Important developments for public school parents on both the national and state level.
National: President-elect Trump has announced that Betsy DeVos will be his pick for federal Secretary of Education. DeVos, who donated $9.2 million to Trump's campaign, has ZERO experience in public education; she has been neither a student, a parent, a teacher, nor an administrator in public schools. What she has done, aided by her family's enormous wealth (the Amway empire), is vigorously push for vouchers and for-profit charter schools in her home state of Michigan and elsewhere. (Vouchers can be used by families toward private or religious school tuition, though they are rarely enough to cover that tuition in full. As a result, the poorest are excluded while those who are better off benefit from the subsidy.) As a result, Michigan's public schools, already tenuous to begin with, particularly in Detroit, have been decimated as money is drained out of the public system and into these more opaque institutions.
If you don't want to see the same thing play out nationally, including here in NY, call your senators to ask that they refuse to confirm the DeVos appointment: Gillibrand (212) 688-6262 and Schumer (202) 224-6542). You can also send this letter from the Network for Public Education; it takes 2 minutes, if that: Say No to Betsy Devos. Share this link with others!)
State: The State Education Department reported that there will be no substantial changes to the state's grade 3-8 tests for 2017, despite a more than 22% opt out rate statewide (and 85% at ICE!) and the findings of a task force that pointed to widespread dissatisfaction among educators and others regarding the state's Common Core learning standards. In response, New York State Allies for Public Education, a coalition of 50+ grassroots parent and educator groups, have called for OPT OUT 2017.