education | WAMC


Arts Organizations have been having a rough time over the past year and a half. So, when there is great news to share, we like to shout it from the mountaintops.

Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education in Cambridge, NY, just announced the establishment of the Karen Strand Endowment. In summer of 2020, longtime Hubbard Hall supporter and advisor Curt Strand passed away, leaving approximately $850,000 to Hubbard Hall in his will, in honor of his late daughter and Hubbard Hall volunteer Karen Strand.

Part of this bequest has allowed Hubbard Hall to retire the majority of its debt, and will allow the organization to replace its aging HVAC system and purchase artist housing in Cambridge. The majority of the money will be held in a restricted investment fund, with the annual investment earnings supporting scholarships and fellowships at Hubbard Hall.

David Snider is Hubbard Hall's Executive/Artistic Director.

Book cover artwork for "The Secret History of Home Economics"
W. W. Norton & Company

The term “home economics” may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken muffins. But common conception obscures the story of the revolutionary science of better living. The field exploded opportunities for women in the twentieth century by reducing domestic work and providing jobs as professors, engineers, chemists, and businesspeople. And it has something to teach us today.

In "The Secret History of Home Economics," Danielle Dreilinger traces the field’s history from Black colleges to Eleanor Roosevelt to Okinawa, from a Betty Crocker brigade to DIY techies. These women (and they were mostly women) became chemists and marketers, studied nutrition, health, and exercise, tested parachutes, created astronaut food, and took bold steps in childhood development and education.

Danielle Dreilinger is a former New Orleans Times-Picayune education reporter and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow. She also wrote for the Boston Globe and worked at the Boston NPR station WGBH.

Book cover for "The Invention of Miracles"
Simon & Schuster

Joe Donahue: The "Invention of Miracles" is a biography of Alexander Graham Bell, a revisionist biography, if you will. While best known for inventing the telephone, Bell's central work was in Deaf Education. In fact, he considered his true life's mission to be teaching the deaf to speak. However, by the end of his life, he had become the American Deaf community's most powerful enemy, as he positioned himself at the forefront of the oralist movement. They oralist movement's aim was to teach the deaf to speak and extinguish the use of American Sign Language in the face of growing evidence that focusing on speaking orally often came at the additional expense of all other education, causing serious harm to brain development. Katie Booth is the author of the new book, "The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell's Quest to End Deafness."

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono is the first Asian American woman and the only immigrant currently serving in the U.S. Senate.

In her new book, "Heart of Fire," Senator Hirono chronicles her evolution from a dogged yet soft-spoken public servant into the fiery critic and advocate we know her as today. Hers is a uniquely American story, of immigrating to a new country in search of a better life and then dedicating her own life to advocating for her constituents.

Personal stories explain her stance on healthcare, immigration, family separation, and education—and readers are given fly-on-the-wall access to Congress, where Senator Hirono reveals how the governing body functioned before and after the Trump administration came to power.

Tabletop dots help maintain proper social distancing in classrooms.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Over a year since COVID-19 turned life upside down, local educators are still coping with the impact of the pandemic on students, parents and teachers.

Culinary students at SUNY Schenectady
Photo provided to WAMC by Baker Public Relations

SUNY Schenectady, non-profit organization Feed Albany, and the Schenectady Police Department are starting a new partnership to provide meals to those in need during the pandemic.

A picture of a teacher's desk with books stacked on it
Adobe Stock

Democratic congressional representatives from New York and Connecticut touted the education component of the next COVID-19 funding package the House could pass this week. The package is called the American Rescue Plan, and the lawmakers say funding would help schools reopen safely.

A picture of a teacher's desk with books stacked on it
Adobe Stock

New York Congressman Mondaire Jones has recently introduced a bill he says would tackle racial inequity in education.

It was with some trepidation that I read a column recently in The Washington Post. It listed the names of over 120 Republican members of the House of Representatives who joined the ridiculous suit brought by the attorney general of Texas on behalf of President Trump to throw out the votes of millions of Americans because… well, because those Americans had the temerity to vote for Joe Biden for president.

There’s an old saying that goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, New York’s public educators sure have been squeezing a lot of lemons lately.

Proponents of large-scale learning have boldly promised that technology can disrupt traditional approaches to schooling, radically accelerating learning and democratizing education. In "Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education," Justin Reich delivers a sobering report card on the latest supposedly transformative educational technologies.

Reich takes readers on a tour of auto-graders, computerized “intelligent tutors,” and other educational technologies whose problems and paradoxes have bedeviled educators. Technology does have a crucial role to play in the future of education, Reich concludes. We still need new teaching tools, and classroom experimentation should be encouraged. But successful reform efforts will focus on incremental improvements, not the next killer app.

9/15/20 Panel

Sep 15, 2020
Microphone in radio studio


     The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist and UAlbany adjunct professor Rosemary Armao, The Empire Report’s J.P. Miller, and former Associate Editor of The Times Union Mike Spain.

Protestors outside the State Education Building in Albany, 09-12-20
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Parents, students and teachers rallied against 20 percent New York state aid cuts to school districts outside the state education building Saturday.

As the head of Open Learning at MIT, renowned professor Sanjay Sarma has a daunting job description: to fling open the doors of the MIT experience for the benefit of the wider world. But if you're going to undertake such an ambitious project, you first have to ask: How do we learn?  What are the most effective ways of educating? And how can the science of learning transform education to unlock our potential, as individuals and across society?

The new book, "Grasp" takes readers across multiple frontiers, from fundamental neuroscience to cognitive psychology and beyond, as it explores the future of learning. 

COVID-19 Diagram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A suburban school district in Schenectady County will move to all-virtual instruction until further notice after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. 

With a 20 percent reduction in state aid for this school year looming, staffers let go Friday included 51 teachers.
WAMC Composite Image by Dave Lucas

The Albany City School District Board of Education held a hybrid meeting Tuesday night to plan for the most challenging school year to date.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

As high-need school districts begin to see devastating impacts of a 20 percent cut in state aid due to the coronavirus pandemic, state lawmakers are trying to find ways to redirect funding to struggling schools.

Albany City Schools Superintendent Kaweeda Adams
City School District Of Albany

The Albany City School District, like many other districts in New York, is facing mass layoffs because of a 20 percent reduction in state aid brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 20 percent reduction in aid to school districts tied to the pandemic is having a significant impact on New York districts that rely heavily on state funding. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on “catastrophic” cuts on the table in Schenectady.

Jeff Hobbs is the best-selling author of "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace." His latest "Show Them You're Good: A Portrait of Boys in the City of Angels the Year Before College" closely follows four Los Angeles high school boys as they apply to college.

In the book, four teenage boys are high school seniors at two very different schools within the city of Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the nation with nearly 700,000 students. Hobbs captures the challenges and triumphs of being a young person confronting the future, both their own and the cultures in which they live, in contemporary America.

Grandmother Maple at Flying Deer Nature Center
Sarah LaDuke

Flying Deer Nature Center in East Chatham, New York is a wilderness school and community dedicated to mentoring children, adults, and families in deep connection to nature, self, and others.

The staff at Flying Deer guide people of all ages in school and homeschool programs, summer camps, corporate curriculums, rites-of-passage experiences, and adult programs - facilitating a full nature immersion.

For my semi-immersion, Executive Director Michelle Apland and Program Director Devin Franklin led me around.

7/24/20 Panel

Jul 24, 2020

     The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, former EPA Regional Administrator, Visiting Professor at Bennington College, and President of Beyond Plastics Judith Enck, immigration attorney and associate with the Albany law firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna Cianna Freeman-Tolbert, and President and CEO The Business Council of New York State Heather Briccetti.

Andrew Pallotta: Education - An Avenue To Equality

Jun 29, 2020

Our hearts were broken this spring by the killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, racial and economic inequalities within our nation were already laid bare. And with his death, the need for change took on new urgency. We at NYSUT were heartened that New York State lawmakers responded quickly to widespread calls for change by instituting criminal justice reforms in June.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department are holding meetings across the state to gather input on how to reopen and meet the needs of students in the fall.

Students Macy, Cameron, and Thomas speak during Wednesday's Facebook Live update
Saratoga County Office of Emergency Services/Facebook

At a time when they’d normally just now be heading home for the summer, Saratoga County schoolchildren shared their experiences of learning from home and imparted a little advice about how to get through the pandemic.

ballot box
Wikimedia Commons

The deadline for submitting school budget ballots by mail in New York has been extended.

Schools may be able to hold smaller, outdoor graduation ceremonies later this month.

Pawan Dhingra is Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He is the author of many books, including "Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream." His work has been featured in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, The New York Times, Salon, the PBS News Hour, and the documentary, "Breaking the Bee."

In "Hyper Education," he uncovers the growing world of high-achievement education and the after-school learning centers, spelling bees, and math competitions that it has spawned.

        The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are:

WAMC's Alan Chartock

Judith Enck - Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor at Bennington College, Founder of Beyond Plastics, former EPA regional administrator.

Jeff Goodell - is a long-time contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he has been writing about climate change for more than a decade. His most recent book is The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World. Earlier this month he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Elizabeth Kolbert - has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1999 and won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, "The Sixth Extinction."

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The New York State School Boards Association says schools are bracing for teacher layoffs over the next year, as schools, which have been closed for weeks, face uncertain funding in the new school year.