In the latest Innovation Trail report for New York NOW, we're taking a look at STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in the Capital Region. High-tech multinational companies have moved into the area and they're hiring. Meanwhile some local school districts are struggling with graduation rates around 50 percent.
The Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) received good news last year: its four-year graduation rate rose by seven percent. Still, nearly half the district’s high school students failed to earn a diploma. The struggling urban school system continues to look for dramatic fixes. This year, the district is starting in kindergarten.
Instead of trying to have as much pre-college life fun as possible, or maybe earning some spending cash for the upcoming semester, one of group of college-bound Syracuse teens spent the summer months getting a head start on college. They were rewarded for their efforts during a small ceremony at Onondaga Community College (OCC), where the 29 students are currently hitting the books, with a small ceremony.
As students settle into the new school year, the first phase of a new statewide anti-bullying law is already in place. More children will now be protected, and more will be required of school districts.
The graduation rate in the Syracuse City School District continues to be one of the worst in the state, with less than half the students getting their diplomas after four years of school. Technical education programs may be a solution.
As the school year starts, many school districts across the state still need to grapple with the issue of a teacher evaluation system, especially if they want to continue to receive state aid. Only a small percentage of the state's schools have turned in an evaluation plan the state is happy with so far.
The Syracuse City School District now has a blue print for the next five years, that administrators hope will take it from being one of the poorest performing districts to one of the most improved urban school districts in America. The plan calls for changes across the board.
The state commission that is supposed to come up with answers to the problems in public education in New York is in the midst of a statewide fact-finding tour. They are getting an earful about how to improve schools, including when they came through central New York Tuesday.
Expanding pre-kindergarten and spreading resources evenly among schools around the state are some of the major suggestions.