education

Cuomo Demands Non-PC Answers From State Ed Officials

Dec 18, 2014

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to state education officials, saying he wants answers on why 99 percent of teachers scored highly on the most recent evaluations, while other data shows two-thirds of school children performing below acceptable levels in math and English.

The New York state Education Department acted irresponsibly last month when it took the unlikely step of publicly releasing college-specific data on the state’s new teacher certification exams.

Next week, an Assembly Committee will hold a hearing on improving access to financial aid for college students.  One of the issues will be better access for part time community college students, who are the fastest growing group of students.

empirecenter.org

On Election Day next week, New Yorkers will decide three ballot questions. No. 3 is called the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014, a measure from Governor Andrew Cuomo that would allow the state to borrow $2 billion to equip schools with computers, tablets, wireless internet and other technology. But on group think it's a bad idea. EJ McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany, says borrowing isn't the main objection. He says there appears to be no demand from educators.

  The Windsor Mountain School in Lenox, Massachusetts was an ahead of its time boarding school that honored diversity and became the first co-ed integrated boarding school in the Berkshires.

After being a target of the Nazi regime, Max and Gertrud Bondy came to America and opened their school in Windsor, Vermont and later moved to Lenox in 1944.

Families like the Belafontes, Poitiers and Campanellas were attracted to the school for its multi-cultural and international curriculum. Then the school closed in 1975.

  Perhaps no profession is so constantly discussed, regulated, and maligned by non-practitioners as teaching. The voices of the teachers themselves are conspicuously missing.

Defying this trend, teacher and writer Garret Keizer takes us to school in his book, Getting Schooled: The Reeducation of an American Teacher, an arresting account of his return to the same rural Vermont high school where he taught fourteen years ago.

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year.

Karen Magee: Your Vote And Your Voice

Sep 23, 2014

Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit song “Respect” is on my mind these days.

  As a professor at Yale, Bill Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively, and how to find a sense of purpose.

His new book, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation Of The American Elite And The Way To A Meaningful Life, takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee.

Karen Hitchcock: The Many Faces Of The Common Core Debate

Jul 24, 2014

Over the last several months, discussions of the Common Core State Standards have been eclipsed by the public’s reaction to major issues which have arisen in their implementation – issues such as declining student test scores, and the role of such test scores in teacher evaluations, evaluations mandated if a state was to receive its share of federal money from the “Race to the Top” funds. The Common Core, we remember, is a set of standards or goals which has been developed to describe what our students should achieve at various points in their education. Accepted by some 45 states and the District of Columbia, these standards are meant to ensure that our young people will be prepared for whatever futures our rapidly evolving society creates, that they will be college-ready and employment-ready, that they will be globally competitive.

Teacher tenure is one of the most misunderstood concepts in education. Misinformation and outright lies are spread by those who want to take away rights from teachers and destroy teacher unions.

    Cartoonist, Comedian, and Artisanal Pencil Sharpener, David Rees is the host of a new show, Going Deep With David Rees, which premieres tonight on the National Geographic Channel.

In each episode of the show, David and his team consult with experts on how to excel at seemingly simple day-to-day tasks like how to tie your shoes, swat a fly, dig a hole, and, make an ice cube.

The Republican candidate for Governor is petitioning to run on a new ballot line that capitalizes on public opposition to the new Common Core learning standards.

  Now in its twentieth year, PianoSummer at New Paltz is an international summer institute and festival dedicated solely to piano music. It features an integrated approach to learning and performance under the artistic direction of master pianist and teacher Vladimir Feltsman.

Gifted students from around the world join with devoted musicians and teachers to learn more about the art of the piano and, ultimately, more about themselves and their place in the world of music.

PianoSummer takes place July 12th through August 1st.

Karen Hitchcock: In Honor of Dr. James J. Gozzo

Jun 26, 2014

On June 30th, this coming Monday, an era will end at one of the Capital Region’s most respected institutions of higher education, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. President James Gozzo will leave the helm of this exceptional college – turning its leadership over to the new president, Dr. Gregory Dewey. I have been fortunate to have known President Gozzo for virtually all of his 16-year tenure at the college, a college which has been transformed by his presence.

Stephen Gottlieb: For A Better Education

Jun 17, 2014

A recent headline read, “Slow Common Core.” For quite a long time there has been a backlash against anything viewed as “too tough” for our kids. That is a tendency of living in a democracy. Anything tough for our kids is bad but at the same time they have to get a fabulous education that will equip them for life’s challenges. So the solution is teachers who can make everyone learn painlessly. And therefore, if anything goes wrong it’s the teacher’s fault, not the student’s.

Race-based affirmative action had been declining as a factor in university admissions even before the recent spate of related cases arrived at the Supreme Court. Since Ward Connerly kickstarted a state-by-state political mobilization against affirmative action in the mid-1990s, the percentage of four-year public colleges that consider racial or ethnic status in admissions has fallen from 60 percent to 35 percent. Only 45 percent of private colleges still explicitly consider race, with elite schools more likely to do so, although they too have retreated.

For law professor and civil rights activist Sheryll Cashin, this isn’t entirely bad news, because as she argues, affirmative action as currently practiced does little to help disadvantaged people. In Place, Not Race, Cashin reimagines affirmative action and champions place-based policies, arguing that college applicants who have thrived despite exposure to neighborhood or school poverty are deserving of special consideration.

In a recent commentary, I raised the question of whether the United States is losing its global competitiveness in the area of scientific research. And yet, despite the fact that major reductions have been made in our research infrastructure and productivity due to cuts arising from sequestration and over a decade of federal research budgets which have not exceeded inflation, I was startled to learn that “only 38% of Americans feel science [research] is getting too little funding” (reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education article, “Strapped,” February 28, 2014). Why isn’t the message getting out? Why do so few Americans see the risk in falling behind in areas of research critical to understanding disease processes, to addressing environmental issues, to developing alternative energy, and on and on?

    Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York will host Connections 2014 featuring Prof. Joy Ladin at Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany, NY on Thursday, May 15, at 6 p.m.

“Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders” will be the theme of Ladin’s presentation as she shares her Jewish journey through the transition process —not just of changing genders, but of creating a new self.

  Associate Head of the Albany Academy for Girls, Wendy Muhlfelder, and Kim Taylor, Albany Academy Alum, speak with Alan Chartock.

Kim Taylor will back up her husband, James, at a benefit concert for the school’s 200th anniversary this Saturday, May 17th.

NEA

At one point or another, we all had that teacher who demanded more and saw something in us that we could not, or would not see, in ourselves. Good enough wasn’t good enough, and the papers were often handed back covered in red ink. It may have been tough then, but that teacher may welcome your thanks today for setting a higher bar. Today is National Teachers Day, a time to look at the profession and the challenges faced by today’s teachers. Dennis Van Roekel is the president of the 3 million-member National Education Association, who hopes teachers will hear from former students today.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

At least 300 teachers and education advocates picketed outside the venue of an education reform retreat in Lake Placid Sunday. They are upset that no educators were participating in the upscale Camp Philos organized by a group backed by Wall Street hedge fund managers with a goal of privatizing education.

New York state education officials have adopted a safety net for teacher candidates who fail a newly required "bar exam."

The Board of Regents on Tuesday agreed to let student teachers who fail this year or next use a passing score on a previous test as proof they're ready to teach.

Before the Regents vote, any teacher graduating college after May 1 was going to have to pass the bar exam — called the edTPA  — to be certified. The test requires video and written proof of a would-be teacher's skills.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature approved a plan in the state budget to encourage local governments and schools to merge and share services over the next few years in an attempt to lower property taxes.  But according to a study by school administrators, attempts at school district mergers in recent years have failed, partly because the public doesn’t want them.

Karen Magee: Let’s Hit The Re-set Button

Apr 21, 2014

A brief introduction is in order.

My name is Karen Magee. I’m an elementary school teacher from Harrison, and mom to three great kids — the youngest in high school.  My grandmother, Helen, was a member of the International Ladies Garment Workers … and she always told me that a woman’s place is in her union.  Earlier this month, when I became the first woman elected president of New York State United Teachers, I knew that she would be proud.

  America’s higher education system is failing its students. In the space of a generation, we have gone from being the best-educated society in the world to one surpassed by eleven other nations in college graduation rates.

Higher education is evolving into a caste system with separate and unequal tiers that take in students from different socio-economic backgrounds and leave them more unequal than when they first enrolled.

In Degrees of Inequality, acclaimed political scientist Suzanne Mettler explains why the system has gone so horribly wrong and why the American Dream is increasingly out of reach for so many.

CFES College for Every Student

Education experts from across the globe will gather in the Adirondack hamlet of Essex later this week to discuss how to get more low-income students to graduate from college.

vimeo

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino says his three school-aged children won't be participating in new testing standards as part of the Common Core exams starting this week. The Republican candidate for governor of New York released a video statement on his website Monday explaining he made the decision along with his wife Sheila, a special education teacher.

Common Core is being implemented in schools across the country, but it has been heavily criticized by many parents and educators.

Children at school on a computer
Lucelia Ribeiro/Flickr

A new report reveals New York State's public schools are the most segregated in the nation.

The report released Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles used U.S. Department of Education statistics: it noted increasing segregation in the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and New York City metro areas.   It found many black and Latino students attend schools with virtually no white classmates throughout New York.

  This week in our Ideas Matter segment - we’ll learn about Mass Humanities’ Traveling Humanities Seminar to Ghana.

In 1957 Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve political independence and according to World Bank figures, Ghana is experiencing one of the fastest rates of economic growth in the world. While these credentials inspire enthusiasm both in and about the country, in the face of inefficient financial management by successive governments, high budget deficits, an electoral system in need of reform, high unemployment, and low education results per investment, the critics are questioning if free and fair elections alone defines Ghana as a democracy. The Mass Humanities Traveling Humanities Seminar looks at Ghana's emerging democracy.

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