Alex Conway/WMHT

This Week on NYN: Education Commissioner Elia

New State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia joins us this weekend on the program just in time for the start of the new school year. We have lots to discuss with Elia, including her stance on teacher evaluations, the "opt-out" movement and the implementation of the Common Core. Speaking of the latter, Andrew Cuomo announced after our interview with the commissioner that he is forming a commission to examine the implementation of the Common Core across the state. A process he has called ...
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Matt Ryan/WMHT

Buffalo rebirth, First look at new ADK trails

We have three interesting stories to tell in this edition of New York NOW. First off, Matt Ryan reports from Buffalo on the long overdue revitalization of the waterfront. "Canalside," after years of being a series of empty lots, attracted over a million people in 2014. Also, we highlight one of the Western New York icons that is still waiting for its rebirth, the Central Terminal Train Station. Finally, Casey Seiler heads up to one of the most remote sections of the Adirondack Park. The...
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Alex Conway/WMHT

New State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia joins us this weekend on the program just in time for the start of the new school year.

 The state’s education commissioner says she’s open to granting waivers to delay new teacher evaluation for an additional year, saying the new systems should not be hastily pushed through because of an arbitrary date.

The latest version of teacher and principal evaluations were pushed through in this year’s state budget by Governor Cuomo. It requires that the reviews be based more heavily on controversial standardized tests. The new plans are due this fall

Matt Ryan

  School administrators are closely watching a letter campaign that’s taking place in the days before school starts that could lead to even more children opting out of state standardized tests.

The campaign, taking place on Facebook and other social media, aims to send children to class on the first day of the school year with a letter signed by their parents saying they will not be taking the standardized tests this year.

Tim Kremer, with the New York State School Boards Association, says school boards are watching closely.

  State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says she won’t prevent parents who want their children to skip the state’s standardized tests from doing so. The commissioner detailed her views on the controversial Opt Out movement in an interview with public radio and television.

20% of children this year boycotted the third through eight grade math and English tests associated with the Common Core learning standards.

Governor Cuomo’s labor commissioner is likely in the next few days to finalize a phased in hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. That action  dismays some business groups, who say it will have some unintended consequences.

The governor, after unsuccessfully trying to raise the minimum wage further through the legislature, appointed a wage board, which voted in July to increase the minimum wage for fast food worker to $15 an hour over the next several years. Cuomo spoke to jubilant fast food workers and union leaders when the vote was announced.

The New York State Government

  A state Board of Elections investigator appointed by Governor Cuomo may have found a back door way into breaking some of the secrecy surrounding a major campaign contribution loophole in New York.

  The state education commissioner’s plans to quell the testing opt out movement is getting some back lash from some Republicans in the legislature, including a former teacher.

At a recent conference held by the teacher’s group Educators for Excellence, State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says she plans to try to convince parents not have their children repeat this year’s boycott of standardized tests associated with the Common Core learning standards, which resulted in 20% of students statewide opting out of the tests.

  The controversial state ethics commission is in the midst of a review by a panel appointed by Governor Cuomo and the legislature. Government reform groups say they’ve already been asked to give their opinions on how to fix some of the commission’s problems.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, was designed by Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers four years ago, it replaced a former ethics commission that also was troubled.

  New York’s first openly gay state legislator says it’s time to appoint an LGBT person to the state’s highest court.

  Governor Cuomo says he doubts that there will be  federal sanctions for schools that have high rates of students who boycotted standardized tests this spring.

20% of students statewide boycotted the controversial exams associated with the Common Core learning standards, with higher rates upstate and on Long Island. Federal officials had the power to sanction schools with high opt our rates by withholding funding, and the state’s education commissioner said a few days ago that she was talking to officials and would not rule out the sanctions compete.


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