Ear Shot

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New York State Education Department


Interim New York State Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe announced Thursday that Rochester had the biggest year-to-year increase in graduation rates among the big five school districts. These numbers are based on August 2019 graduates, which Tahoe said the department bases its metrics on.

Max Schulte/WXXI News

Organizers say this year, Rochester and the Finger Lakes region will be the center of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, when the U.S. recognized women's right to vote.

2020 is also the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony.  Deborah Hughes, president and CEO of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, says the suffrage leader's work is not a conversation about the past; it remains relevant today when voter access is still an issue.

freeimages.com/Margarit Ralev

For the first time in 84 years, adopted people born in New York state have access to their original birth certificates.

A new law to unseal those records went into effect on Wednesday.

Many are calling it a monumental day. Adoptees say having quick and easy access to their original birth certificates is a basic right that has been restored.

"I've always had abandonment issues my whole life, and I have sort of wandered around figuring out where do I belong? Who do I belong to?" explained Cara D'Emanuele.


Three busloads of people headed from Rochester to Albany on Tuesday to demand an increase in education funding.

Rochester City School student Maya Adams led a chant,“Whose money! Our Money! Our Schools! Our Schools!” from the well of the state Capitol. She’s part of a group including students, teachers, and Rochester residents hoping to prevent further layoffs in the district. The district laid off about 100 teachers mid-year because of an estimated $65 million budget shortfall.

Rochester composer combines musical worlds

Jan 11, 2020
Maya Temperley

David Temperley composes tuneful, expressive pieces in a classical mold. But he also draws on influences from the popular music he grew up listening to on the radio. These inspirations include disco, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, and The Police.

There’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

But Rochester has its own hall for the many other games people play.

This week, WXXI is looking back at the events and people that made news in 2019. Today, Alex Crichton has a look at another year for the National Toy Hall of Fame.

By traditional political terms, 2019 was an "off year" - no national or even statewide races on the ballot. But it really wasn't an off year, there was a lot that happened politically in 2019 as Scott Fybush and Randy Gorbman review the year in politics. 

A decades-long struggle for an independent police accountability board took center stage in Rochester last year.

This year brought a significant shift in New York state policy around vaccines.

The state eliminated religious exemptions to vaccines, and children are now required to be vaccinated to attend school unless they have a medical exemption form signed by a doctor.

The move came on the heels of some of the largest measles outbreaks in the state since record keeping began, including a cluster in Monroe County that sickened seven children.

Brett Dahlberg reported throughout the year on local cases of vaccine-preventable diseases and the efforts to increase immunization rates in the Rochester area and around the Finger Lakes.

As WXXI looks back at the events and people that made news in 2019, there were some notable citizens that we lost. WXXI's Juan Vazquez remembers some of those who left us this year.