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New information surfaces on Albany budget opposition

ALBANY- There's more information available now about the mailings sent out opposing the Albany school budget.
The Times Union first reported that an organization called “school performance" with ties to the “brighter choice" charter schools sent at least three, different flyers in recent weeks.
Leaders of the charter school have clashed with public school officials over funding issues.
Charter school executive director Chris Bender tells NewsChannel 13, they're mindful of not using taxpayer money for advocacy issues.
Bender says he resigned from the school performance group last year.

Voters get their say on school budgets

Today is the day voters will say “yay” or “nay” to school budget proposals across the Capital Region.

It's been emotional and contentious journey coming up with these plans, with more cuts to staff and programs than ever before -- not to mention an added burden on taxpayers in most districts.

The past six months have been filled with anxiety and tension for districts as they worked countless hours hashing out numbers and slaving over spending plans, all while losing millions of dollars from the state.

The Bethlehem and Troy districts are among those planning to close elementary schools to save money, drawing angry words and emotional pleas for reconsideration from parents.

Schalmont plans to close two elementary schools.

SUNY to issue 1st public report card

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The State University of New York, with more than 400,000 students and a budget of $11 billion, is releasing what it considers an unprecedented report card detailing how the nation's biggest public system of higher education is performing.

"We are asking New Yorkers to hold us accountable," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who took over in 2009. She said the annual report card, the first of which is to be released Tuesday, is unique in higher education.

"It's a level of accountability that many would consider a gamble," she told The Associated Press. "But the risks are outweighed by the opportunity it presents for all New Yorkers to vest in - and take ownership of - SUNY's advancement and our impact on the economic revitalization of New York state."

Seniors from across the region to graduate college

ALBANY, N.Y. - Thousands of Capital Region college seniors will accept their diplomas this weekend.

Cuomo seeks tougher criteria to evaluate teachers

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday proposed tougher criteria to evaluate teachers including greater use of student test scores, more rigorous observation in the classroom and a higher bar to gain an overall positive rating.

The teacher evaluation system would replace the system used in layoffs based on seniority. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had sought such flexibility in order to protect young, promising teachers from the last in, first out practice for determining layoffs, though he sought much quicker action so it could be used this spring.

Cuomo's proposals were immediately supported by state schools Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

Tisch said she'll recommend all of Cuomo's proposals Monday to the Board of Regents, which sets education policy.

Kindergartners would learn engineering in Gillibrand proposal

WASHINGTON -  Kindergartners would get lessons in engineering someday, if Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gets her way.

It's one of the proposals the lawmaker is pushing with a new agenda to reform education.

Gillibrand would like to see engineering integrated into classrooms starting in kindergarten, straight through twelfth grade, all with the goal of pumping up the number of students who choose science and engineering as a career, in order to create and compete for jobs.

Gillibrand announced the initiative along with a larger agenda to attract more students and to recruit more teachers to what's known as "STEM," which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

She said over a quarter of New York students lack the skills for jobs in those fields.        

St. Rose focuses on technologies in education

How can educators best harness the power, mobility and connectivity of the latest technologies?  That’s the focus of a two-day conference at The College of Saint Rose.

The first “Technologies in Education Conference” will be held Monday, May 16, and Tuesday, May 17, from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Thelma P. Lally School of Education, 1009 Madison Ave. in Albany.

The conference will share with educators in all fields, including K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, technologists and librarians, some of the hottest technical tools available and new approaches to incorporating them in the classroom, school and community.

Cisco, Ebsco Industries, Smart Thinking, Texas Instruments, Lenovo, WMHT, NBC Learn and other technology firms will demonstrate their latest products and applications. 

Workshops will cover such diverse topics as cyberbullying, K-12 research in a virtual Second Life island, and the next generation learning environment.