English

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.

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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.

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New York’s school children made incremental progress in math scores, but no gains in English tests, during the second year of Common Core-related exams. Education officials say overall, only around one-third of students actually passed the tests.

In math tests administered to third through eighth graders, just 35.8 percent statewide were considered to meet or exceed the new Common Core standards.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

The Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board approved the removal of six wooden and concrete crosses on the outside of Holy Trinity Church which is being renovated into a mosque. But the controversy overshadowed the mission of the North Side Learning Center, which bought the Syracuse property.

"Salam alaikum everyone! Oh, the classroom is getting packed now!”exclaimed Abdulilah Al-Dubai, one of the founders of the North Side Learning Center. The center has eight classes that teach English to 150 students, who range from age four to 80 and come from more than 20 countries.