education

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New York state is sitting on a more than $5 billion budget windfall that it received from several recent bank settlements, but has yet to decide what to do with that money. One Mohawk Valley assemblyman says some should be used to end the state's Gap Elimination Adjustment for school districts.

Since his election in the fall of 2011, Utica-area Democrat Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi has thrown his weight behind promoting education.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

School lunches have changed dramatically in recent years in because of the federal government’s Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, meant to curb childhood obesity. Portion sizes, calories and salt have been cut; whole grains, fruits and vegetables have been added. And now one central New York School district is bracing for the next changes.

James F Clay / Flickr

The New York State Educational Conference Board says now that the economy is improving and the state has a multi-billion dollar surplus, it’s time to end years of what they say is underspending on New York’s schools.

The board is made up of the state’s teachers, school boards, superintendents and the PTA, among others. They agree school spending must increase significantly in the new year. Chairman John Yagielski says the groups want an additional $1.9 billion for the 2015-16 school year.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

From the Habib family’s front door in their Strathmore neighborhood home, they can see Roberts Elementary School. But instead of crossing the street to school on this drizzly fall morning, six-year-old Jackson and his mom, Mary, are standing on the corner waiting for the bus.

While waiting, Mary prods Jackson to shows off the Spanish he’s learning so far in the school he chose to go to, instead of Roberts. He counts to seven, but then admits gym is actually his favorite subject.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins is joining the growing criticism of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a comment Cuomo made about teachers. The governor said the public education system is a monopoly.

Earlier this week, Cuomo told the New York Daily News the state’s public education system is the last great public monopoly. He says he’ll try to push for a new round of teacher evaluations if reelected.

Katie Keier / Flickr

The Nov. 4 ballot includes an amendment to borrow $2 billion to buy new technology for school children, like iPads and other tablets. Fiscal watchdogs are against it and the reaction of the education community has been lukewarm. But with one week left to go before Election Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who came up with idea, has finally started to push for it.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Green Party candidate for governor, Howie Hawkins, doesn’t just want to do away with the Common Core education curriculum, but as much standardized testing as possible.

That dislike for Common Core is one of the few things Hawkins and Republicans can agree on. Both he and the GOP candidate for governor, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, want to see the national benchmarks for English and math learning be revoked.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

This time last year, Cayuga Community College had serious financial issues. Now the college's bank accounts are increasing and CCC is set to grow in other ways.

During a recent Oswego County Legislature meeting, Cayuga Community College's Interim President Gregory DeCinque says the college has shown growth since he took over nine months ago.

ECC.edu

When do students fall in love with science and technology? Turns out, it’s at a pretty young age.

"Most people who turn out to be scientists or engineers or mathematicians, originally got interested in elementary school; somewhere between grades K through 6," said Dr. Philip Sadler.

Sadler studies students’ interests in the field known as STEM - science, technology, engineering and math – for his work at Harvard University.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse University showed off an $18 million renovation of the Newhouse 2 building on campus with arguably one of the most successful television personalities in the country cutting the ribbon.

"Let the new generation of innovation come forth," said long-time talk show host Oprah Winfrey to those standing beside her. "One, two, three. Cut!"
 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Parental pressure was a major part of Walter Broadnax staying in school – and then doing well. He went on to serve as a policy expert for two different presidential administrations.

Success in education is the responsibility of more than just the student, he says now.

His father was the one that was strict about him staying in school, while his mother also usually had some sharp advice.

He recently spoke to a group of Fowler High School students in Syracuse as part of a national effort for African American leaders to give back to schools.

ACR Health Prevention Services in Syracuse is looking for ways to reduce HIV and hepatitis C infection rates in New York state prisons.

According to federal statistics, inmates have the highest rate of HIV in New York, compared to any other state, and many of those inmates are  co-infected with hepatitis C. To fight that, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS has a campaign that emphasizes public awareness, education and access to testing and treatment.  

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Community leaders, business representatives and educators met in Oswego recently to discuss ways to reduce bullying in schools and provide students with the tools to become successful citizens. The "Inspire 14" program was hosted by the non-profit organization Wisdom Thinkers Network, and attempts to prepare children for the future through story telling.

Ralph Singh, chairman of the Wisdom Thinkers Network, says the program fosters collaboration between students and their communities.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A new era officially begins at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse this weekend. Quentin Wheeler will be inaugurated as the school’s fourth president. Wheeler sees ESF fitting into a world where environmental issues are moving closer toward the forefront.

Wheeler, a biologist who specializes in bugs and biodiversity, comes to ESF after stints at Arizona State University and Cornell. And that biodiversity background bubbles up when he talks about the future of Earth.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse public school district has released new guidelines for disciplining its students. It’s getting positive marks from district teachers and principals.

A student pulling the fire alarm has become a well-discussed example as the district spent seven months reworking its code of conduct.

The district has put more emphasis on restorative over punitive discipline. That means considering the situation in which a student pulled an alarm.

A 50-member task force has broken discipline into three-tiers, with more focus on discussion and keeping students in school.

.brsolo. / via Flickr

The level of adult illiteracy in Onondaga County has held steady at just above the national average for the past several years. Nearly 1-in-5 adults in central New York can’t read and write beyond an elementary school level.

But it’s not all immigrants taking up English as a second language. There are just has many adults who graduated high school but could never read as well as they should.

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

All through September join us as we present a series of education related radio documentaries from American Radioworks. Here is a look at the shows coming up.

September 7 - The Science of Smart

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Big yellow buses are hitting the roads across the state today as school begins again and police departments in the region are asking drivers to look out for them.

Law enforcement officials are pleading with commuters to drive slow and be careful around schools and busses. After the long summer break, it’s a habit drivers may not be used to on their commutes.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Some Syracuse public school students started the new school year this week in an entirely new schools aimed at turning around struggling academic buildings.

In the basement of Hughes Elementary School, Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras greeted students at the new Syracuse Latin magnet school. Its liberal arts heavy curriculum is being phased in first at the kindergarten and first grade levels.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Three new schools in the Syracuse City School District will be opening their doors on Tuesday for the first day of classes.

Delaware Primary and the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler are the new iterations of Fowler High School and Delaware Elementary, which were closed after failing to raise academic performance over the last three years.

A third school that will be phased out because of poor performance is Hughes Elementary. That school will be replaced by the Syracuse Latin School, which will cater to gifted and talented students.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr

New York voters will decide in November whether the state should borrow $2 billion for new technology, including iPads, in school classrooms. Teachers and school administrators who could benefit from the funds say they are supportive, but want to see more details.

The Bond Act, as it reads on the November ballot, would provide access to classroom technology and high-speed Internet connections, as well as offer funds to build more pre-kindergarten classrooms and replace the trailers that some overcrowded schools in New York City have been using to teach students.

SUNY Oswego/Facebook

Eight months after submitting its first draft proposal for the Start-Up NY Program, SUNY Oswego can finally start approving prospective businesses that would like to create jobs on its campus.

Pam Caraccioli, with SUNY Oswego, says the college is targeting technology-based companies, including those working in robotics, computers and high-tech manufacturing.

“That’s been our goal from the beginning,” Caraccioli said. “To really, really try to tie into the industry sectors that are also being targeted by the economic development leaders in our entire region.”

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Hundreds of people came to Oswego's Nine Mile Point Nuclear Learning Center to get a better understanding of how the power plants work and what employees do each day to keep the plant working properly.

The event allowed visitors, including nine-year-old Ethann Browne, to see first hand how employees are trained in its two reactor simulators.

"I already like researching nuclear power and learning much about it, but I'm here today to learn more about nuclear power from the professionals."
 

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

At the Baldwinsville School District’s administrative office, Superintendent David Hamilton works from an office filled with reclaimed furniture. He says a fancy office chair doesn’t help teach students biology.

Hamilton says that sort of frugality is what helped Baldwinsville score one of the best “bang for the buck” ratings in a recent report by the Center for American Progress. It ranked high on a spending to test score ratio.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse public school district and the state attorney general's office say they've reached a settlement to curb the district's alarmingly high suspension rate.

The district will amend its code of conduct under the agreement. 

The attorney general's civil rights office launched its investigation in October 2013, after several complaints.

SU News Services

A Syracuse University professor will be spending the next several months thinking about death, as part of a grant by the Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside.

SU's Philosophy Department Chairman Ben Bradley will lead the research into a topic not many people want to talk about - death. He says the focus will be on the emotions and attitudes people have about their own death.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Updated, 1:55 p.m. with comment from superintendent:

The first meeting between the president of the Syracuse teachers' union and the superintendent of the school system since their relationship publicly disintegrated last week has been called "productive."

Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern and Superintendent Sharon Contreras met Friday morning under the invitation of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Some things are better taught outside the school system. That's Paul Green's theory on education. Green isn’t a professional educator, but he’s made music education his life.

The 41-year-old is the founder and owner Paul Green Rock Academy where kids age 8 to 18 learn to rock.

James F Clay / Flickr

A tentative agreement has been reached by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to put off the effects of the controversial Common Core tests on teachers for another two years.

Earlier this year the Democratic governor and the legislature imposed a moratorium on the Common Core tests effects on students, now that postponement moratorium extends to teachers who received poor ratings on their annual evaluations as a result of low scores by students on the controversial new tests.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse school district says it's already working to improve discipline with the city's public schools as the state attorney general investigates its practices.

The attorney general's offices launched an investigation in December into potentially overly harsh punishment of minority and disabled students in the Syracuse school system,

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