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On this edition of Need to Know we continue our Top of the Class series. The series introduces viewers to high school students in the Greater Rochester community not only working hard in the classroom, but also trying to make our community and our world a better place. Joining Need to Know host Hélène Biandudi Hofer for this segment is Eman Muthana. The World of Inquiry High School student is a runner-up for the 2017 Princeton Prize in Race Relations – Rochester. Muthana is recognized by World of Inquiry staff and students for having a significant positive effect on race relations in her school and the larger community.

Candidates in the race for Rochester mayor are painting a picture of what city schools might look like under their administration. Now that we’ve heard some of their plans, we hear from the School Board President. On this edition of Need to Know, Van White weighs in on their proposals, the Superintendent and his vision for what’s next in city schools.

Also on the show, our relatively warm forecast this week doesn’t change the fact that Lake Ontario remains at record high levels. Great Lakes reporter/producer Veronica Volk shares the stories of those impacted, mounting fears and next steps.

And we’ll meet a Rochester high school student utilizing her own life experiences for the sake of racial tolerance and understanding. She’s the latest to join WXXI’s “Top of the Class” series on Need to Know.

Last fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new recommendations for limiting media use among children. How can parents work under these guidelines and help their kids unplug and reconnect to non-digital activities?

A book called The Game is Playing Your Kid offers advice for monitoring and limiting screen time for children. The author, Dr. Joe Dilley, is in Rochester as a guest of the Norman Howard School. He joins us in studio to talk about how parents can help kids transition from overuse to more mindful use of technology. He's joined by Dr. Elizabeth Murray, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital.

For Keturah Ariel, making art that inspires, uplifts and advocates for her community is a priority. When the artist had a hard time finding paintings and drawings of girls that reflected her - young women of color - she began creating the images herself. The result: a business for her passion that empowers young girls.

On this edition of Need to Know, we’ll learn about Ariel’s story from PBS affiliate WOSU. We’ll also talk with Rochester artist Johnnie Lee Smith who says African American and Hispanic youth not only need to see images of themselves reflected in art, but also need to see artists who look like them. 

When kids lash out or negatively act and speak out in the classroom there are repercussions. There’s detention, suspension, expulsion and sometimes legal ramifications. But what’s the story behind their behavior? And what would the response be if we knew, that for some, their actions are directly connected to the violence they’ve witnessed or endured and the long-term damage that violence has caused such as trauma? According to a survey done by the Department of Justice, 58 percent of kids have experienced or witnessed violence. On this edition of Need to Know we hear about a local effort to mitigate the impact of this public health crisis.

After a week of criticism from the left and the right of the political spectrum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director is among those defending the state’s new free public college tuition program for some middle-class students.

Conservatives say Cuomo was just trying to win a headline for a potential 2020 presidential campaign by convincing the state Legislature to enact a plan to offer free tuition to middle-class students attending public colleges and universities.

The NYS Science Learning Standards go into effect in July. With that in mind, we're focusing on how climate change is taught in the classroom. While specific standards regarding climate change education don't come into effect until middle school, there is an expanding focus on climate itself, and weather, and ecosystems in earlier grades.

We explore the teaching, the training, and the consequences of kids not being climate literate. Our guests:

  • Lindsay Cray, executive director and co-founder of Earthworks Institute, and certified forest school instructor
  • Tiarra Worthington, earth science teacher at East High School, and mother of two
  • Chris Lajewski, director of the Montezuma Audubon Center
  • Cindy Culbert, homeschool educator, and mother of two

npr.org

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Will New York's first-in-the-nation free tuition program for middle-class college students spread to other states?

That's the hope of proponents such as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who made debt-free college a key talking point in their Democratic presidential campaigns. And that's the prediction of its main champion, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called the plan a "model for the nation."

How does poverty impact a child's chances of being a successful student? What are our assumptions about poverty? Those are just some of the questions at the heart of a new conference called The Many Faces of Poverty. It's being led by, among others, the College at Brockport’s Institute for Poverty Studies and Economic Development. Our guests:

  • Celia Watt, director of the Institute for Poverty Studies and Economic Development
  • LaShunda Leslie-Smith, executive director of Connected Communities, Inc.
  • Lisa Robusto-Mack, events coordinator for The College at Brockport
  • Lesli Myers, superintendent of Brockport Central Schools

College presidents sound off on free tuition

Apr 10, 2017

Representatives from private and public schools are reacting to the proposal in the new state budget that provides free tuition at public colleges and universities for middle classe students.

Daan Braveman is president at Nazareth College, a private school.

He argues the free tuition through the Excelsior Scholarship program is not as robust as media reports make it out to be, and private schools recognize the need to make college accessible and affordable.

Braveman says private schools educate as many people from poor families as the four year public schools.

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