education

National Council on Teacher Equality

A new report from a national advocacy group gives New York improved grades for policies that support effective teaching.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Council on Teacher Quality has released its seventh annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook, which includes a 360-degree analysis of every state law, rule and regulation that shapes the effectiveness of the teaching profession in New York.

      We are very happy to continue our weekly feature on the RT, entitled – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter. This morning we spotlight Hartford Heritage Project and place-based education with the Connecticut Humanities Council.

Joining us is Dr. Jeffrey Partridge, Chair of the Humanities Department at Captital Community College, in Hartford CT.

    Based on author Barbara Diane Barry’s popular course Art for Self-Discovery and supported by research in psychology and the science of brain function her book: Painting Your Way Out of a Corner guides readers through the process of overcoming blocks and expressing themselves freely in painting.

Through a series of exercises that emphasize improvisation and risk-taking, readers will learn how to quiet their inner critics and strengthen their creativity. The more we learn to play and accept whatever appears on the page, the more we are able to try new things in life.

Barbara Diane Barry is an artist and art teacher in New York City. Under the educational outreach program at Symphony Space, she teaches in public schools throughout NYC's five boroughs and gives tours in the city’s finest museums.

    David Menasche lived for his work as a high school English teacher. When a six-year battle with brain cancer ultimately stole David’s vision, memory, mobility, and—most tragically of all—his ability to continue teaching, he was devastated by the thought that he would no longer have the chance to impact his students’ lives each day.

Jared Benedict

A new bill introduced in the New York State Assembly will create funding to include Pre-K students as part of transportation aid that is received by school districts for K-12 students.

Legislation introduced  by 109th district Assemblywoman Pat Fahy would bring parity for Pre-K transportation by providing state aid to public school districts as is now provided for K-12 education.

School Funding Rally Draws Hundreds To Albany

Jan 14, 2014

Hundreds of school children, parents and union members held a rally and sit-in at the State Capitol in Albany to build momentum for more spending on schools in the state budget Tuesday.

Education advocates in New York State have a full plate going into the next legislative session. Students in the United States ranked 36th among nations in mathematics, reading and science, according to the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment. The test, given to half a million 15- and 16-year-olds worldwide every three years, is regarded as a leading survey of education systems a snapshot of the global state of education.  Young people in Shanghai scored highest of all tested.

Listener Essay - Embarrassed

Dec 4, 2013

  Julie Evans lives in Woodstock where she spends most of her time trying to figure things out. She is a writer, personal mentor, host of the television program Just Say So and an adjunct instructor for Empire State College. She has just completed her memoir entitled Joy Road.

The Data Quality Campaign, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that advocates for high-quality data, has released a paper showing how far states have come in developing and using the data.

    In 2008, Oscar-nominated film director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs) decided to take an active role in helping fix what’s wrong in American public education.

He learned that there are five keys to closing America’s achievement gap. But just as we must do several things to maintain good health— eat the right foods, exercise regularly, get a good night’s sleep—so too must we use all five keys to turn around our lowest-performing schools. These five keys are used by all the schools that are succeeding, and no schools are succeeding without them. He joins us to tell us more.

Malalai Joya

Oct 9, 2013

Malalai Joya was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2010. An extraordinary young woman raised in the refugee camps of Iran and Pakistan, Joya became a teacher in secret girls’ schools, hiding her books under her burqa so the Taliban couldn’t find them.

She helped establish a free medical clinic and orphanage in her impoverished home province; and at a constitutional assembly in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003, she stood up and denounced her country’s powerful NATO-backed warlords. She was twenty-five years old.

Two years later, she became the youngest person elected to Afghanistan’s new Parliament. In 2007, she was suspended from Parliament for her persistent criticism of the warlords and drug barons.

Malalai Joya has a pair of events in our region today. She will be speaking tonight at 7:00 pm at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany on Washington Avenue and at 1:00 pm at the Bush Memorial Auditorium at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the state’s Secretary of Education heard concerns from about 15 Pittsfield High School students today.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick held a cabinet meeting and made stops in the western part of the state today.

Tim Bizony is a letter press operator and one of the workers Governor Patrick spoke with at the Crane & Company Stationary site in North Adams.

“He was genuinely interested in what I do,” Bizony said. “He was fascinated by the machine. He asked a lot of questions and I was glad I was able to answer them for him.”

In recent weeks, there has been much reaction, both positive and negative, to President Obama’s plan to make college more affordable. The plan involves creating a ratings system for colleges and universities based on access, affordability and a variety of outcome measures and, eventually, linking levels of federal student aid to these measures. In order to implement such a ratings system, accurate data would need to be collected in such areas as tuition levels, graduation rates, student demographics and graduates’  earnings – a tall order, indeed, as one contemplates the extreme diversity of our nation’s system of higher education.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

With college students across the country back on campus, those at a western Massachusetts school are heading into brand new classrooms.

    Flying Deer Nature Center is a wilderness school in New Lebanon, NY that has been connecting children and adults to nature and community since 1996. They offer school programs, programming for homeschooled children, adult programs in animal tracking, bird language, women’s retreats and more.

Executive Director Michelle Apland and Programs Director Devin Franklin join us to tell us more.

    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.

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