Education

News, trends, and analysis related to higher education and grade school districts.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, gave the commencement speech at Le Moyne College on Sunday. Dolan's visit has been marked with controversy.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston / Flickr

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of New York, is expected to speak at LeMoyne College's graduation ceremony Sunday, but some students won't be listening. They aren't happy with the choice of Dolan as commencement speaker. 

Sarah Harris / NCPR

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said it again and again, universal pre-kindergarten is a big priority. Last year, the legislature approved a $340 million program to increase public, full-day pre-K access. But only one school district in the North Country received the grant for pre-K funding.

Canton Elementary School principal Joe McDonough says pre-K isn’t just fun. It’s essential for kids’ development.

"People come to school even at the ripe old age of four with a variety of experiences and levels of knowledge and skills," McDonough said. 

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls universal pre-kindergarten one of his big priorities, and last year state lawmakers approved a big grant program to increase full-day pre-K slots. It’s $340 million a year for five years. That grant just got approved for its second round, but the first year brought mixed results.

Sean MacEntee / Flicr

 

A bill introduced this week in Congress tackles student privacy online. It would limit how educational technology companies can use the data they collect. In New York, similar rules are already in place, and they’re at work every day at one upstate school where technology is everywhere.

Sarah Latimer directs technology at Chenango Valley schools, and she thinks about privacy a lot.

“We’ve kind of had that conversation ongoing in New York for a little while now,” she says. “It’s been a very hot topic.”

SUNY ESF

Some SUNY ESF students are hoping neighbors in the eastern portion of Cortland County can help them find a balloon that was part of a science experiment that went awry. 

Students launched a high altitude balloon for a nationwide contest on Wednesday.

Alyssa Endres, a student in the Environmental Resource Engineering Department, said it was supposed to explode when it got high enough.

www.urmc.rochester.edu

Without additional state funding, New York medical school officials say they won’t be able to attract or keep world class researchers. Albany lawmakers have rejected their $50 million request to fund recruitment and retention efforts. 

New York’s medical research institutions say they can’t compete with the funds out-of-state universities are using to lure the nation’s top research talent.

JECO photo / via Flickr

College graduation season is nearing and along with finding a job, student debt is also on grad’s minds. One program New York is hoping will help and keep those grads in the state.

Upstate New York is known for its idyllic college campuses, but its towns and cities struggle to keep those young people around once they graduate, as they’re drawn away by jobs and more trendy cities.

timlewisnm / Flickr

The move to refuse the state standardized tests scheduled for later this week is getting more vocal, as test dates approach for children in third through eighth grades. Teachers unions, and some parent organizations are organizing opt out sessions and email blasts meant to let families know how to refuse the tests that start Tuesday. For one Central New York family, keeping their children from taking the test sends a message to Albany about a complicated issue they say, goes deeper than using tests to measure teachers performance. 

Ed and Eddie / Flickr

Education reforms were one of the most contentious parts of this year's state budget. But while most of the attention went to negotiations about teacher evaluations and standardized tests, new policies also were put in place for dealing with failing schools. 

New York State Reporting Project

For more than twenty years, the Young Scholars Liberty Partnership Program has taken kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and given them a fighting chance to earn a high school diploma and more. Of the 40 Liberty Partnerships located in the state of New York, Utica is one the largest with about 350 students enrolled a year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

This budget season in Albany has further eroded the relationship between teachers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

When Cuomo linked school reform to school spending in this year’s budget process, it ratcheted up the rancor from teachers, school districts and some parents across the state.   

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.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The secretary of defense says Syracuse University’s veterans and military families program is doing "path-breaking" work not being replicated anywhere in the country.

A visit to Syracuse University and its Institute for Veterans and Military Families was the final stop on Secretary Carter’s first domestic trip since taking over the Defense Department in February. He visited Fort Drum on Monday, where he said the base isn't going anywhere.

timlewisnm / Flickr

A parents organization in the Westhill School District in Onondaga County is asking families to consider having their third through eighth graders refuse to take the next round of state english and math tests.  The group called Westhill Elementary Schools Together, or "WEST," is concerned about the way the tests are constructed and potentially used by the state in connection with teacher evaluations.  

Cyndi Hynes' two children took the state English language arts and math tests last spring.  This year they are opting out.

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.

Four new members join NY Board Of Regents

Mar 11, 2015
New York City Department of Education/via Facebook

New York’s Board of Regents has four new members, after an election Tuesday by the state Assembly and Senate.

Beverly Ouderkirk, Catherine Collins, Judith Johnson and Judith Chin are joining the board, which oversees education policy at New York state public schools and colleges.

Six regents were up for reelection this year, but only three of them kept their seats. That’s unlike last year when all but one of the incumbents got reelected. This year there was also an empty seat on the board, so in all, there are four new members.

State education boards: Who's got the power?

Mar 9, 2015

When New York legislators vote on seven new Board of Regents members on March 10, they’ll act out a vision that dates back to 1784. That’s when the state formed its Board of Regents, which supervises almost every facet of school instruction.

New York chose an unusual method for selecting new regents: a vote by both houses of the legislature, with no input from the governor.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) stopped at college campuses across upstate New York Monday, continuing her push to get support for a bill that would combat sexual violence on college campuses. Her last stop was at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

When Meaghan Greeley was sexually assaulted on a college campus six years ago, there wasn’t much help for her.

"There were no confidential advocates to turn to for support. The administrators or staff members I sought guidance from had never received any training in how to advise me or support me,” said Greeley.

Gillibrand targets college sexual assault

Feb 27, 2015
Credit Andrew Dallos / via Flickr

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would hold colleges accountable for sexual assaults.

She says that under the current system, colleges have incentives to hush up assaults. They’re bad publicity and scare away prospective students. Her bill aims to change that. It creates a national anonymous survey for students to report sexual assaults. Results for each college would be public online.

The State University of New York is among those making a pitch to get some of the state’s $5 billion windfall from the bank settlements.

Presidents from SUNY schools across the state say they are asking the New York State Legislature to “step up and invest in SUNY.”  

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.

Gillibrand advocates for more comprehensive food programs

Feb 24, 2015
bookgrl / Flickr

It may be the dead of winter, but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is thinking about summer. At Binghamton High School Monday, Gillibrand touted her new bill that would expand access to meal programs for students during summer vacation.

The move comes ahead of congressional debate on nutrition standards at schools and would ensure needy students three meals a day during the summer.

Most public school teachers are feeling embattled these days, with public criticisms of their effectiveness and calls for tougher evaluations and promotion criteria.  At the same time, public schools in poorer districts are being asked to do more and more to help address the broader social and economic problems manifesting themselves among school populations.  How are teachers experiencing these challenges?  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher speaks with Kevin Ahern, a product of the Syracuse City school system, a longtime English teacher in the system, and currently President of the Syracuse Teachers Association.

Colleen / via Flickr

Education is one of the biggest issues being debated this year in Albany. Now, Gov.

GED switch deters some test-takers

Feb 12, 2015
Credit The TASC Test/via Facebook

  Results are in for the first year of New York state’s new replacement for the GED. The goal of the new test is to lower costs and gradually phases in national Common Core standards.

New York replaced the GED because the test’s price tag was set to double this year. The new test gives students the same credentials – the equivalent of a high school diploma. Statewide pass rates are down by four percent after the switch, compared to 2012. The number of test-takers also fell by half.

stgermh / Flickr

Supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education tax credit were at the Capitol to persuade lawmakers that the credit, which would benefit donors to private and charter schools, should be approved as part of the state budget.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New York educators are galvanizing support as they oppose Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed education policy.

Cuomo is proposing sweeping education reforms as part of his 2015 budget. They include stricter teacher evaluations, tougher tenure rules and expansion of charter schools. In his State of the State message, he tied it all together with money.

"If the legislature passes these reforms, I propose a 4.8 percent increase in the budget. A $1.1 billion investment in education, because it will be the right education system," Cuomo said.

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.

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