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education

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The New York State Board of Regents this week voted to expand options for special education students who struggle with academic exams.  

The Regents adopted regulations to expand the criteria under which students with disabilities may be eligible to graduate high school with a local diploma. That’s a high school diploma that has different requirements from those needed to get a Regents Diploma.

State Education Department officials say that some students with disabilities are unable to demonstrate proficiency on standardized tests even with certain accommodations.

There are major gaps in special education spending in New York. A study by the New York State Association of School Business Officials found that spending in wealthier districts for special needs students was almost double the spending in more impoverished districts.

“Special education spending in the lowest need districts is $43,635 per special education pupil while spending in the highest need districts is $25,823 per special education pupil,” wrote researchers of the study.

An increasing number of African American families are turning to homeschooling. Parents say they want to protect their children from institutional racism, and they want their children to learn African American history outside of a Eurocentric curriculum. According to an estimate by the National Home Education Research Institute, the number of African American children who are home-schooled grew by about 10 percent between 2012 and 2016. That estimate puts the total number of black home-schooled students at more than 200,000.

Our guests share their experiences with homeschooling and unschooling:

In his book, Reinventing America’s Schools, author David Osborne argues that we should treat every public school like a charter school. He suggests an emphasis on autonomy, accountability of performance, diversity in school design, and parental choice. Osborne is in Rochester to meet with school leaders to discuss his ideas for the future of education, but first, he joins us Connections.

What are your thoughts on charter schools? That question garners many different answers, and it is one of the most polarizing subjects we can discuss on the program. This hour, we preview a documentary called Backpack Full of Cash. It will be screened at The Little Theatre on November 30, and it explores how different cities have privatized their schools, and the impact that move had on their public schools.

This hour, we discuss the costs and benefits of charter schools, the impact on public school funding, and how to create schools that work well for all students. Our guests:

Most school rankings lean heavily on academic performance, but what if test scores were taken out of the equation? The Democrat & Chronicle's Justin Murphy did exactly that, and his recent piece offers a new way to look at school rankings. So who's on top? And how were the rankings done? Our guests will tell us. In studio:

  • Justin Murphy, education reporter for the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Joanne Larson, professor of education and associate director of research for the Center for Urban Education Success at the University of Rochester
  • John Gonzalez, Jr., principal of Francis Parker School No. 23

Rochester City School District

One impact from Tuesday’s elections is that the Rochester school board will lose a longtime member.

Malik Evans, who is also a former president of the board and his been on that body since 2004, was elected this week to City Council. His seat will be filled next year.

Evans says even though City Council doesn’t directly control the district, they are involved with approving the school budget, and Evans hopes to be involved in other ways as well. 

rcsdk12.org/41

After a review of the schools in receivership  in New York State last year, two failed to show significant progress and one of them was in Rochester.

Receivership schools are schools that are deemed struggling by the state. If they don't make any progress within a year or two, they must find support outside the district in order to stay open.

Kodak Park School No. 41 in Rochester is one of those schools.

A number of indicators, a minimum of 10 for each school, including graduation rates and suspension numbers, determined progress.

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Organizers of a proposed “recovery” high school in Rochester say they're making progress in their goal of establishing a school dedicated to students who are trying to overcome addiction.  

The grassroots organization Recovery Now NY has been leading the effort for the past three years. Executive director David Attridge said they have just completed a request for information from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and Governor Cuomo's office.

Journalist Nikole Hannah Jones has become a leading voice in the conversation about schools and equality. She's coming to Rochester as a guest of Great Schools for All, an organization dedicated to improving schools and increasing diversity in the classroom. In fact, Great Schools for All is leading an effort to create a cross-district diverse magnet school.

Our guests preview Nikole Hannah Jones' event, and discuss the related issues. In studio:

  • Regent T. Andrew Brown, managing partner of Brown Hutchinson LLP, and vice-chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents
  • Dr. Andy Aligne, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at URMC
  • Mark Hare, Great Schools for All

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