Summary of Feb 13th PTA meeting hosted by ICE PAC

There was a great turnout for Wednesday night's PTA meeting, run by ICE PAC (Parent Action/Education Advocacy Committee). Thanks to everyone who showed up, especially teachers Natalie V., Vince, and Jehan and 12th graders Anna and Milena. We'll have a more detailed write-up (and maybe even some video) to post later.

In the meantime here are links to documents we passed out. (Families at the meeting asked for digital access.):

  • An essay from a recent ICE graduate about what she gained from her years on the 5th floor.

  • An article about the Consortium of schools that ICE belongs to. There are several factors that unify the Consortium schools; most well known is that they are exempt from most NY state Regents exams. While this article is from 2014, it's still largely accurate except for the number of schools in the Consortium. (It has grown to around 40.) If you want to learn even more about the Consortium, you can google New York Performance Standards Consortium or Ann Cook (executive director/co-founder).

  • In lieu of the Regents exams, students at Consortium schools do PBATs (performance-based assessment tasks). We handed out the rubric ICE uses to evaluate 11th graders' history PBATs.

  • We also had on hand a document about what "progressive education" at ICE grade by grade and overall.

  • Finally, we had opt out letters available for middle school families who wish to refuse the state tests (coming up in a little over a month) on behalf of their children. Digital test refusal form here.

ICE PAC always welcomes more parents/guardians on board. Send an email to: kemala AT

Parent Action Committee at the February 13th PTA Meeting

The next PTA meeting (Wednesday Feb 13 @6 PM) is being intentionally designed for the families of middle school students and those families of students who are recent transfers to ICE. We will explore the underlying philosophies and practices that distinguish our school and make it tick--including standardized testing (or lack thereof), “panels,” middle school-high school continuity and curriculum.

So, families of middle school students and families new to ICE (regardless of grade) you are strongly encouraged to attend! Other families also welcome to share experiences, respond to questions, etc.

Parent Action/Education Advocacy Committee

2 Ways You Can Use Your Mouse:

1) NYSAPE (New York State Allies for Public Education) is asking parents to support bills in the state assembly that call for test transparency, repealing the receivership law, decoupling teacher evaluations from test scores, etc. Just go to this link to read more and generate a letter to your assembly member and state senator.
2) The parents of Central Park East 1, are asking for help from other parents, especially those from other progressive schools (that's us!) to defend the progressive pedagogy and curriculum of their school, which they feel is under attackfrom its current principal. Their petition is here; please consider signing and sharing.

Join Us: Wednesday March 16th at 6 PM - Room 518

Join us

Wednesday March 16th at 6 PM

Room 518
for a very special PTA meeting featuring Pete, teachers, & you!


Our high school students don't take (most) Regents exams.

85% of last year's middle school students refused the NY State tests.

In the absence of these instruments,

How does ICE calculate evidence of student learning? 

This will not be a lecture or a Powerpoint, but a hands-on interactive session and discussion where we parents and guardians will do some of the work ourselves, under the guidance of Pete and the teachers present.  We will be looking at how this assessment evolves on the continuum between middle school and college.  


Parents from all grades welcome.

New families are especially encouraged to attend.

ICE Parent Action/Education Advocacy Committee: Action of the DECADE!!!!!

Right now, we have an amazing and remarkably rare opportunity to raise our voices for leadership change at the Board of Regents, an appointed body that effectively controls New York's public schools. Merryl Tisch, longtime head of the state’s Board of Regents and co-architect and champion of many questionable ‘reforms,’ is stepping down as Chancellor. 

Seize this once-in-a-decade (or more) opportunity to raise your voice for leadership change, because it may not come around again for a long time; Tisch became Chancellor in 2009 and served on the Board for 20 years!

How can you make an impact? Join the letter campaign (link below) to support Betty Rosa, a seasoned and principled educator from the Bronx, and the candidate most likely to break away from Tisch's damaging agenda. It will only take a few clicks and it's so important!

ICE Parent Action/Education Advocacy

ICE Parent Action/Education Advocacy
The Board of Regents recently approved a Gates Foundation grant for the Regents Research Fund “to support NYS to launch, execute and utilize implementation data collection at the state level.”

New York State Allies for Public Education and Class Size Matters are calling for parents and other interested New Yorkers to oppose this project until there is "more transparency concerning what personally identifiable student and teacher data will be collected, with whom the data will be shared, how they will be stored, and what their ultimate disposition will be, as well as why aggregate anonymous student data is not sufficient for the purposes of this study."
If you agree that our children's data should be more carefully safeguarded, please click this link to register your objections to the plan as is.

ICE Parent Action/Education Advocacy Committee

A big week of testing-related education news to share with you––

 1)  FEDERAL:  President Obama signed into law the successor bill to No Child Left Behind, the legislation that mandated annual state testing in grades 3-8.  The new law, Every Child Succeeds Act [ESSA], looks like an improvement at first glance, but the annual testing requirement remains, and journalists and bloggers who are actually reading the telephone-book-sized bill have started to publish some revelatory stories, some straight-up weird.
2)  STATE:  Governor Cuomo’s Task Force on the Common Core made its recommendations.  For years, many ICE families have refused the state tests, deeming them to be too long, poorly constructed, and inappropriate as the basis of teacher evaluations.  Now the governor’s own task force agrees with us.  But as with ESSA, we might want to delve a little deeper before doing a victory dance.
3)  CITY: I n a previous update here, we reported that the letter we asked you to endorse was delivered to the mayor and chancellor having been signed by parents in every borough and in nearly every district in the city.  While there still has been no direct response to that letter, parents got a response of another kind last week when a Brooklyn superintendent, mincing no words, made clear that educators risk disciplinary action if they freely share their professional take on testing.  A 3-minute video of her exchange with parents has started to go viral.  ICE Parent Action requests that you watch it and share with friends everywhere; it’s chilling.  That educator gag order is just one of several roadblocks NYC Department of Education puts up to deter test resistance from catching fire in the city.  No Threat Left Behind illuminates the strategy the city uses to stifle the opt out movement, which is much larger elsewhere in the state.  (Full disclosure:  ICE PAC parent is a co-author.)
All of these developments have led NYSAPE (New York Allies for Public Education), a coalition of 50 grassroots activist organizations, to declare: Parents Will Continue to Opt Out Until Ed Law Repealed & Real Change Seen in the Classrooms

ICE Parent Action/Advocacy Events

Mon Dec 7, 6-9 PM @ St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights

This event, initiated by Regents Charles Bendit & Kathleen Cashin, is for teachers, teacher ed faculty, and those concerned about the impact of the teacher certification exams on the preparation of future teachers, on the racial and ethnic composition of the teaching force, and on the professional autonomy of teacher educators.  From the event webpage:  "This is an extremely important forum to amplify faculty and student experiences."  More info and address here.

Wed Dec 9, 7-9 PM @Pre-K 280 for PS 10, 19th St. at 10th Ave. (formerly the Bishop Ford School), Brooklyn

TALKING ABOUT TESTING:  A Panel Discussion with Carol Burris, Exec. Dir. Network for Public Education Foundation; Kathleen Cashin, NY State Regent; Erika Gunderson, Asst. Principal, PS 172; Jennifer Jennings, Asst. Prof. of Sociology, NYU; Anita Skop, Superintendent of Schools, District 15.
These really are dynamite panelists. If you have any questions or concerns about testing or opt out, it's hard to imagine a better forum to attend.  Would especially recommend this to families new to ICE (where 85% of students refused the tests last year) who might be wondering what all the fuss is about.
Also, if you signed the Parents' Letter to the Mayor and Chancellor, thanks!  The letter was sent off last week having been signed by parents from 31 of the city's 32 school districts.  If you didn't get a chance to sign, you can still do so and still share--especially if you live or know someone who lives in District 29!
As always, for more info or to join our committee, write to