Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Chief at New York State Public Radio

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

A regular contributor to 'New York NOW,' she frequently appears on the Reporters' Roundtable segment and often interviews newsmakers.

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism from the Legislative Correspondents Association and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women's Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Karen at a Mike Bloomberg press conference in Albany.
Karen at a Mike Bloomberg press conference in Albany.

Karen interviewing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
Karen interviewing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher

Ways To Connect

Karen Dewitt

The head of the state’s largest teachers’ union predicts that the legislature and Governor Cuomo will have to revisit new teacher evaluation laws passed as part of the state budget, now that almost one fifth of students have opted out of the tests.
 
New York State United Teacher’s President Karen Magee says the boycott of the third through eighth grade English tests by around 20% of New York’s students will undermine the new teacher evaluation system that relies more heavily on the controversial standardized tests.  
 

The New York State Legislature returns for the second half of the legislative session, once again under a cloud of corruption, and with numerous unsettled issues.

The session begins Tuesday, after the spring break, and this time it’s the leader of the Senate who is the focus of a federal corruption probe. State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos confirmed that he’s the target of an investigation, after the New York Times reported that US Attorney Preet Bharara has  convened a grand jury, that is looking into some of the Senator’s’ business dealings, as well as those of his son.

The recently completed state budget was the first real test of the new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s leadership, who became the leader of that house in early February.  

By the time the state budget was voted on, Heastie, the 47 year old accountant and former budget analyst from the Bronx, elected to the Assembly in 2000, had  been in his new job for less than two months.

Heastie was elected Speaker on February 3rd after the long time Speaker, Sheldon Silver, resigned. Silver was arrested and charged with running a multi million dollar corruption scheme. 

Governor Cuomo and the state legislature approved some significant changes to the state’s education system and how teachers are evaluated going forward. But, before all that can be implemented, the new system faces a big test, literally, later this month.

The new state budget includes big changes for teacher performance reviews, which will be redesigned by schools and the state education department to rely more heavily on standardized tests.

Karen Dewitt

The New York legislature completed an almost on time budget, around 3 AM on the first day of the state’s fiscal year. One of the final pieces to come together was an ethics reform package, which will provide greater disclosure of lawmaker’s outside income. But critics say it does not go far enough.

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