belief that unless you fully understand where you've been, you don't know where you're heading to. There was zero talk of short or long term planning although the district seems preoccupied with immediate planning for the 2% tax cap and APPR's.
I think a long term plan is definitely what is needed. I don't have an issue with inclusion other than the 2nd teacher is really a cost that your district is suffering from, I think 90% of the "disabled" kids just need to be encouraged. Alot of schools started gettting TA's instead of Teachers to fill the roll of the Special Ed teacher.
Get them to run the school like a business. I think Smart boards are going to be outdated technology too soon, get some Ipads for kids to share in groups for a classroom and expand from there. Advanced Science research Program is huge as well.
I think 90% of the "disabled" kids just need to be encouraged. Alot of schools started gettting TA's instead of Teachers to fill the roll of the Special Ed teacher.
zach, I don't have a lot of time today to spend debunking special ed myths like your above comments on a message board. But, if you're going to continue to post stuff this, you will force me to. Please stop.
"Encouragement" as a solution sounds like a bad IEP. "We'll just tell little Johnny to add/subtract/multiply/divide" and voila`, magically he will ace that math concept when his brain is not wired to do so and there are no grown-ups to guide him and help him learn to do it.
This is the analogy with special ed kids. The given task is to get to the other side of the mountain. Some kids will run, hike, walk, climb or crawl to get over that mountain to the other side. Others will find a path around the mountain, getting to the other side. But, most all eventually get there. Figure out who is general ed, special ed or in supportive programs and in retrospect, which was the "smartest" way, a subjective measure, to get to the other side of the mountain. It probably isn't what you may think.
For reference, by LAW, inclusion classes have one NYS certified general ed teacher and one NYS certified special ed teacher. Aides cannot replace the legally required amount of NYS certified teachers. Wantagh fully complies with the law in that regard.
And just fyi on this well-kept secret since you are interested in Kindergarten. The Kindergarten inclusion teacher at Beech happens to be one of Wantagh's very, very best. I'd put her up against the best of the best in any district. A small number general ed parents who are 'in the know' WANT their kids to be assigned to the inclusion class, preferring the inclusion class over general ed Kind. This teacher is that good. Parents report that their kids had positive experiences, were uber-prepared for 1st and learned tons more than siblings that had been in general ed Kind.
Back to short/long term planning. We need it badly.
An informed parent is their child's best advocate.
'Heroes take Zeroes' - parent statement overheard at 1/20/11 BOE meeting
ALL the inclusion teachers at Wantagh El are absolutely the best. I am one of the parents who have had the blessing of having a child in the inclusion class twice. Zach, the last thing I would want to see is these valuable classes dissolve. We currently have 2 of these classes at the 5th grade level, and I can't tell you ONE negative experience we have had.