Friday, March 16, 2007

Breathing Life into Education Law: Dedicated Teachers Needed

New York's Education Law is quite extensive. Nine thousand three (9003) Sections within One hundred seventy (170) Articles within nine (9) Titles. And that doesn't include numerous regulations. Most states have similar laws and regulations. These voluminous pages may be necessary for guiding our "educational steps," but if we are concerned only with the "letter of legal compliance" and not with the "spirit of educating our future leaders" then we have missed the boat.

It is the teachers at the front lines who can breathe life into the multitude of sterile laws. A previous blog, Freedom Writers: The Transforming Power of a Teacher, spoke of the teacher's special role:

"Michelangelo and Da Vinci painted the Sistine Chapel and Mona Lisa, respectively. Through Picasso's Guernica, individuals can see the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war. Van Gogh's paintings have captivated and given millions serenity, comfort and inspiration. But above and beyond the mastery of all of the world's greatest artists, only a teacher can mold the heart of a child."
It is within the context of this unique position to influence our next generation that the teacher must understand the laws.

The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE) was signed into law by New York Governor George Pataki on July 24, 2000. The following April, the New York State Department of Education published a complimentary document entitled Project SAVE: Guidance Document for School Safety Plans. Safe schools are paramount to creating a trusting environment where learning can flourish.

The components of Project SAVE as enumerated by the New York State Center for School Safety are:

  1. District-Wide School Safety Plan
  2. Building-Level Emergency Response Plans
  3. Codes of Conduct
  4. Teacher Authority/Principal Authority
  5. Uniform Violent Incident Reporting
  6. Instruction in Civility, Citizenship, and
    Character Education
  7. Health Curriculum
  8. Interpersonal Violence Prevention Education
  9. School Violence Prevention Training
  10. Whistle Blower Protection
  11. Fingerprinting
  12. Assaults on Teachers
  13. Child Abuse Reporting
  14. Prohibiting Silent Resignations
  15. Teacher Discipline
  16. Court Notification
The current climate of the American school system from
pre-K through post graduate studies is in desperate need of teachers who can inspire the hearts of their students. The trappings of bureaucracy must not be allowed to frustrate the ideals of this noble profession. Educators must be renewed and empowered to transform America, one school, one classroom, one student at a time.

Transforming Our Schools:
Security Awareness, Violence Prevention, Character Education

On Saturday, April 14, 2007, the Mid-Hudson Teacher Center, in partnership with the Mid-Hudson Study Council, the SUNY New Paltz School of Education, and the Lower Hudson Teacher Center Network, will be hosting a School Safety and Security conference in Marlboro, New York.

This conference, entitled Transforming Our Schools: Security Awareness, Violence Prevention, Character Education will focus on the "heart" as well as the "brick" aspects of school safety. Attendees are sure to walk away with a renewed enthusiasm for their roles in developing better citizens and leaders for the future of America.

For more information about this conference, click here.

NYS Center for School Safety
Project SAVE Resources
Click here to visit site
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Safe & Drug-Free Schools
Emergency Planning
Click here to visit site

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