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.


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.