Join us for the last in our special series on education from American RadioWorks. "Rewriting the Sentence: College Behind Bars" explores how providing education to inmates can reduce recidivism.

For decades, the United States' prison population has grown exponentially and today, more than two million Americans are incarcerated. But most people who enter prison eventually come out, and every year about 700,000 prisoners return to society. About half of those released will be back behind bars within three years.

The latest in our series on education, "What it Takes: Chasing Graduation at High Poverty High Schools," examines the reason why nearly 20 percent of students don't finish high school.

There is virtually no way to make a legal living these days without at least a high school diploma. Still, this 20 percent exists. Why?

Another broadcast in our series on education this month, we bring you "Spare the Rod: Reforming School Discipline" this Sunday.

Kids who are suspended or expelled from school are more likely to drop out and more likely to wind up in prison than kids with similar behaviors who are not kicked out. Kids of color are more likely to be suspended or expelled than white kids are. Schools are struggling to reduce suspensions and to find other ways to make sure classrooms are calm and safe.

From American RadioWorks and American Public Media, join us this Sunday for "Stuck at Square One: The Remedial Education Trap."

When students go to college, they expect to be in college classes. But in fact, 4 in 10 students end up in basic math and English, re-learning what they were supposed to learn in high school. The vast majority of them never get a college degree. What's going on? Most people point to failures in the nation's K-12 education system, but this documentary probes deeper, exploring how students are placed into these classes, what skills people really need to be successful in college, and how best to learn those skills.

Women in tech: working to boost the numbers

Feb 13, 2016 / WXXI

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More women are adding terms like coder and game developer to their resumes, but the industry still has a long way to go to reach gender parity.

Meredith Turk

Going back to school is challenging for veterans. The majority who enroll in two or four year colleges across the nation don’t complete their degree. Jefferson Community College in Watertown and SUNY Canton will be awarded over $1 million this year to help more veterans graduate. School administrators say individual attention is key.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State speech was far less combative than in the past when it comes to education. But, education groups say while they are pleased that Cuomo has reversed his previous unpopular positions, they say his school aid funding proposal still falls short.

The governor, who has attacked components of the public school system as an “education bureaucracy” that must be broken, instead stuck to the positive in this year’s State of the State address.

“We will not rest until our K-12 system is the best in the nation,” Cuomo said.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew is to deliver a joint State of the State and budget speech later today, during which the governor is expected to focus on ethics and education policies.

Jason Devaun / Flickr

The Syracuse City School District is revisiting the debate over how far children should have to walk to school. A group representing parents, teachers and students contend that two miles is too far to walk.

Kama Ndbay is a junior at Henninger High School. He’s an honor student and his first class of the day is Advanced Placement English.

“In all my other classes I have a 90 or above," Ndbay said. "But in that class I have an 83.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Boces is expanding their career-embedded programs and opening a new high school in Cortland County. This comes as a high percentage of students in Cortland County attend career and technical education programs.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The leaders of school districts, teachers unions, and parents are presenting a united front in calling for $2.2 billion more school aid next year.  They say a hard property tax cap with a zero percent increase is making it even more crucial that state lawmakers help them out.

xMizLitx / Flickr


Three-quarters of school districts in the state have applied for waivers from the new teacher evaluation rules set out by Gov.Andrew Cuomo and the legislature in March. The news comes amidst lots of changes, including the leadership of the state Board of Regents.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Now that school’s out, the Syracuse City School District will start offering breakfast and lunch to inner city children through its Summer Food Service Program.  But the program doesn’t reach all the children who may be going hungry without that daily breakfast, lunch and snack they get during the school year.

stgermh / Flickr

The chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee says an education tax credit bill pressed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not appropriate for the state at this time.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko is touring schools in central New York this week, looking for ways to strengthen education policy.

It’s a story Katko says he’s heard again and again: federally mandated standardized testing is stifling teaching flexibility, and forcing all children to be taught in a one-size-fits-all curriculum. To make his point at a news conference Tuesday, he read a letter he received from an Onondaga County sixth grader, upset at the way he sees test prep taking over schools.

New York rolls out pocket-size English lessons

Apr 29, 2015
Kenneth Buker / Flickr

Learning a new language is tough. And for immigrant farmworkers, long work days and lack of transportation can pose extra barriers. New York state has an idea to change that. It’s a language lesson that fits in your pocket. Just dial up the state’s new "English on the Go" line from your cell phone. The free lessons are interactive, with audio and text messages.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling the education reforms he was able to get into the just-passed state budget part of an ever-evolving process.

In an interview with The Capitol Pressroom, the Democratic governor says change can be traumatic, but it is necessary. Cuomo was able to convince lawmakers to change the teacher evaluation system, putting more emphasis on testing rather than classroom observations. 

"The only standard metric is going to be the test. The other side, the classroom observations, are going to be different in each classroom," he told host Susan Arbetter.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature are considering a commission to design a new teacher evaluation plan, in order to break an impasse over the state budget. But even some lawmakers admit that the compromise is just kicking the can down the road.

Cuomo has demanded that education policy changes be passed along with the state budget or he’ll hold up school aid increases.

Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank/City of Syracuse

There is disagreement between the Syracuse city council and its school district over just how much of an impact the land bank is having on the district's budget.

The Syracuse public school system projects it will collect nearly a $1 million less this year because of properties acquired by the city’s land bank.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The Syracuse school district could be down a million dollars because of an unintended consequence of vacant properties being sold to the land bank.

Property tax collection is a major source of funding for public schools, but there are thousands of properties in Syracuse that the property taxes aren’t being collected on – either because they’re vacant or the owner isn’t paying. For those properties, the city has been covering the portion that would go to schools out of its own pocket.

Zack Seward / WXXI

The chancellor of New York state’s public higher education system is asking for more funding from state lawmakers to invest in its network of college campuses.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and other public college presidents testified today to a Legislature budget committee. They were joined by hundreds of college students and faculty.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Central New York educators are continuing their fight to get rid of the gap elimination adjustment. The program has been around for five years, initially meant to take funds earmarked for public schools and use them to close a state budget deficit.  Schools say it’s forced them to lay off staff and cut programs.

"For two years in a row now, we’ve had a budget surplus.  Why do we need a gap elimination adjustment?" said Charles Borgognoni, executive director of the Central New York School Boards Association.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued the roll out of his 2015 agenda Tuesday with details of an infrastructure plan that includes upgrading New York City region airports to providing broadband for upstate rural areas.

The governor also offered clues to another key item, education, where he seems determined to take on the status quo.

New course at community colleges: how to fly a drone

Jan 14, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Community colleges in upstate New York are beginning to offer introductory courses to unmanned aircraft, often called drones.

The courses here are just getting off the ground, compared to programs offered at the University of North Dakota and others, where students can major in unmanned aircraft systems.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse school board member Bill Bullen has stepped down after three years in the post. Not having a background as an educator, Bullen says there was a lot to learn when he was elected to the Syracuse Board of Education in 2011.

He says enacting a comprehensive plan for the district’s future goals was a big achievement, as was diminishing the fiscal problems the district faced seemingly each budget year.

Chris Ford / Flickr

The legislative session is off to a subdued start, with the governor’s State of the State message delayed for two weeks. Nevertheless, fault lines are already forming over some key issues, including rent regulations and how to measure teacher performance.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Education will be a big issue in 2015. Lines are already drawn between public school teachers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the charter school movement.

Before the New Year even began, the state’s largest teachers union was already making its displeasure with Cuomo known, by protesting outside the governor’s mansion.

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Karen Magee says teachers are angry over what they see as the governor's increasingly negative view of their union and the public education system in general.  

Ed and Eddie / Flickr

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.