Tag Archives: Education

The State Historian and the Future of New York History


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Seal of New York StateThe position of New York State Historian was created in 1895. The Historian was appointed by the Governor until 1911, when the position was moved to the State Education Department. Since that time, it has been located in a number of offices including the Office of State History (1966-1976), and since then, in the State Museum.

State Historians’ job descriptions and priorities have varied over the years as well. The first State Historian, Hugh Hastings (1895-1907), had been a New York Times reporter and concentrated on documentary publications. The next one, Victor Hugo Paltsits (1907-1911), a librarian and expert in colonial history, was known for meticulous editing of published editions and laid the basis for expanding the position into the area of archives. Alexander C. Flick (1923-1939) edited and led the publication of a multi-volume history of the state. Louis L. Tucker (1966-1976) held the titles of State Historian and Assistant Commissioner for State History in the Office of State History and, in the early 1970’s, was also Executive Director of the New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. Continue reading

Ella Frances Lynch: Adirondack Maven of Early Education


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1aEFLynchBeginning here is the story of an unknown but truly remarkable woman, an educator from Adirondack history. But first, some related information is helpful for perspective. For starters, here’s a sampling of complaints about our educational system: low graduation rates; undeserved diplomas; graduates lacking in real-world skills; students woefully unprepared for college; students without self-discipline, and more. Those are all issues today, but the very same items were also cited in 1970.

Since that time, our spending on education has risen by about 85 percent, but we’ve improved very little, still stymied by the same problems. In the meantime, we’ve fallen far behind many other countries, while still spouting that we’re the greatest country in the world. If we don’t find the answers soon, the hollow ring of that claim might well become deafening. Continue reading

Teaching for Engagement in the Hudson Valley


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thvsmallEducators and the public are invited to discover new and innovative ways to engage children and young people in the Hudson Valley region’s culture, history, and future at Teaching for Engagement in the Hudson Valley: The Next 100 Years Depend on It.

The conference will be held July 28-30 at the Henry A. Wallace Education and Visitors Center on the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park. Registration is required. Continue reading

2015 Common Core Conference Planned


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State Education BuildingThe 2015 New York State Education Department/Office of Cultural Education Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core Conference will take place August 11 and 12, 2015. The Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core annual conference has a target audience of classroom teachers, school, public and academic librarians, public historians and representatives from museums, archives, public television, NYS historic sites, performing arts and other cultural institutions.

The purpose of the conference is to develop an understanding of the Common Core with the goal to create collaboration among classroom teachers and cultural institutions. Continue reading

New Netherland History Teacher Workshops Set


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New-France_2_6_Map-of-New-Belgium-or-New-NetherlandThe New York State Social Studies frameworks for grades K-8 place a greater emphasis than ever before on the history of the Dutch colonies in the Americas. Teachers and students are being asked to trace colonial history from New Netherland through to the English colonies and to recognize lasting Dutch contributions to American life and history.

But what is that history? And how can it best be taught? Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute Seeks Applicants


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teacher instituteFort Ticonderoga in Essex County, NY is now accepting applications from teachers to participate in the 2015 Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute, June 28 through July 3, 2015.

The focus of this year’s institute is “The French & Indian War: Ticonderoga at the Center of a Global Conflict” and will accommodate 12 teachers for a week-long exploration of the pivotal role that Ticonderoga and the Champlain-Hudson corridor played in the global contest for empire. Continue reading

A Salute To Teachers


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RoyceFrom 1812 – when the New York state legislature authorized the formation of common schools to provide basic educational needs to a community’s students – through the early part of the 20th century, one room school houses made up the greatest part of the education system in Sullivan County.

In 1870, when the county had a population of 34,557, of which 13,635 were of school age, there were 198 school districts here. Those 198 districts employed 196 teachers, handling an average daily attendance of 4091 students. Most of those teachers were women. By 1939, there were 98 school districts in the county, and most had grown beyond the one room school-house. Still, women made up a significant part of the workforce needed to keep these districts running efficiently. Continue reading

Colonial America Conference for Educators Set


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DCIM100MEDIAFort Ticonderoga will host the Seventh Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 15, 2015, in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference, while intended for educators, is open to anyone with an interest in helping connect students with history.

The conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. The conference precedes Fort Ticonderoga’s Twentieth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, a weekend-long seminar focused on the French & Indian War (1754-1763). Continue reading

Erie Canalway Program Supports Field Trips


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School Field TripErie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will again offer its school trip grant program, Ticket to Ride.  The grant offers transportation and educational program funding for schools across New York State.  By covering bus and tour fees, the program makes it possible for schools to take advantage of first-rate educational field trips to designated museums and historic sites throughout the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Continue reading

Historic Hamilton and America’s Future


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Hamilton MusicalAlexander Hamilton is boffo at the box office. The heretofore unsung Founding Father best known for losing a duel is the subject of over two hours of song and dance in the new musical Hamilton. The Off-Broadway show is packing people in to rave reviews and reactions and is expected to move to Broadway this summer. Hamilton has become a bit of a phenomenon that has taken Manhattan by storm.

Hamilton also is of critical importance to health and future of this country. While that might seem like an over-the-top assertion, it isn’t. Continue reading

2015 Workshops at Eastfield Village Announced


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Historic Eastfield VillageDespite the death of founder Donald G. Carpentier, a full slate of workshops and symposia are scheduled for Eastfield Village during the summer of 2015. Under the aegis of the non-profit Historic Eastfield Foundation, the 39th Annual Series of Early American Trades and Historic Preservation Workshops will offer education and hands-on training at the unique restoration village located in East Nassau, New York.

Beginning in June and running through August, the workshops will appeal to a wide range of students, including homeowners looking to deal with issues concerning historic home maintenance and restoration, as well as tradesmen, craftsmen, and museum personnel seeking to advance their knowledge and skills. Continue reading

Ottilia Beha: An Extraordinary NYC Educator


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OttiliaBehaclassJust a few months after losing a re-election bid as county school commissioner, Ottilia Beha accepted a position in New York City, where she began teaching in 1903. By 1909, she had taught at several public schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and had served as assistant principal at two facilities, gaining valuable experience.

In fall of that year, she was among 258 teachers to take the licensing exam for elementary school principal. Ottilia finished at the top of the group, leading to a promotion as principal of a Brooklyn school with 800 students and a staff of 19 employees. Continue reading

Ottilia Beha: Extraordinary Lewis County Educator


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OttiliaBehaclassFor most of us, there are one or more teachers who made a difference in how our lives turned out. It might have been their kindness, teaching ability, understanding, or enthusiasm that inspired or affected us deeply. Whether you’re young or old, they remain “Mr.” or “Mrs.” to you throughout life, even if your ages differ by only a decade. It’s partly force of habit, but the special ones merit a lifetime of respect for one compelling reason: they made a difference.

For a great many folks attending school in Lewis County in the years on both sides of 1900, and an even larger group in a distant city, that person was Ottilia Beha. Such an unusual name was fitting for an unusually dedicated teacher. Continue reading

NYS History, The Common Core, And Social Studies


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State Education Building by Matt Wade Photography (Wikimedia User UpstateNYer)The Common Core continues to be in the news, so recently I attended “Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core 2: Inquiry-based Learning Access across the Disciplines” held August 12-13 at the Office of Education in Albany.

One session included 10 breakout groups by geographic area. In the Mid-Hudson discussion group there were about 13 people, double that number in New York City including 10 people from the Queens Library who were not on the attendance list, and over 60 people at the Capital Region group. Some of the other regions were even less attended than the Mid-Hudson group. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne: New York History And Education


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State Education Building by Matt Wade Photography (Wikimedia User UpstateNYer)How, and how much, should New York’s young people learn about the history of their own state and community?

The answer to the question of what young people learn about history comes down mostly to what they learn in school social studies classes. New York revised its social studies curriculum from 2012 to 2014 and you can review the results, adopted by the Regents last April online. There is more New York history at the 4th grade level than in the older standards, but almost nothing about local history. Continue reading

Inside Ocean Hill–Brownsville: A Teacher’s Education


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Inside Ocean Hill BrownsvilleIn 1968 the conflict that erupted over community control of the New York City public schools was centered in the black and Puerto Rican community of Ocean Hill–Brownsville. It triggered what remains the longest teachers’ strike in US history.

That clash, between the city’s communities of color and the white, predominantly Jewish teachers’ union, paralyzed the nation’s largest school system, undermined the city’s economy, and heightened racial tensions, ultimately transforming the national conversation about race relations. A new memoir, Inside Ocean Hill–Brownsville: A Teacher’s Education, 1968-69 (SUNY Press, 2014) has been written by Charles S. Isaacs, a teacher who crossed the picket lines. Continue reading

Educators: State Ed Department Needs Your Feedback


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State Education Building by Matt Wade Photography (Wikimedia User UpstateNYer)The Board of Regents adopted the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework at their April 2014 meeting. Since then, the K-12 Social Studies Resource Toolkit project has begun and the creation of a field guide to provide guidance on the instructional impacts of the Framework is underway.

In addition to this work, the State Education Department (SED) is also thinking about how best to restructure the Global History and Geography and United States History and Government Regents examinations. In tackling this task, SED is looking for help informing their decision making. In order to gain the valuable feedback educators in the field can provide, four questions are being asked: Continue reading