education

    Today’s children are glued not only to the television set, but to tablets, computers, and other electronic devices. Millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic to help countless children become avid readers and to improve their language skills.

There is an updated edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook that discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation.

Massachusetts Fair Share

While many kids are preparing for the start of the school, federal budget cuts are leaving some in Massachusetts unsure about what the school year holds.

Test scores for third through eighth graders were released Wednesday, and they show a dramatic drop in the number of New York students who received passing grades.

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

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

    Falling Back is a new book based based on over three years of ethnographic research with black and Latino males on the cusp of adulthood and incarcerated at a rural reform school designed to address “criminal thinking errors” among juvenile drug offenders.

State University at Albany professor Jamie Fader observed these young men as they transitioned back to their urban Philadelphia neighborhoods, resuming their daily lives and struggling to adopt adult masculine roles.

She looks to portray the complexities of human decision-making as these men strove to “fall back,” or avoid reoffending, and become productive adults. Jamie Fader is an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University at Albany, SUNY.

  **Audio to come**

  According to our next guest: public education is in a crisis. Rafe Esquith believes new teachers are quickly turning to alternative career paths and seasoned teachers are burning out after years of dedicated work. He says this comes from increasing pressure from policy-makers and administrators, budget cuts to already underfunded programs, unreliable teacher evaluations, mandated testing, and a myriad of other burdens.

Rafe Esquith, one of America’s most celebrated educators provides an antidote to the problem with his new book: Real Talk for Real Teachers, which he says cuts through the distractions and helps educators focus on what is truly important: TEACHING.

Rafe Esquith has taught at Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles for more than twenty-five years. He is the only teacher to have been awarded the president’s National Medal of the Arts.

   Berkshire Farm Center & Services for Youth is one of New York State’s leading nonprofit child welfare agencies and has a distinguished history of working with children and families for 125 years.

On Thursday, May 23, representatives from the New York State Assembly and the New York State Department of Education joined dozens of school superintendents and agency officials at Questar III BOCES to announce a new partnership to support students, families and young adults in the Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene Counties.

Lenox Public Schools

A Berkshire school district will begin a planning initiative this summer to find new solutions to common problems including declining government funding and student population.

The school committee for Lenox public schools recently voted to begin work on a strategy that will look for ways the district can plan for current and future issues.

    Food is a major part of any successful weekend long festival. Solid Sound will have amazing food (and drink) all weekend long. We’re going to learn now about a couple of individual super-special curated culinary events - the proceeds from which will benefit the education programs here at MASS MoCA.

We are joined by Jodi Joseph, MASS MoCA’s Director of Communications; Nancy Thomas, Owner of Mezze Inc. restaurant group and co-producer of MASS MoCA Culinary Events; and Chris Weld, owner of Berkshire Mountain Distillers.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — New York School districts that saw budgets fail in May will put plans up for new votes Tuesday.  Under the state's tax cap law, school districts have two chances to get budgets passed. If they fail both times, they can't raise taxes at all in the next school year.

A handful of districts are putting the same budgets on the ballot after narrow defeats the first time around.

Other districts made additional cuts in staffing and programs to reduce tax increases.

I've heard it said that if a single person raises an issue, one should listen politely.

Two upstate school districts are planning to file a civil rights complaint this summer  against New York State alleging discrimination in the way state aid is distributed.

BIFF - "Girl Rising"

May 31, 2013

    This Saturday night the documentary Girl Rising will screen at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA as part of The Berkshire International Film Festival. The screening and the following panel discussion is presented in cooperation with the Interdependence Movement and 10×10.

The thesis of Girl Rising is simple: educating girls in the developing world will bring about transformational change. Every day, millions of girls wake to a world that does not see them. But dollar for dollar, they are the best investment in the developing world. 

Girl Rising tells the stories of nine real girls from around the world - girls in Cambodia, India, Nepal, Egypt, Peru, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Sierra Leone. A female writer from each country has written the girl’s story and in the film, each vignette is narrated by an esteemed actress - including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Kerry Washington. That’s 9 countries, 9 girls, 9 writers, and 9 actresses. In between each girl’s story, the filmmakers share statistical information in an engaging manner and those presentations are narrated by Liam Neeson. 

    RPI has a strong program and deep history of music and arts education. In addition to being the home of EMPAC - where we sit today - their School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences provides an imaginative and distinctive approach to Rensselaer’s 200-year old founding mission "to apply science to the common purposes of life." Alan - RPI also has numerous music, dance, and arts clubs - including but not limited to - ballroom dance, street dance, choir, a cappella, improv comedy, sketch comedy, orchestra, pep band, graphic design and public speaking!

More than 95 percent of the school budgets that went before the voters in New York on Tuesday were approved but, those that exceeded the two percent property tax cap did not fare as well. Only about 30 percent of those spending plans were approved. 

The executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, Tim Kremer, tells WAMC's Brian Shields the initial results show 630 school districts budgets were approved with 30 rejected.

Sir Ken Robinson

May 22, 2013

    Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader and advisor in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and business. His 2006 TED Talk about schools killing creativity is the most viewed in TED’s history. In 2011, he was listed as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine.

Education was one of the leading topics discussed Monday when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo convened his cabinet at the state capitol in Albany. There was high optimism regarding Cuomo's New York State Master Teacher program.

The governor proposed the program in his State of the State address in January: SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says it will provide $15,000 each year for four years to math and science teachers who mentor new and aspiring teachers.

The Southern Berkshire Regional School District, which operates in the Berkshire County towns of Sheffield, Alford, Egremont, Monterey, and New Marlborough, recently chose its next superintendent. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard spoke with David Hastings, who is currently employed as the district’s Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator, about his transition into his new role as superintendent that will happen this summer.

    Statistically speaking, most of our youngsters will continue to be educated in mainstream public schools. The good news, as Education Writer David L. Kirp reveals in Improbable Scholars, is that there's a sensible way to rebuild public education and close the achievement gap for all students. Indeed, this is precisely what's happening in a most unlikely place: Union City, New Jersey, a poor, crowded Latino community just across the Hudson from Manhattan.

Michael Thompson

May 14, 2013

    Berkshire Country Day School and the Berkshires Hills Regional School District present an evening with Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. at 7 pm on Wednesday May 15th at Berkshire Country Day School.

In his work, Dr. Thompson has explored the emotional lives of boys, friendships and social cruelty in childhood, the impact of summer camp experiences on child development, the tensions that arise in the parent-teacher relationships, and psychological aspects of school leadership. His latest book Homesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help a Child Grow.

Karen Hitchcock: Passages

May 9, 2013

Each year at this time, thousands and thousands of young people across our country are readying themselves for one of life’s major passages:  graduation from college.  Two-year or four-year, public or private, our nation’s institutions of higher education have, once again, provided a learning experience which has profoundly changed the outlook of and prospects for our nation’s students.  These graduates leave their alma maters more confident, more poised and more knowledgeable. They appear ready to undertake new challenges and new opportunities, to advance their education or to join the world of work.  Most have the maturity necessary to move forward with clarity of purpose and, hopefully, the self-awareness required for personal growth and advancement. They appear, by and large, to be ready to fulfill their own unique potential.

Ben Nelson, former CEO of Snapfish, an online photo service, is determined to stand higher education – at least part of it - on its head.  His goal is a simple one: provide large numbers of intellectually-gifted students with an education which will challenge them and prepare them to be the “thought leaders” of tomorrow.  The approach Mr. Nelson has laid out to do this “breaks the rules” in many ways, and has been variously described as daring and innovative by some, and ineffective, reckless  and over-reaching by others.

Paul Elisha: A Poem for Today's Collegiate Captives

Apr 16, 2013

Lately, this commentator has become acutely aware of a new, completely technologized collegiate generation. So on this Post-Spring-Break day, with the computerized I-Pod.

This week, in classrooms across the state, hundreds of thousands of elementary and middle school students are taking standardized tests – the first tests given by the State Education Department based on the new Common Core learning standards.

twitter.com

Albany, New York is making national headlines again - for all the wrong reasons.

Herbert London: Basic Competencies and The MOOC Surge

Apr 10, 2013

It is difficult to know if MOOC’s (Massive Open On-line Courses) are a conspiracy to undermine the Academy or mankind’s final redemption, a way to open the avenues of higher education. However one sees it, millions of people are already taking on-line courses. There is a revolution taking place driven by technology and cost controls. Where it will end up is anyone’s guess, but ultimately the success of this innovation will depend on measured competencies.

UAlbany logo
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The University at Albany has embarked on a program to strengthen its connections with the community.

UAlbany President Dr. Robert Jones "public engagement" initiative builds on a similar program that advanced the concept at the University of Minnesota, where Jones served most recently as Senior Vice President and spent a total of 33 years in academic and administrative leadership positions.

Education is always one of the main ingredients of the New York State Budget and this year is no exception. The New York State School Boards Association has looked over the spending plan and has found some good work, and a few areas in need of Improvement. Tim Kremer is the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. He spoke today with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

    In his new book, Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today toured an elementary school in one the state’s Gateway Cities, where he also highlighted his plan to make significant investments in public education.

Governor Patrick was led by students through the Silvio Conte Community School in Pittsfield, where he met students, teachers, and administrators.

Governor Patrick addressed the challenges schools in Gateway Cities, like the Silvio Conte Community School face every day, with many students from low-income households and many studying English as a second language.

WAMC

Educators, business leaders, and philanthropists are backing an initiative in Springfield Massachusetts to combat a problem that confounds many urban schools: a  low high school graduation rate.

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