“The only group without a lobbyist? The students.”

Yesterday Governor Cuomo delivered his second State of the State address. Prior to the address, there was rumor of a new governor’s commission to recommend education reform. That prediction came true and was featured in the governor’s comments regarding education, which are below. No details regarding the new commission have been released as of today. Also below are other highlights of the address that directly affect school districts and students.

“I learned my most important lesson in my first year as Governor in the area of public education … that everyone in public education has his or her own lobbyist.” He went on: “The only group without a lobbyist? The students.”

Commission to Examine Education

“Today, we are driven by the business of public education more than the achievement in public education. Maybe that’s why we spend more money than any other state but are 38th in graduation rates.

We have to change the paradigm. We need major reform in two areas:

  •  – Teacher accountability and student achievement. We need a meaningful teacher evaluation system. The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for

Race to the Top didn’t work.

  •  – Management efficiency. We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend.
We cannot fail in our mission to reform public education, because we simply cannot fail our children. I will appoint a bipartisan education commission to work with the Legislature to recommend reforms in these key areas.”
Other Highlights
  • A call for a Tier 6 and public employee pension reform.
  • Statewide public hearings on mandate relief with a Mandate Relief Council.
  • Offer SUNY’s 60 other campuses the ability to compete for three $20 million challenge grants, with $10 million coming from the Executive and $10 from SUNY.
  • Curb child hunger by increasing participation in the food stamp program, removing barriers to participation, and eliminating the stigma associated with this program.
  • Promote employment of persons with disabilities and develop an Olmstead Implementation Plan to guide the transition of individuals from institutional to community-based care.

M&T Bank To Offer Instruction On Real Life Economic Lessons



As a teacher of AP Economics for years I asked M&T bank to come into my classroom and help prepare the students for the real world of economics.  Instead of dissecting market structures and calculating GDP, M&T Bank discusses the most important lesson that anyone can learn… the lesson of personal finance.  Three major topics that they will discuss are Credit 101, Banking 101 and Budgeting 101  If you are interested in having a representative from M&T Bank come in and discuss this with your students (even if you don’t teach economics) please contact me to get it set up.  Click on the links to see some of what they will present.



National History Day 2012

Curriculum guides and rule books for the National History Day competitions for 2011-2012 school year are now available. Interested teachers (grades 6-12), students, and parents can find them by visiting the websites of the National History Day program (http://www.nhd.org/) and the New York State History Day office in Cooperstown (http://www.nyshistoryday.org/).

Those sites also provide information about the theme for the year, “Revolution, Reaction and Reform.” In addition, there are suggested topics that students might investigate.

Dr. Preston Pierce, Regional Archivist at the Rochester Regional Library Council, can present a workshop orientation to National History Day on request for teacher or parent groups, students, and classes. Dr. Pierce has more than 25 years’ experience as a teacher and judge with local, regional and state NHD competition. Teachers and parent groups can contact Dr. Pierce at <ppierce@rrlc.org>.

National History Day encourages students to explore topics in local, state, national, and world history related to the annual theme. Students conduct extensive research by using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. They analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, and create final projects that present their work. These projects can be entered into a series of competitions from the local school to the state and national level. At each level the projects are evaluated by professional historians and educators.

Projects can include individual research papers as well as table-top displays, original website creations, documentary videos, and one-act plays created by individuals or small groups.

In the Rochester-Genesee Valley area, the Ontario County Historical Society (Canandaigua) and Genesee Country Village and Museum (Mumford) serve as regional coordinators. Those two organizations host regional competitions for those students who wish to compete beyond the school level. The Finger Lakes Regional competition will take place in Canandaigua, March 9, 2012. State competition takes place in Cooperstown in May.

400 Year Old Symbol Inspires “Occupy” Protests

If you are looking at a way to connect history with the present “occupy” events across the country there a many parallels.  But a new one has come to light 405 year after Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament.  Click on the link to read the article.

Anyone find it ironic that the “occupy” protestors are selling the $4.00 masks to other protestors for a profit?


Should we celebrate Columbus Day?

Fun debate question for the students when they come back on Tuesday.  James Lowen also has a great chapter about this in his book Lies My Teacher Told Me.  If you do not have this book and wish to borrow it, I would be happy to loan my copy.

Check out this blog post on what many schools are doing now.