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new york city

At the New York Harbor School a River Becomes a Classroom

Since its opening in 2003, The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School has been cut off from the water in new-york-harbor-schoolBushwick, Brooklyn. One of the 22 small, theme-based public schools opened by Public Assembly, a non-profit group, the Harbor School opened its new facility on Governor’s Island. Last month, it opened a new location, more fitting to the schools name, which sits on the harbor in a large building that used to be a Coast Guard hospital.

In addition to providing students with a college-preparatory education, a major part of the school’s mission is to foster a new paradigm of eco-conscience stewardship. Eighty-five percent of the students attending the Harbor School are living below the poverty line, and are in low-performing school districts.

One of the school’s projects is raising oysters in the New York harbor, a species that had previously disappeared from the city’s waterways due to overfishing and pollution. Oysters are key to the hands-on curriculum, and are an indicator species of a water system’s health. Incoming freshman must swallow one, although not any of the oysters raised in the contaminated harbor.

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Best Cities for Young Professionals

young-professionalsAs any recent graduate knows, this is a rough economy for finding that first job after graduation. Forbes recently ranked the top ten U.S. cities for young professionals looking to hedge their bets before moving to a new city.

They analyzed cost of living, unemployment rate, the number of high-profile employers, and potential job growth for each city. Lastly, they counted the number of graduates from the Class of 2000 at Princeton University, Harvard University, Stanford University, Duke University, Rice University and Northwestern University had settled in each city.

Here are the results:

1. Houston, Texas

Three of the ten cities that made the list are in Texas, with Houston heading the list. Fourteen of the nation’s largest companies are based in the city, which also has high incomes and a large number of elite college graduates. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Locations for College Graduates

atlantaFor the many college seniors who are graduating soon and want to relocate, Atlanta is the best bet.

According to a report by and, Atlanta is the best place for recent college graduates to live. The study determined its results, which are very different from Best-Performing Cities 2009’s results, based on cities with the highest percentage of young adults ages 20-24 years of age, the number of jobs that require less than one year of experience, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

The average rent in Atlanta is only $724 a month; not too shabby.

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NYC Teachers Are Paid to Sit in Rubber Rooms

legal actionAs an employer, would you ever consider paying an employee their full salary for up to ten years when they were not working?

What if they were not working because they had been put on suspension for “excessive lateness or absence, sexual misconduct with a [minor], physical abuse, incompetence or use of drugs or alcohol?”

You would never do that right? Well, you obviously are not the New York City teachers’ union.

The New York Public School System has been paying teachers their full salary to sit in “rubber rooms,” Monday through Friday, during school hours. These teachers are under observation and told to “do whatever they like, so long as it has nothing to do with teaching.” This is costing the city of New York at least $30 million dollars a year.

What is going on here?

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New York City Public Schools Eliminates Parent-Paid Teaching Aides

crowded classroomTeachers are sorely underpaid, and the blame is that school systems don’t have the budgets to pay them what they deserve. So they’re over-worked and under-paid. Teachers and schools are always asking for help in the classroom, and grateful when they receive it. So imagine turning away what amounts to free help.

This is what has happened in New York City schools. Parents of children in Manhattan’s public schools have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for teaching assistants out of their own pockets. Thus, freeing a burden on the district’s budget and workload on the teachers. These aides do everything from tutor a variety of classroom subjects to monitor recess. Read the rest of this entry »

New York’s Equity Project Revolutionizing Education

male teacherThe New York school system is going to experiment within the education system. Now, when I say experiment, I don’t mean testing on the students, but rather they are testing the age-old question of teacher quality versus small class sizes and cutting age technologies.

A school in NYC, which has been dubbed the Equity Project, is being comprised of eight super-star teachers. This eight person educational force will consist of teachers that truly excel at inspiring their students. When interviewing possible teachers, the creators of the school looked for teachers that were able to get the students excited about their schoolwork.  Read the rest of this entry »

NYC Teachers Sue Over Political Expression

Here’s an interesting issue.  According to the New York Times, the New York City teacher’s union is suing because teachers have been forbidden from wearing political buttons and displaying political signs on the job.  The union feels this is a violation of the teachers’ right to freedom of expression.  However, the school system feels that teachers have an obligation to maintain a strict sense of neutrality in the classroom when it comes to politics.

I tend to side with the teachers’ union on this issue — but I can certainly see both sides.  On the one hand, teachers have a right to free speech just like everybody else.  Teachers have an obligation to make sure their students feel 100% comfortable speaking their own minds about opinions, even if they don’t agree with the teacher — but that doesn’t mean that the teacher can’t express an opinion of his or her own.  This kind of open exchange of ideas teaches kids to participate in an intelligent and open minded way in political discussions, which is an important skill for learning to be a citizen. Read the rest of this entry »


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