WXXI AM News

education

New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia was in Rochester last week to learn about cultural education opportunities available to students in our area. As part of her visit, she joined us in studio to discuss her role as commissioner and the state of education in Rochester and New York State.

We discuss her decision to hire a distinguished educator for the Rochester City School District, her thoughts on teacher evaluations and standardized testing, how poverty and education intersect, Betsy DeVos, teacher shortages, and more.

What does it take to fix a troubled school system? On this edition of Need to Know, we talk with State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia about what she believes are solutions to some of the Rochester City School District’s long-standing problems.

Also on the show, how photography and technology are helping teens express activism through art. 

WXXI News

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia made a number of stops in Rochester Monday and Tuesday along with members of her administration and the State Board of Regents.

Regents T. Andrew Brown and Wade Norwood, who are both from the Rochester area were involved with the visit, as was Regent Roger Tiles, who is the Chair of the board’s cultural education committee, and Mark Schaming, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education.

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

The Rochester City School District has been awarded almost $4 million in grant money to support “well-rounded educational opportunities.”

The $3.75 million grant distributed by the state comes from a $28.5 million pot of federal money designated for “persistently dangerous” low-income schools with “consistently underperforming subgroups of students.”

Schools could apply for grants in one of three categories: safe and healthy students, effective use of technology, and well-rounded educational opportunities.

The Hilton Central School District is considering arming retired law enforcement officers to work security. It's a proposal that has caused debate among parents; some argue that bringing more guns in to schools is inherently unsafe, while others feel that trained former officers are capable of handling firearms in a secure manner.

We discuss the proposal with people on different sides of the issue. Our guests:

  • Casey Kosiorek, superintendent of the Hilton Central School District
  • Dave Inzana, director of safety and security for the Hilton Central School District
  • Stephanie Bedenbaugh, parent and leader with the Rochester chapter of Moms Demand Action
  • Kelly Lincoln, parent, member of Progressive Parents of Hilton, and licensed clinical social worker

The Democrat and Chronicle is launching a new project aiming at the inequity in our public school system. What have they found, and what might change it?

Our guests discuss those questions and more:

  • Julie Philipp, senior engagement editor for the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Justin Murphy, education reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle

The Rochester City School District has released its proposed budget, and it has slated an increase in funding for bilingual education staff and services. The Children's Agenda recently released its analysis of that proposed budget.

The request for more funding comes after more than 500 students from Puerto Rico enrolled in the district. They moved to Rochester after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

We talk to education experts and parents about the kinds of services bilingual students need. Our guests:

  • Eamonn Scanlon, education policy analyst for The Children’s Agenda
  • Beatriz LeBron, commissioner for the Rochester City School Board, and parent
  • Myrna Gonzalez, president of the Bilingual Council, and parent
  • Wailany Olivo, parent of two children in the Rochester City School District
  • Lydia Rodriguez, translator and parent

"I really love Rochester. I love the simplicity. I love the sense of neighborhood. I love the fact that it's common to speak to people on the street even if you don't know them."

So says retired music teacher Teryle (pronounced “TARE-il”) Watson, who possesses a birds’ eye view of music programs across the spectrum.  

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Kenneth Eastwood’s appointment as distinguished educator to the Rochester City School District has been rescinded.

A statement from the New York State Education Department said Eastwood could not come to an agreement with the school board regarding his contract.

But School Board President Van White said he was surprised by the decision.

"We were engaged in negotiations," he said via phone, "and actually had set aside office space [for Eastwood] in central office."

Eastwood's appointment was scheduled to begin April 25.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

As the Rochester City School Board prepares to vote on a budget for the next school year, they are facing criticism for their bilingual and special education programs. A report from the Children's Agenda says even though the school district is proposing investments in these areas, there needs to be more transparency and oversight in the process.

Three years ago, Wailany Olio left her home in Puerto Rico and moved to Rochester. She brought her son, who is 8, and her daughter, who is 6.

Pages