The resignation of John King as New York State Education Commissioner has the potential to be a significant turning point for public education.
King’s departure presents a real opportunity – an opportunity NOT to criticize anew but to, instead, hit the “reset” button and steer public education in a more positive direction.
Teachers want a serious conversation about what’s needed in this next chapter for the state’s public education system. And, they want to be a part of that conversation with the Regents and other stakeholders.
Here are my fearless predictions for the coming year. Remember the rules. These can be things that I don’t want to see happen and so I hope to put the whammy on them by predicting them. They can also be things that I do want to happen, so I predict them in order to help make them happen. Then, there are those predictions that I really do think will happen. I leave it to you, dear readers, to figure out which is which.
More than a few middle aged adults would like nothing more than to go back to college. Jim Harbaugh, current head football coach of the San Francisco 49ers, knows all about that. He is currently being courted by his alma matter the University of Michigan to come on home. While no official offer is extended, at least none that's hit the press, the Wolverines reportedly would offer $48 million over six years to resurrect a program with more problems than answers. While their rival Ohio State enters the inaugural college football playoff this winter, Michigan is staring up at most of the rest of the Big 10. In Harbaugh, they seek a savior at a place that demands salvation.
I’m writing this after a party for what Persians call Yalda, the winter soltice. There is a significant Persian community in this area, refugees, immigrants and students. This group was put together by the Alaei brothers. They are the doctors who were imprisoned in Iran for the temerity of trying to treat people with Aids and discussing the best techniques for doing it with other doctors around the globe. When he was released, Kamiar came here to Albany to finish his doctorate at the School of Public Health. We spent the better part of a year praying for the release of his brother Arash and as soon as he was released he joined Kamiar here in Albany. They have now been joined by their sister and Kamiar by his bride.
The big news last week was the decision by the Cuomo Administration to prohibit the controversial high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking is a technology that allows for drilling for oil and gas reserves that had been inaccessible until the development of this new technology. Not surprisingly, large, industrial scale oil and gas drilling has serious environmental and public health implications.
The recent events in Ferguson, Cleveland, Staten Island, and elsewhere only serve to emphasize the content and significance of a powerful new documentary that has just earned theatrical play. It is TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER, and it is directed by veteran documentarian Nick Broomfield.