Test scores for third through eighth graders were released Wednesday, and they show a dramatic drop in the number of New York students who received passing grades.

Less than one third of students in the third through eighth grade, around 31%,  passed the new math and English exams given for the first time this year, says Regents Chancellor Merrill Tisch, making the announcement on a conference call.
“As anticipated, the scores we are announcing today are significantly lower,” Tisch said.

Congressman Richard Hanna chaired a hearing Monday at Binghamton University on the role of universities in job creation.

Congressman Hanna heard testimony from three witnesses about the ways universities fuel job creation. Before the hearing Hanna, a Republican, said that the federal government’s spending on basic research needs to continue.

“We’re here to talk about why it’s important to contribute to universities like this, why these programs matter, what they do for local economies and what they do for us nationally.”

Experts say that early child education sets the standard for later in life – but for many families, the costs for that education are increasingly out of reach. Research shows that early childhood education programs can impact the health in ways that ripple through into adulthood. On this episode of Community Conversation, host Crystal Sarakas talks about the impact of early childhood education on young children, their families, and their communities. 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she voted against a recent compromise on student loans because the interest rates shouldn't be tied to market rates.

Last week lawmakers struck a deal to allow rates to be tied to 10 Year Treasury notes.

The compromise brings the rate down almost a month after Congress let them double to 6.8%.

Voters in New York go to the polls on May 21st  to approve new school budgets. The State School Boards Association finds that many school districts are living within the limits imposed by a property tax cap enacted two years ago.

The School Board Association’s Tim Kremer says a survey of the state’s school districts finds that the vast majority are budgeting within the strictures of the tax cap, and as a result,  93% expect their budgets to be approved by voters.

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger shared the school’s vision for making BU the “premier institution of the 21st century” with members of the Binghamton University Forum Thursday afternoon. 

A key component of that vision is the potential creation of a pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy school on the BU campus. According to Stenger, the creation of such a program would begin to pay immediate dividends to the school and community.

Governor Cuomo made several changes to his budget plan in 30 day amendments . As Karen DeWitt reports, the amendments range from imposing a teacher evaluation plan on New York City, to cutting the cost of hunting licenses.

Cuomo amended his budget to impose a teacher evaluation system on New York City. The Bloomberg Administration and the teacher’s union failed to reach agreement by a January deadline set by Cuomo, and the City stood to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in school aid.

The state’s largest teachers union has filed a lawsuit against the state’s property tax cap, arguing it’s unconstitutional.

New York State United Teachers President Dick Iannuzzi says the cap, passed by Cuomo and the legislature in 2011, arbitrarily limits property tax increase to 2%, regardless of whether a school district is rich or poor. The lawsuit also charges that the tax cap violates the principle of one person one vote, because a supermajority of 60% of voters is required to override the cap.

The deadline for New York school districts to submit teacher evaluation plans is midnight tonight. While a few districts have yet to submit their plans, the thirteen districts in Broome County have all had their plans approved by the State Department of Education.

The Binghamton City School District submitted its Annual Professional Performance Review, or APPR, last July, and it was approved in August. Binghamton and Union-Endicott’s proposals were recognized as two of the state’s ten model plans.

Governor Cuomo's education commission has recommendations for some education reforms. Commission chair and former Citigroup executive Dick Parsons says school days and the school year should be longer, and children from disadvantaged backgrounds should begin their education with all day pre-kindergarten.

Parson summed up the report’s underlying premise as: “Get them sooner, keep them longer and do more with them when you’ve got them”.

Governor Cuomo says the ideas are “bold” and “exciting”, but he cautions that there might not be enough money right now.