teachers

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It may have been the most momentous sausage sandwich moment at the New York State Fair since Senate candidate Rick Lazio refused to eat the state fair staple the year he ran against Hillary Clinton. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul bought a sandwich for one of the protesting teachers trailing her on the fairgrounds opening day Thursday.

Dozens of educators dogged Hochul around the fairgrounds yesterday chanting and repeating many of the concerns they’ve had about the Cuomo administration’s education policy for years now. And communication seems to be a big part of the dispute.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York state’s new education commissioner, in her first address since beginning the job just over one week ago, told the rural schools association meeting in Cooperstown, that she intends to be more inclusive to teachers. 

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

Efforts to raise expectations for New York’s teachers have stalled. In 2014, the state rolled out four new, tougher teacher certification tests. But last week the state delayed the requirement.

The Board of Regents cited low pass rates on the new tests as reason for the delay. So they created a “safety net.” Until next June, teachers who fail to pass the new exams can get certified in other ways. The state wants to give would-be teachers more time to adjust.

But SUNY Cortland School of Education dean Andrea LaChance doesn't want to adjust.

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. 

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.   

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Teachers from the Finger Lakes traveled to Albany Friday to deliver 1,000 local apples to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The purpose was not to share in the bounty of the agricultural region, but to make a point about what they say is the governor’s lack of commitment to school spending.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at his lowest ranking since taking office, with signs that the governor’s feud with the teacher’s union is taking a toll.

Cuomo’s job approval rating stands at 50 percent, down 8 points just from last December, before the legislative session began and the governor began a more public feud with the state’s teachers unions, says Quinnipiac University spokesman Mickey Carroll.

“It’s not very good,” said Carroll. “A governor should do better than 50."

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.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

In addition to attending his father’s funeral, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will also be preparing for a State of the State address over the next several days.

The governor had scheduled to deliver the annual speech on Jan. 7, the day the legislature returns to session, as is traditional. But the governor and legislative leaders agreed to postpone the State of the State to Jan. 21 because of the extenuating circumstances of former Gov. Mario Cuomo's death.

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.