teachers

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The Foster Grandparents program in the Syracuse City School District is growing. The expansion of a popular program means more support at a time when it’s needed most.

Jean Rand of Syracuse has been a foster grandparent for three and a half years in a Meacham Elementary second grade classroom. Her presence comes in handy, whether it’s helping someone with math problems or offering a hug during an emotional meltdown.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins is poised to do better than in the past, and possibly better than the left-leaning candidate has ever done in New York.

Hawkins, who’s been running as high as 14 percent in polls in some regions of the state, says New Yorkers on the left are increasingly disenchanted with Cuomo.

The Green Party candidate cites Cuomo’s budget cuts, enacting lowered pension benefits for new state workers and refusal, so far, to ban hydrofracking.

“He’s my best campaign worker, he’s pushing people toward me,” Hawkins said of Cuomo.

Katie Keier / Flickr

The Utica City School District received more than $4 million from the state to increase the number of hours kids are in school during the year, in an effort to increase the district's Common Core test scores. But the district still has to make a lot of decisions before starting the program.

Nine school districts in New York state were named as grant recipients, with Utica receiving the second biggest portion of the $24 million earmarked for the Extended Learning Time Initiative.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse's public school teachers have overwhelmingly said they no longer have the confidence in Sharon Contreras to lead the city's school district.

The president of the Syracuse Teachers Association, the union representing 2,800 teachers in the district, kicked off what turned into a lengthy and raucous board of education meeting Wednesday evening at Dr. King Elementary School.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

A new assessment for students seeking teacher certification in New York state has been causing controversy. Implementation of the educative teacher performance assessment, known as edTPA, has been delayed. But some are saying the assessment still has unresolved issues.

The new assessment was scheduled to become a requirement for teacher certification on May 1. But the New York State Board of Regents made a last-minute decision to implement a safety net for students who fail the edTPA, so they can still earn initial certification.

James F Clay / Flickr

As public school students in New York state sit at their desks today taking the Common Core based English Language Arts tests, a nationally known opponent to the core is in Syracuse. Education Historian Dr. Diane Ravitch spent the day Tuesday at Syracuse University.

Ravitch, who has written about the issues and is the author of a very popular anti-Common Core blog, doesn’t have anything good to say about the new, more rigorous curriculum that’s taken over New York state classrooms. First there’s the way it was conceived.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Almost three dozen speakers fired questions at state Education Commissioner John King and other state officials in Fayetteville Tuesday, during the latest central New York forum on the new Common Core curriculum. Most of the complaints about the more rigorous curriculum have been heard before, but the bigger question now is if anything can be changed.

The debate over common core ranges from timing...

"Why were the assessments not phased in, in a more deliberate manner?"

To the impact of poverty on education...

knittymarie/flickr

The school year starts for New York children this week and next week. It comes amid concerns regarding low test scores for many of the state’s students, and harsh rhetoric from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he wants a “death penalty” option for dealing with failing schools.  

Most of the state’s school children did not measure up in new tests administered last year. Only 31% passed the new math and English exams, according to the State Education Department. Numbers were higher in suburban schools and lower in urban and rural areas.

Test scores for third through eighth graders were released Wednesday and they show a dramatic drop in the number of New York state students who are considered proficient in math and English.

Less than one-third of students in the third through eighth grade, around 31 percent, passed the new math and English exams given for the first time this year, says Regents Chancellor Merrill Tisch, who made the announcement on a conference call.

“As anticipated, the scores we are announcing today are significantly lower,” Tisch said.

Gates Foundation

It’s an initiative that aims to boost student interest in Science, Technology, Math and Engineering across the state. The Master Teachers program also hopes to ensure teachers perform at their highest level.

More than 250 current math and science teachers will be chosen from the Mid-Hudson, North Country, central New York and western New York regions to participate in the program, where they’ll mentor undergraduate education students and early career teachers.

Projections unveiled at the Syracuse City School District budget meeting last night could push the total number of positions the district has eliminated since 2009 to more than 1,000.