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education

There’s a question that has plagued the Rochester community for decades: What will it take to improve educational outcomes for city school students? On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn how one thing, equity, could change everything.

Also on the show, they’ve escaped war, violence, persecution and natural disasters. And some who now call Rochester “home” are still living with uncertainty. We’ll learn why World Refugee Day has a new meaning.

And meet a local valedictorian with a heart for others and a mean forehand as our Top of the Class series continues.

Low-income students of color make up the majority of classrooms in American public schools, and research shows that the challenges they face -- poverty, homelessness, or hunger -- have directly influenced their level of academic success. While many of these children are failing to make the grade, education experts say state and federal policies are failing the students. They say there’s too much of a focus on raising test scores, and that policies should be designed to close opportunity gaps and get students excited about learning.

Pedro Noguera is an internationally-recognized education scholar who studies how students are affected by a variety of social and economic factors. He’s in Rochester to give a presentation at East High School, but first, he’s our guest on Connections. We talk about how to create more equitable education opportunities for all students. In studio:

  • Pedro Noguera, Ph.D., sociologist and distinguished professor of education at UCLA
  • Shaun Nelms, Ed.D., associate professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, superintendent of East High School, and co-chair of the Greater Rochester Initiative for Children’s Social and Emotional Health Implementation Task Force

Renowned sociologist, professor and education commentator Pedro Noguera is in Rochester to explain what it takes to bring equity and excellence to schools. He’ll join East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms in our studio for this timely conversation on Need to Know.

Need to Know airs Thursday night at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has been gathering public input on the state’s ESSA plan, which stands for the Every Student Succeeds Act.  That’s the  plan that replaced No Child Left Behind, and each state is coming up with its own version of the program which must then be approved by the federal government.

Elia has been hosting public hearings around the state, including one at Rush-Henrietta High School on Tuesday night.

She says the new ESSA  plan is expected to give states more flexibility.

WXXI

(AP) - New York State is setting aside $35 million to expand after-school programs.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the funds on Tuesday.

Cuomo says the investment in the youngest New Yorkers is an investment in the state's “very future” and will help “level the playing field” for children from vulnerable communities.

The money will go to schools with high childhood poverty rates. Officials say eligible districts can be found throughout the state.

For years, political leaders have stressed STEM education and the importance of a college degree. What about the BOCES model, focusing on learning skilled trades, like welding? There is momentum shifting toward skilled trades in the modern economy, particularly as college graduates enter an uncertain marketplace. Our guests: 

  • Olie Olson, metal trades instructor at the Mt. Morris Career and Technical Education Center
  • Matt Cicero, senior at Livonia Central Schools and a student in the Metal Trades program
  • Megan Sweeney, junior at Churchville-Chili Central Schools and student in the Engineering and Metal Fabrication program at Monroe 2 BOCES’ Career and Technical Education Center
  • Julie Donlon, assistant superintendent for instruction and school improvement for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership

School districts throughout Rochester are battling a storm of unknowns. The federal health care bill which is a repeal of the Affordable Care Act is calling for $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next ten years. Why does that matter to public school districts? It ultimately affects services delivered to some of their most vulnerable students - those in special education.

Susan Hetherington – director of the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Rochester - explains some of the potential implications of the health care bill for students.

This story is from WXXI's  Inclusion Desk, part of our Move to Include partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Parents have raised concerns about gaps in the quality and focus of care related to children's social and emotional health in our region. As a result, the Greater Rochester Health Foundation convened a commission on children's behavioral health. What did they find? We discuss the Crisis in Care report with our guests:

  • Dr. Martin Lustick, M.D., senior vice president and corporate medical director for Excellus BCBS, and co-chair of the Greater Rochester Initiative for Children’s Social and Emotional Health Implementation Task Force
  • Shaun Nelms, Ed.D., associate professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, superintendent of East High School, and co-chair of the Greater Rochester Initiative for Children’s Social and Emotional Health Implementation Task Force
  • Anita Black, program officer for the Greater Rochester Health Foundation

It's graduation season... so are the local graduates getting local jobs? It's the first in our series of conversations with freshly minted college graduates about their experiences navigating the job market. This week, we focus on the teaching profession. In studio:

  • James Flagler, 2017 graduate of St. John Fisher College, and substitute teacher at School 45
  • Danielle Maxwell, 2017 graduate of the College at Brockport, and soon-to-be teacher at Bicentennial North in Glendale, Arizona

The Rochester School Board recently passed a nearly $900 million budget. District spending has a few critics among Rochester’s mayoral candidates who are calling for more accountability and transparency. One person who has spent much time dissecting what’s working and what’s not in city schools is Board President Van White. He joins this edition of Need to Know to talk mayor-school district partnership, the current state of the city school system and more.

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