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Education Reform

Schoolbook

Students Urge Teachers to Embrace Digital Tools

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Students at an education conference said it was time to tear down the wall between their digital lives outside of school and in school, where much access to technology is restricted.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Teacher Certification Changes

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New York is joining other states in reworking the way it certifies teachers, emphasizing classroom evaluation over written exams. Gotham Schools managing editor Philissa Cramer talks about the changes. Teachers, what do you make of the changes? How were you evaluated, and was it effective? What's the best way to decide who gets to teach? Call 212-433-9692 or post here!

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The Brian Lehrer Show

New Jersey Spending and School Reform

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Jersey Public Radio Managing Editor Nancy Solomon will discuss Governor Chris Christie's state spending proposal. Then, she'll be joined by Sara Neufeld, a Brooklyn-based writer who's been covering public education for the past 12 years, to talk about NJPR's investigation into New Jersey public school reform through the lens of one school in Newark.

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Schoolbook

Mayoral Candidates: Beware the Circling Vultures

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A former deputy schools chancellor writes: 'For the first time in nearly two decades, the next mayor will likely be a Democrat. As a life-long registered Democrat, I look forward to that prospect. However, there are vultures circling this contest who would once again reduce our schools to the patronage mills of yesteryear, when no one was accountable for what happened to our kids.'

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Schoolbook

Dear Reformers: Teachers Are Neither Heroes Nor Zeroes

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Queens English teacher writes: Dear education reformers, I humbly submit that teachers are not the Zeroes you make us out to be. Nor are we all Heroes. We rarely confront fire-breathing dragons, but we do face off against hormone-engorged adolescents. We don't pull swords from stones, but we do pull thoughtful answers from reluctant learners. And we do face off against 'poverty, hunger, discrimination, abuse, bullying and neglect. Sometimes, we even win.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Michelle Rhee's Education Reform

Friday, April 13, 2012

Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the Washington DC school system and now the head of Students First NY, talks about the new New York State advocacy group she's founded that's being described as a counter to the teachers' union. 

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Schoolbook

StudentsFirstNY Announces Itself

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

StudentsFirstNY, the new political group formed by leaders of the education reform movement like Joel I. Klein and Michelle Rhee, officially announced its arrival on Wednesday morning.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Chuck Malloy, Superintendent of the Unatego School District and Martin Messner, a teacher in the Schoharie Central School District and Teacher Assocation President will join us to highlight the challenges facing rural and smaller-city school districts.

Anschutz Explorations Attorney Tom West discusses the recent Dryden ruling on Home Rule.

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Chairman of the Codes Committee has concerns about the so-called "Quick Kill" bill and protecting shelter animals

And Pedro Noguera shares the reasons behind his resignation several weeks ago from the SUNY Board of Trustees.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

How will Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann go about creating the Congressional maps that Albany lawmakers failed to agree on by March 12th? What criteria should inform her decision-making? Will she work from previous maps, or start from scratch? To what extent will incumbency be a factor? Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner has some thoughts on the subject.

New York Gaming Association President James Featherstonhaugh on enhanced casino gambling.

Keith Pickett, the Executive Director of the Center for Problem Gambling on enhanced casino gambling and its relationship to problem gambling.

Former Special Counsel to Governor David Paterson, Peter Kiernan shares a look back at some of the political calculations made at the very beginning of the hydrofracking debate in New York State. Kiernan is participating in today’s ‘standing-room only’ Warren Anderson Breakfast conversation on the issue in the Capitol’s Assembly Parlor from 8am – 9am.

And Marina Marcou-O'Malley, Policy Analyst for Alliance for Quality Education and Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, join us with yet another reason why pre-k education should be fully funded.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

Cuomo Ready to Step in With Teacher Evaluation Plan

Monday, February 13, 2012

By WNYC's Yasmeen Khan

Courtesy of the Governor's office

Governor Cuomo says he's working on his own version of an evaluation system for teachers and principals in the event that the state and its largest teachers’ union cannot work out a deal by Thursday, the deadline for submitting amendments to his budget proposal. He said he would impose his own evaluation plan in an amendment to the budget, which ties state aid to schools to the "implementation of an enhanced teacher evaluation process."

Cuomo spoke about the idea to Susan Arbetter on WCNY's program, "The Capitol Pressroom." He did not give specifics about what his plan would look like, but he did say it would include ideas outlined in a letter to the Board of Regents in May 2011.

The governor also said he would make an effort to streamline the existing law outlining teacher evaluations.

"It's a very complicated law right now--what's done by the local districts, what's done by the state education department, how many different criteria are there for evaluation," he said.

The governor does support tying student performance on standardized tests to teacher evaluations. That issue has been a sticking point in negotiations between the New York State United Teachers union and the education department.

More than 1,300 principals across New York have also signed a letter objecting to the use of student test scores in the new evaluation system, saying regulations developed by the state give undue weight to student performance on those tests.

New York state also agreed to implement a new teacher evaluation system in order to receive $700 million in federal Race to the Top funds.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

If you're involved in the education reform movement, you've probably heard of Valerie Babb. She is the Director of the Charter Parent Action Network at New York City Charter School Center. City & State named her one of their 40 under 40. She has butted heads with Dr. Hazel Dukes of the New York State Chapter of the NAACP. Now Dr. Babb has her sites on improving the work and image of the education reform movement. She is in Albany today and will be dropping by the Plywood Hut to chat about the issue.

On the Capitol Pressroom last week Senator John DeFrancisco (R – Syracuse) accused the New York Public Interest Research Group of shilling for the Democratic Party since the group was more critical of the Senate's newly redrawn district maps, than it was of the Assembly's. Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG has a few things to say about that.

And we continue the conversation on hydrofracking from two perspectives:

Deborah Rogers is the founder of the Energy Policy Forum (www.energypolicyforum.com).  She's also served on the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas since 2008. She was appointed in 2011 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to a task force reviewing placement of air monitors in the Barnett Shale region in light of air quality concerns brought about by the natural gas operations in North Texas. She also joined a regional steering committee for the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) in 2011 with responsibility for economic questions.

Ken Smith, Cornell Cooperative Extension director for Chenango County, will cover latest developments of natural gas in New York, as well as some of the issues that farmers will face if fracking goes forward.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Takeaway

President Obama Encourages Technology-Driven Innovations in Education

Friday, January 27, 2012

Along with income inequality, the president also touched on his plans to reform education in his state of the union address on Tuesday. Specifically, he mentioned how technology can make learners have more meaningful and impactful educational experiences. Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic institute joins the program to gauge the feasibility and effectiveness of such innovative uses of technology at all levels of education.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Rural and western NY are getting hit by statewide shortage of doctors. Sherry Chorost, Director of Work Force and Regulatory Affairs at the Healthcare Association of New York will tell us how this is affecting residents, and why this is happening now.

Redistricting maps aren’t out yet. Perhaps they won’t be released publically until after the Governor’s noon press conference; regardless, we will analyze a few of the reported changes with former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin.

Then, we focus on education: First, the Buffalo News’ Education Reporter Mary Pasciak on how the Governor’s proposals around education are being viewed in the city.

And a discussion about education reform with both Buffalo City Schools Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon, and former President of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities & principle at Praxis Insights, Abe Lackman. Lackman is also a former Secretary of the New York State Senate Finance Committee; he played a central role in shaping the state’s education aid formula.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

Cuomo receives record high job approval, but voters think Aqueduct plan stinks: Siena

Monday, January 16, 2012

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

Just when you thought Governor Andrew Cuomo couldn't get any more popular, a new Siena Research Institute polls shows he's done just that.

"At 73-20 percent, Cuomo's favorability rating is the best it has been since April, and his 62-37 percent job performance rating is by far the best it‟s ever been,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement.

To go along with the love affair voters appear to have with Cuomo, he's also managed to get a majority of New Yorkers--albeit a slim one at 51 percent--to believe Albany is considerably less dysfunctional in his first year in office.

Among the Governor's legislative agenda items from his State of the State speech earlier this month, the creation of an education reform commission received the most support with 82 percent of those polled saying they support the plan.

Only 53 percent of voters said they support the Vegas-style gambling legalization the Governor is in favor of having in New York.

The Governor's proposal to build the country's largest convention center adjacent to the Aqueduct racino in Queens received the most opposition from voters, with 57 percent saying the oppose the plan.

“At this point there is strong opposition to the Governor‟s proposal for a new convention center adjacent to the Aqueduct racetrack and racino," Greenberg said. "New York City voters are barely supportive, suburbanites are opposed and upstaters are strongly opposed. Clearly, the Governor has his work cut out for him to convince voters on that proposal.”

The poll was taken between January 8 and 12, and surveyed 805 New York State Registered Voters. It has a plus or minus of 3.5 percent.

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The Empire

Future mayor hopefuls (mostly) criticize Bloomberg's State of the City

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Colby Hamilton / WNYC

After Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s State of the City speech at Morris High School auditorium this afternoon, elected officials began giving their post-speech reaction on the floor of the emptying auditorium. The mayor’s hard-charging education plans, a new chance for developing the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, and the Mayor’s support for a minimum wage increase were at the top of lawmaker’s minds.

Most of the likely mayoral candidates on hand lined up against the Mayor's educational plans. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the exception.

“I think the mayor's five point educational plan is very aggressive,” said Quinn. Education dominated the speech, even as the tone of the Mayor’s speech also turned aggressive towards the teacher’s union. The Speaker went on to say that it's clear this will be a "signature issue over the next 12 months."

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio saw the Mayor’s aggressiveness towards teachers was more like picking a fight.

“A lot of the content he raised was worth looking at and talking about,” de Blasio said. “It’s right to talk about how we make evaluations better, how we make the tenure system better. But why not talk about doing it cooperatively?”

Comptroller John Liu also took issue with the Mayor’s tone towards teachers.

“It was apt that he spent such a large amount of time at the beginning talking about the challenges we still face in our public schools,” Liu said. “[It was] somewhat surprising he spent a good deal of time criticizing teachers and almost throwing down the gauntlet against our teachers.”

The mayor’s education comments weren’t the only hot topics after the speech. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the Mayor’s support of a state proposal to increase the minimum wage was a step in the right direction.

“The minimum wage proposal is not enough to solve the problems of working families in New York City, but it's a good start,” Stringer said. The minimum wage support and the restart of plans for the Kingsbridge Armory left some with the impression the Mayor was undercutting arguments in the living wage fight. The Borough President said he hoped that wasn’t the case.

“I hope this is a larger strategy to give relief to working people in this city,” Stringer said. “There has to be much more of a concerted effort to deal with the fundamental issues impacting working people.”

Another Borough President, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz, Jr., who had been central to the living wage fight that scuttled the first Kingsbridge development plan, said he didn’t see, nor support, a Kingsbridge proposal that didn’t contain a living wage.

“If you're a developer and you know of the history of the Armory, are you really going to put in a proposal on this [request for proposal] without a living wage,” Diaz asked. “It probably wouldn't be the smartest thing to do."

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

If you have something to say about hydrofracking, you need to tell the DEC today. Why? Tomorrow is the deadline for public comment on the issue. Advocates on all sides are expected to rally in Albany today. We will speak to members of a pro-drilling land owners coalition, as well as to a contingent of anti-frackers from Tompkins County including Jannette Barthe and Martha Robertson.

One analysis of the State Senate majority’s plans for an additional seat suggests that the extra representation would negate the effects of the GOP’s loss in the prison gerrymandering lawsuit. Whew. That’s a mouthful. With analysis from the Democrat’s perspective, we speak with Senators Michael Gianaris, D – Astoria and Liz Krueger, D – Manhattan.

We also hear analysis from the Republican’s perspective.

Lara Kassel of Medicaid Matters updates us on the progress of the Medicaid Redesign Committee.

Yesterday SUNY’s Chancellor Nancy Zimpher presented her State of SUNY address. Today she joins us with details. We will also ask her to weigh in on the explosive teacher evaluation issue stemming from New York City’s failure to come to an agreement on the issue, prompting State Ed Commissioner Dr. John King put the brakes on some funding.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Friday, January 06, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Is the teacher evaluation process in the state “a failure”? Richard Iannuzzi doesn’t think so. We will speak with the President of NYSUT, New York State United Teachers about the Governor’s pronouncements that the evaluation system doesn’t work, and children have no lobbyists in state government.

Dr. John King, the Commissioner of the Department of Education joins us with his take on the teacher evaluation battle, as well as an in-depth conversation about other critical education issues.

While the Governor's State of the State was busy with references to economic development in the North Country, there is some concern among the green community that he failed to mention the environmental & conservation needs of the Adirondack Park. John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council joins us to discuss the Governor’s environmental track record, as well as how some of Cuomo’s proposals (think energy highway from Canada) could affect the future of the Park.

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Schoolbook

In Creating Successful Schools, One Size Does Not Fit All

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A teacher who taught at the Bronx Lab School, a jewel in former Chancellor Joel I. Klein's small school movement, says his views on what works and what does not have changed over the years. Now, he says, he strives for good and sustainable, rather than great and unique.

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The Empire

The Empire's 2012 Legislative Session Preview

Friday, December 30, 2011

Will the Governor have another MVP year? (Courtesy of the Governor's office.)

On Wednesday January 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver the 2012 State of the State in Albany, marking the beginning of a new legislative session. We spoke to numerous political consultants, lawmakers and good government groups to find out what New Yorkers can expect from state government this year.

The budget

Perhaps the real genius behind Cuomo’s on-time, balanced budget last year was that it also finalized most of this year’s budget as well. Through budget cuts and offsets, the Governor and the legislature were able to close a $10 billion gap last year. While far smaller,a gap has also opened up this year. The tax reform deal pulled together earlier this month helped close that gap significantly, but how the remaining $2 billion or so gets filled this time around is still an unknown.

“We know that they did the deal to do a temporary restructuring of the tax code which is going to bring in some new revenues, and now the question is, what are they going to do in the budget,” said Elizabeth Lynam with the Citizen’s Budget Commission, which has put out its own read on the upcoming budget.

She said she hoped the Governor and legislature resist the temptation to find new sources of revenue (i.e. raising taxes) and instead “move forward with the continued restructuring of the state’s obligations” (i.e. cut state spending on programs).

Democratic State Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan—the ranking member on the Senate’s finance committee—is worried the Governor will do the opposite. “I'm very concerned there will be pressure to cut even further into critical programs,” she said. She argued that the tax reform didn’t go far enough, and favored revisiting corporate tax loopholes and other potential revenue generators.

Health care

One of the big outstanding issues in the coming budget process will be health care. The Governor has promised a four percent increase in spending on health care this year as part of the budget deal last year. But Senator John DeFrancisco, chair of the Senate’s finance committee, says this is the first place lawmakers should be looking to continue to trim the fat.

“I think the most important thing to do this year is to keep the momentum going that we started last year with the $10 billion in cuts in the budget and two percent property tax cap. In other words the fiscally conservative things we have done to try and…get rid of the structural deficit in the State of New York. And that means continual cuts,” DeFrancisco said.

The first place he said he and his Republican colleagues in the Senate majority see that happening is in Medicaid. “That’s the part of the budget that keeps rising exponentially and has to be dealt with in a way that will have year-after-year savings,” he said, pointing to a number of areas, such as limiting what Medicaid will cover and enforcing prescription copays.

Education

The other major area of the budget that will likely come into play is the other promised four percent spending increase made by Cuomo last year—to education. The issue is not whether the spending will go up, but about who will get it and if it will be enough.

“I really think this whole aid to education is going to be a sticking point, and how it's being divvied up,” said Assembly Republican Minority Leader Brian Kolb. He was critical of what he called the Governor’s “cookie cutter approach” and that upstate and poorer districts weren’t getting what they need.

“This is not about teachers, this is not about defending the status quo,” Kolb said. “It’s going to come down to how well we spend the money we do have."

Bob Ward of the Rockefeller Institute at the University of Albany thinks there could be a push to increase the amount the state spends.

“I think the key question will be, can more dollars be found to add to the existing four percentage increase? Certainly the legislature will want to do that.” Ward said. “The teachers unions will be pushing very hard for increases."

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Governor Andrew Cuomo calls in to discuss, among other things, the Regents proposal to change school aid distribution formula.

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