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4/3/15 Panel

Apr 3, 2015

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

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Professor, Rosemary Armao, and NYPIRG’s Blair Horner.

Scheduled topics include: Iran Deal, 70 killed in Kenya attack, Indiana and Arkansas Revise Religious Freedom Bills, Atlanta Educators Convicted in School Cheating Scandal.

  American higher education is at a crossroads. Cost-minded students and their families--and the public at large--are questioning the worth of a college education, even as study after study shows how important it is to economic and social mobility. And as elite institutions trim financial aid and change other business practices in search of more sustainable business models, racial and economic stratification in American higher education is only growing.

In American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know, Goldie Blumenstyk, who has been reporting on higher education trends for 25 years, guides readers through the forces and trends that have brought the education system to this point, and highlights some of the ways they will reshape America's colleges in the years to come.

Geoffrey Canada has devoted his life to help change the quality of life of inner city children across the United States. From 1990 to 2014, he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Harlem Children’s Zone, an organization which has guided more than 13,000 children and 14,000 adults through programs which focus on education, housing development, and community pride. In response to the program’s success, the Obama administration announced a replica program, Promise Neighborhoods, which in 2010 was awarded $10 million in federal grants in hopes of aiding 21 poverty-stricken communities in U.S. cities.

In 2011, Geoffrey Canada was named to the TIME 100 list of most influential people, and, in 2014, was named as one of Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders in the world. He will be speaking at Siena College’s Marcelle Athletic Complex on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. as part of Siena’s Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture Series on Race and Nonviolent Social Change. 

  It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. But, according to our next guest, during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge.

Harvard University Public Policy Professor, Robert Putnam, says Americans have believed in the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Putnam says this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was.

His new book is: Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Robert Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. Nationally honored as a leading humanist and a renowned scientist, he has written fourteen books and has consulted for the last four US Presidents.

  Who gets to go to college? Who can afford it and what are you getting for your money? Is it smart to go into massive debt to get a degree? What is the future of education in America and what does that future mean for the workplace, the government, our children and colleagues, and for ourselves?

These questions around education and access come as college prices have exploded and whole generations are sinking deeper into college debt. At the same time, tech entrepreneurs and professors from some of the world’s most elite universities have been racing to revolutionize higher education with massive college courses taught—for free—online.

In The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere, education researcher and writer Kevin Carey shows how innovations in digital learning can help higher education.

Andrew Buck/Wikipedia

New Hampshire senators have passed a bill that would require public schools to continue teaching cursive and multiplication tables. The bill is aimed at making sure schools maintain those skills as schools adopt new standards and incorporate more technology in the classroom.

  Standing on the foundations of America’s promise of equal opportunity, our universities purport to serve as engines of social mobility and practitioners of democracy. But as acclaimed scholar and pioneering civil rights advocate Lani Guinier argues in her book, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, the merit systems that dictate the admissions practices of these institutions are functioning to select and privilege elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies.

Listener Essay - Embracing The Fear

Feb 20, 2015

  Casey Mulligan Walsh is a speech-language pathologist and writer who lives in West Sand Lake. Though she’s made peace with winter driving, it’s still not her strong suit.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of Northern New York toured the region today to discuss education issues with students and faculty. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard caught up with the freshman lawmaker in Malta.

    Helping students develop their ability to deliberate political questions is an essential component of democratic education, but introducing political issues into the classroom is pedagogically challenging and raises ethical dilemmas for teachers.

In their book, The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, Diana E. Hess and Paula McAvoy argue that teachers will make better professional judgments about these issues if they aim toward creating "political classrooms," which engage students in deliberations about questions that ask, "How should we live together?"

http://www.fortticonderoga.org/learn/neh

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we learn about humanities in schools and teacher development resources in the humanities by talking about the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Programs in the Humanities for School and College Educators – and more specifically about NEH’s program at Fort Ticonderoga. Fort Ticonderoga will be hosting NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers in July 2015.

We are joined by Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs, MAss Humanities and Richard Strum, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Education.

Cuomo Demands Non-PC Answers From State Ed Officials

Dec 18, 2014

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to state education officials, saying he wants answers on why 99 percent of teachers scored highly on the most recent evaluations, while other data shows two-thirds of school children performing below acceptable levels in math and English.

The New York state Education Department acted irresponsibly last month when it took the unlikely step of publicly releasing college-specific data on the state’s new teacher certification exams.

Next week, an Assembly Committee will hold a hearing on improving access to financial aid for college students.  One of the issues will be better access for part time community college students, who are the fastest growing group of students.

Empire Center's McMahon: Vote No On Ed Bond

Oct 28, 2014
empirecenter.org

On Election Day next week, New Yorkers will decide three ballot questions. No. 3 is called the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014, a measure from Governor Andrew Cuomo that would allow the state to borrow $2 billion to equip schools with computers, tablets, wireless internet and other technology. But on group think it's a bad idea. EJ McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany, says borrowing isn't the main objection. He says there appears to be no demand from educators.

  The Windsor Mountain School in Lenox, Massachusetts was an ahead of its time boarding school that honored diversity and became the first co-ed integrated boarding school in the Berkshires.

After being a target of the Nazi regime, Max and Gertrud Bondy came to America and opened their school in Windsor, Vermont and later moved to Lenox in 1944.

Families like the Belafontes, Poitiers and Campanellas were attracted to the school for its multi-cultural and international curriculum. Then the school closed in 1975.

  Perhaps no profession is so constantly discussed, regulated, and maligned by non-practitioners as teaching. The voices of the teachers themselves are conspicuously missing.

Defying this trend, teacher and writer Garret Keizer takes us to school in his book, Getting Schooled: The Reeducation of an American Teacher, an arresting account of his return to the same rural Vermont high school where he taught fourteen years ago.

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year.

Karen Magee: Your Vote And Your Voice

Sep 23, 2014

Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit song “Respect” is on my mind these days.

  As a professor at Yale, Bill Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively, and how to find a sense of purpose.

His new book, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation Of The American Elite And The Way To A Meaningful Life, takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee.

Karen Hitchcock: The Many Faces Of The Common Core Debate

Jul 24, 2014

Over the last several months, discussions of the Common Core State Standards have been eclipsed by the public’s reaction to major issues which have arisen in their implementation – issues such as declining student test scores, and the role of such test scores in teacher evaluations, evaluations mandated if a state was to receive its share of federal money from the “Race to the Top” funds. The Common Core, we remember, is a set of standards or goals which has been developed to describe what our students should achieve at various points in their education. Accepted by some 45 states and the District of Columbia, these standards are meant to ensure that our young people will be prepared for whatever futures our rapidly evolving society creates, that they will be college-ready and employment-ready, that they will be globally competitive.

Teacher tenure is one of the most misunderstood concepts in education. Misinformation and outright lies are spread by those who want to take away rights from teachers and destroy teacher unions.

    Cartoonist, Comedian, and Artisanal Pencil Sharpener, David Rees is the host of a new show, Going Deep With David Rees, which premieres tonight on the National Geographic Channel.

In each episode of the show, David and his team consult with experts on how to excel at seemingly simple day-to-day tasks like how to tie your shoes, swat a fly, dig a hole, and, make an ice cube.

The Republican candidate for Governor is petitioning to run on a new ballot line that capitalizes on public opposition to the new Common Core learning standards.

  Now in its twentieth year, PianoSummer at New Paltz is an international summer institute and festival dedicated solely to piano music. It features an integrated approach to learning and performance under the artistic direction of master pianist and teacher Vladimir Feltsman.

Gifted students from around the world join with devoted musicians and teachers to learn more about the art of the piano and, ultimately, more about themselves and their place in the world of music.

PianoSummer takes place July 12th through August 1st.

Karen Hitchcock: In Honor of Dr. James J. Gozzo

Jun 26, 2014

On June 30th, this coming Monday, an era will end at one of the Capital Region’s most respected institutions of higher education, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. President James Gozzo will leave the helm of this exceptional college – turning its leadership over to the new president, Dr. Gregory Dewey. I have been fortunate to have known President Gozzo for virtually all of his 16-year tenure at the college, a college which has been transformed by his presence.

Stephen Gottlieb: For A Better Education

Jun 17, 2014

A recent headline read, “Slow Common Core.” For quite a long time there has been a backlash against anything viewed as “too tough” for our kids. That is a tendency of living in a democracy. Anything tough for our kids is bad but at the same time they have to get a fabulous education that will equip them for life’s challenges. So the solution is teachers who can make everyone learn painlessly. And therefore, if anything goes wrong it’s the teacher’s fault, not the student’s.

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.

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