Last month the Rochester City School District laid off more than 100 teachers. What happens to them?

The RCSD is working with community leaders and local school districts to find jobs for the teachers who were cut in the middle of the school year. We discuss how they’re doing that. We also talk to the RCSD’s superintendent about the current state of affairs. In studio:

  • Terry Dade, superintendent of the Rochester City School District
  • Doug Lauf, assistant superintendent of human resources at Fairport Central School District
  • Bob Duffy, CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce


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.

The Rochester City School District has sent letters informing dozens of teachers that they will lose their jobs, or be shifted to different positions, pending board approval. Board president Van White has said that cuts have to be made, but they must be made as far from students as possible.

This week, hundreds of students and parents have protested the proposed cuts, which would take effect in January. Our guests discuss next steps:

  • Willa Powell, longest-tenured member of the Rochester City School Board
  • Stevie Vargas, community organizer for Citizen Action of New York
  • Chris Widmaier, former Rochester City School District teacher
  • Mercedes Phelan, lead organizer for Citizen Action of New York

"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.  

Officers from New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) are in Rochester. They join us to discuss a range of issues, including school safety; testing; a feared teacher shortage; the New York State budget; and the Janus vs. AFSCME case, which could impact union member and worker rights.

In studio:

  • Andy Pallotta, president of NYSUT
  • Jolene DiBrango, executive vice president of NYSUT

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

New York State's Teacher of the Year is back in studio. Christopher Albrecht is a fourth grade teacher at the Fred W. Hill School in Brockport. He joins us to discuss the value of community service and service-based learning, and the impact those models can have on students.

Albrecht also shares what he has learned from other districts as he travels the state as a teacher ambassador. Our guests:

  • Christopher Albrecht, fourth grade teacher at the Fred W. Hill School in Brockport, and New York State’s Teacher of the Year
  • Jacob Gaskill, graduate of SUNY ESF, current Ph.D. candidate, and Christopher Albrecht’s former student

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is expanding a program designed to keep top teachers in the classroom.

The New York State Master Teacher Program started in 2013 and gives participants a $15,000 annual stipend for four years as a way to reward high-performing teachers. New York's 623 master teachers teach science, technology, engineering and math at middle schools and high schools in almost 300 districts.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says additional funding for the program will allow more teachers to join.

Ed Boland was a teacher for exactly one year in one of the toughest schools in New York City. He walked away from a cushy job to pursue teaching, only to feel like a failure when he couldn't maintain control and impact all of the students he wanted to reach.

Boland is a Rochester native who wrote a book about his experience called The Battle for Room 314. He joins us to talk about why the idea of a "hero teacher" is largely a myth, and how he perceives the crisis in education.

What is the “rubber room” in the Rochester City School District? We look at disciplining teachers. Is it truly as hard as some districts say? Can bad teachers be fired? Is it appropriate to pay teachers to sit in a room and not work? We discuss this with our panel: Van White, RCSD school board presidentRachel Barnhart, WROC-TV reporter who did a report on the "rubber room"Tom Gillett, regional staff director of NYSUT

As most kids head back to school today, we discuss the people that will be at the head of the class this school year…teachers. Mainly we focus on the battles teachers have faced regarding efficiency, class sizes, and performance expectations. These battles aren’t new, they’ve been debated as far back as the late 1800’s. Dana Goldstein is our guest to talk about the (not new) battles that teachers face, a focus of her new book , "The Teacher Wars."