Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Neuroscientists are trying to get New York City kids excited about the brain. Columbia University faculty members and students hosted a Community Brain Expo on Wednesday in Washington Heights, where parents, high schoolers, and elementary school students tried experiments and watched demonstrations aimed at teaching a younger audience about neuroscience.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Starting this month, some kids in San Francisco can ride the bus for free. The new program, called Free Muni for Youth, aims to make life a little easier for the city’s low- and moderate-income families. The city estimates that 40,000 young people qualify for the program.
"It started in a small room, just a couple pieces of pizza and people are like, we should make free Muni for young people,” said Nick Persky. He’s a 17 year-old junior at Lick-Wilmerding High School and the vice chair of the San Francisco Youth Commission, a group of 17 young people who advise the mayor on youth issues. Persky wasn’t around when the idea for free Muni for young people first came about–he said it dates back about a decade–but he’s proud see it put into action.
“We thought it was never possible, but as evidenced by today, it is something that is possible,” he said. “It’s pretty special to be a person in high school, to be a person who is unable to vote, to be able to see what young people can do to bring policy change in our local government.”
Part of the reason kids need a free ride is that years of budget cuts have all but eliminated yellow bus service in San Francisco. For a lot of students, that means Muni is the only way for them to get to school. Paul Monge-Rodriguez, a legislative aide for the San Francisco Youth Commission, said people shouldn’t think of it as a handout.
“It’s almost like a reallocation, still investing in the same types of services, but just through a different source of funding,” he explained.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors approved a pilot program almost a year ago, but the plan was contingent upon a $4 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the regional transit board. In July, the MTC denied the grant. But in the fall, a new grant surfaced and SFMTA director Ed Reiskin recommended that $1.6 million of it be used to fund a 16-month trial.
Last week, the diverse coalition that made Free Muni for Youth a reality held a press conference to celebrate its official launch. Everyone involved, from young people, to city Supervisor David Campos, to Reiskin, was quick to praise the others for their continued cooperation.
Reiskin told the students, “You guys are the ones that made this happen,” noting that this was the best grassroots initiative he had ever seen.
Still, Reiskin said funding the program was a difficult decision, because Muni’s infrastructure has a lot of existing problems and it needs all the money it can get. But ultimately, he sided with the young people of the city.
“The system has a lot of needs,” he said. “But the community has needs too.”
It was an emotional day for many of the people involved. Claudia Gonzalez, a mother of two from Potrero Hill, spoke through an interpreter about her experience.
“It was a very stressful process,” she said. “I remember going to these meetings and I felt very betrayed by the MTA board because we would go in front of them and tell them about how difficult it was for us, and they would look away and they wouldn’t answer us, they wouldn’t give us a straight answer, and that was a very, very arduous process for us.”
Gonzalez said she owes a big thanks to POWER, an advocacy group that played an important role in organizing the campaign for Free Youth for Muni. Now, her two kids (age 11 and 13), will get a free ride to school.
Throughout the day, though, everyone agreed the majority of the praise should go to the youth who organized and fought on their own behalf for the right to free public transportation. At the press conference, SF Unified School District Superintendent Richard A. Carranza summed up a popular sentiment about the students’ instrumental role.
“The grown ups are in awe of how well organized and articulate our youth are,” he said to a cheering crowd of students and onlookers. Looking out at students, he announced, “I’ll see you on Muni!”
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
(Stephen Nessen - New York, SchoolBook) Since January, Tommy and Dina Nero have been a presence at the picket lines nearly every day. A bus driver and matron, as well as husband and wife, the couple has been dedicated to their union’s position in the ongoing school bus strike but, as the dispute drags into it second month, they also are facing the real-life challenges of limited pay and not working at a job they love.
“Those children are our children, as far as I’m concerned,” Tommy Nero said. “The children on my bus now, I’ve known them for the last three and-a-half years. So, the parents know us. It’s like a family, an extended family.”
The school bus strike has disrupted more than 5,000 of the 7,700 routes in the five boroughs. The last time this happened, in 1979, the strike lasted 13 weeks. And with all parties firmly entrenched in their positions, this one doesn’t have an end in sight. For the members of 1181 Amalgamated Transit Union, this means reduced wages and the loss of health care benefits.
And every week on strike has heightened the Neros’ anxieties.
There are the impending bills to pay: the mortgage on their Jackson Heights apartment, building fees, car bills, and college tuition for their 24-year-old son who has one more semester left at John Jay College. Also, Tommy needs a steady supply of inhalers for his asthma, a steep cost without health care.
Dina said she hit her head while doing laundry recently and it caused a big concern.
“I was like please, please don’t let me be bleeding, because I can’t afford to get stitches right now. It’s scary, because everything you do, you’re like ‘Oh I can’t get hurt,’ and it’s so on your mind,” she said.
During a recent visit to their home, Tommy wore his silver hair slicked back. Under his black driver’s jacket he sported a grey sweatshirt emblazoned with “Alaska,” a memento from better times.
“Alaska was our trip of a lifetime. It was our retirement money. We always wanted to go there. Now, from here on end, we don’t know what we’re doing. All our vacations will be on the fire escape,” Tommy said.
Tommy’s grandfather was a union man, working in steel mills in Harlem. Several of his relatives also are school bus drivers and escorts who are on strike now. He said he’s not only concerned about his job, but about the future of unions in the city.
The union says the strike is about ensuring employee protections are put in all new city contracts, protections that would ensure that companies hire union drivers and matrons, and assign routes based on seniority. The city says it’s illegal to keep the protections in the contract.
The strike has been going on since January 16.
Listen to the story here.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Join Radio Rookies and Youth Radio today from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST for a Live Chat about gun control and school safety with students from classrooms around the country.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Teachers, principals, guidance counselors, administrators and other educators: how have you been dealing with talking about the Newtown shooting with students? What are you telling kids of different ages? How are your students handling it, and how have you been handling it? Call in to 212-433-9692 or post below.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Black and Latino students made up more than 96 percent of the arrests by NYPD School Safety officers during the 2011-2012 school year, according to recent data released by the NYPD. But the New York Civil Liberties Union believes the numbers betray a "heavy-handed" approach to discipline, particularly in minority neighborhoods.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Andrew Hacker, professor of political science at Queens College New York, recently proclaimed on The Takeaway that the age old belief that "algebra and mathematics generally sharpens our mind…[is] total fiction." Many of our listeners disagreed.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Most high-school seniors attend their prom. Only a few defy tradition and go dateless. Watch a video of one of the brave ones -- Tiffanie Galan, of Borough Park, Brooklyn -- taking on her big day without a date.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
A group of high school students from Democracy Prep in Harlem added their voices to the outrage over the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin on Thursday. They wore hoodies and marching through the neighborhood. View a slideshow of the students in their hoodies explaining what it has come to symbolize to them.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
A study of schools throughout the city of Chicago has found that detention and suspension rates increase towards the end of each month and sharply decrease at the beginning of the next. The main culprit, they believe, may be the students' diets. The study links the behavior with spending patterns associated to the national food-stamp program, SNAP. Lisa Gennetian, managing director of the behavioral economics research think tank Ideas42, thinks it's time for a change.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Small towns are shrinking across America, and along with them student populations. When a student population shrinks, so does a school’s state funding. But some rural and small town schools have found an inventive way to stay afloat by recruiting international students who pay up to $30,000 per year to attend an American public school — regardless of where in America that school is.
Friday, November 18, 2011
The arts studios of NYU and Hunter are some of the most competitive in the country. As a result they're usually closed to the public. For one weekend, the studios will be open for visitors to check out the student work in progress.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Reactions to the death of Moammar Gadhafi continue to pour in from Libya and across the U.S. Mohamed Gibril is a student at Michigan State University. He and other Libyan students were sent to the U.S. to study under a Libyan government program for diplomatic training before the uprising against the Gadhafi regime. Since then his visa has run out and he's been unable to return safely. He and his fellow students are currently in limbo due to the turmoil in their country. Assia Bashir Amry is the daughter of exiled Libyan revolutionary ElHajj Sabr, a revolutionary who did not live to see Gadhafi's ouster. She talks about what feelings Gadhafi's death has brought up for her.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Last week, The Takeaway reported on an Alabama immigration law that is considered on of the toughest in the nation. A federal judge upheld the law in a challenge by the Justice Department. Among its provisions, the law requires Alabama's public schools to check the legal documentation of its students. Since the law went into effect on Thursday, over 200 Latino students went missing from schools in Huntsville. The law does not give schools the right to turn away children. Schools are only required to report to the state if a child cannot produce legal documentation.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
This web audio extra features an interview between Bob and Dr. Susan Linn, the director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Last May, the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood began a letter-writing campaign that quickly culminated in the publisher Scholastic halting distribution of a set of academic materials called "The United States of Energy." The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood contends the materials exclusively highlighted the positives of coal as an energy source and provided no information about the environmental negatives. Scholastic has pledged to vet new corporate partners with a new review board and to strengthen the editorial review of subsequent sponsored supplemental materials.
Here's the (prompt) statement Scholastic released.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Yesterday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a major override of the No Child Left Behind accountability law for schools. Duncan's proposal will mean that states can apply to bypass performance requirements in the law. One of those requirements is that 100 percent students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Arne Duncan talks about about the overhaul in the law and how it will affect students and schools. (Transcript available after the jump.)
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Ever wonder how a story on The Takeaway evolves? Our stories can start with everything from a tweet to a listener response phoned in during the morning's show, and move forward over the next hours as we interact with guests, put together radio segments, and blog on the subject at hand. This week, one of our stories began with a paper about student performance being impacted by unemployment rates. In the visual element below, you can see first hand how the story progressed, from our initial tweet and listener responses to a blog from Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Every year, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards honor the best high school and middle school students in a variety of categories, including painting, journalism and fiction. Past winners include leaders and luminaries in their respective fields, including Joyce Carol Oates, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote. Some 185,000 pieces of art and writing submitted this year, and eighteen-year-old Haris Durrani was one of seven high school seniors to win a gold medal for a portfolio of writing, out of 3,000 portfolio entries.