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NY Update

Author: Jake Jacobs

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A public school teacher discusses NY education news, policy and politics in New York and beyond.

Twitter: @UpdateNY
42 Episodes
We talk again with @coachnicodemo the president of the teachers union in Greenburgh-North Castle where more Covid-19 cases have ben discovered at Reach Academy summer school.  Though local media has reported six cases yesterday, including three teachers and three students, Coach Nicodemo tells us two more teachers have tested positive and there are two more student cases waiting for official confirmation, which will bring the total to 10. Interview conducted July 30, 2020
Following the news a positive Covid test at the Reach Academy in West Harrison, New York's first in a summer school setting, we speak to the president of the teacher's union in the district @coachNicodemo about the surprising response by the Department of Health, the new operationalized guidelines, and the ramifications to the school community as fall approaches. Recorded July 24, 2020.
A veteran NYC teacher dishes on her journey into activism, the fight against charter schools, teaching remotely during the pandemic, her experience as a Sanders delegate and more. Recorded April 16, 2020
Now running for Congress in Rockland/Westchester, Evelyn Farkas, former Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Secretary of Defense under President Obama stops in to discuss education. Original air date: March 7, 2020.
Discussion about charter schools, standardized testing, education funding and more with Ossining Immigration attorney Tony Martinez, running for the State Senate seat of David Carlucci in Rockland/Ossining. Originally aired Feb. 27, 2020.
Discussion of education issues in New York including charter schools, standardized tests, school funding, yeshiva standards and more. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick is a Nyack Village Trustee and senior aide to neighboring NYS Sen. James Skoufis.  Originally aired Jan. 21, 2020.
A discussion about standardized testing, charter schools and more with Clarkstown Town Clerk Justin Sweet, running for NY State Senate in Rockland County and Westchester. Original air date Jan. 14, 2020.
Interview with Erica Vladimer, running in NY's 12th congressional district to unseat 30-year incumbent Carolyn Maloney. We discuss education funding, privatization, campaign finance and much more. Original air date: Dec. 10. 2019
Are we headed for a "brokered" convention in the 2020 Democratic primary? What happened when Elizabeth Warren was protested by charter school supporters? Why is Cory Booker writing pro-charter editorials again? How much charter school PAC money is NYS Senator Kevin Parker taking and why? What's the latest with the NY yeshiva controversy and more. Original air date Nov. 25, 2019.
News on Trump impeachment proceedings, education headlines and more: Mayor de Blasio gets PAC money and is also selling student data to charter school marketers. Randi Weingarten reacts to a Jacobin article on Bernie Sanders, another yeshiva parent speaks out, Erica Vladimer launches run for NY-12  and much more. Originally aired 09-24-19.
How NY state's definition of "proficiency" was farmed out to a corporation, plus the latest NY and national headlines in education - standardized testing, opt out updates, charter schools, data privacy and a special tweet from Valerie Bertinelli! Originally aired Sept. 10, 2019 on All archives available at
Following news headlines, we speak to Andom Ghebreghiorgis ("Geh-bruh-gee-or-jiss"), former special education teacher, running for House District NY-16 in the Bronx and Westchester, a seat held for over 30 years by Democrat Eliot Engel. Discussion includes education policy, charter schools, standardized testing, teaching in both public and charter schools, campaign finance and more. Originally aired 08-20-2019. [Note: NY Update Host Jake Jacobs endorsed Dr. Jamaal Bowman in this race on June 18, 2019]
Following a week of mass shootings, we discuss education stories showing the effect of the super-wealthy. In California, the NAACP says the dissent against its 2016 charter school moratorium is being led by members who work for the Koch brothers, ALEC and the California charter schools association. We also expose the efforts of billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs to recruit and groom school board candidates through a new TV ad campaign. Also discussed is an eye-opening story about the segregation caused by NYC's gifted and talented program, a new law banning teachers from having weapons in NYS classrooms, and a recap of an interview with Congressional candidate Erica Vladimer, running on a pro-public education platform which makes her our choice for NY-12. Originally aired 08-06-2019. Links:
Hear a strong new position against standardized testing by Elizabeth Warren, stong position against charter schools by Bernie Sanders, all about Mondaire Jones who announced a primary challenge against Rep. Nita Lowey in Rockland + Westchester Counties for Congressional District 17. Plus more news headlines and a crazy clip of right wing radio shock jock Sebastian Gorka, a former advisor on the Trump campaign. Originally aired 7-9-2019
A conversation with Bronx high school English teacher Lola Osoria on her campaign against Nita Lowey in New York's 17th Congressional district. A resident of White Plains, Ocosia explains why she is running against a longtime incumbent, her views on education, climate, campaign finance, healthcare and much more. Originally aired June 28, 2019.
Informative discussion with Trish Gunning, Democratic candidate for District Attorney in Rockland County. We discuss the difficulties in first-time candidates actually getting on the ballot to run for office, her views on the race against Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski and former Supreme Court Judge Tom Walsh, and other issues that affect Rockland county. Interview begins 07:30. Originally aired May 21, 2019. Note: Gunning spoke briefly about testifying at the historic NYS Legislature Joint Public Hearing on Sexual Harassment - the video for her full testimony is here:
Following the 2018 elections, a new wave of young candidates has stepped up to run for public office. Interesting views from attorney Schenley Vital who is challenging Republican Don Franchino for a town council seat in Clarkstown the NYC suburb of Rockland County. Also in this episode, updates in the fight against charter schools in New York state.  Original air date: 04-16-19
Meet Nicole Doliner running for Clarkstown Supervisor in Rockland County, NY. We discuss the duties of the position, Nicole's experience in county government and the possibilities for a greener economy. Learn more about Nicole at Originally aired 03-13-19.
Education headlines and fascinating quotes from New York education commissioner MaryEllen Elia from an interview the day after the NY testing system crashed (again). Massive complaints about officially sanctioned lies deception about testing requirements and "tone deafness" as hundreds of thousands of NY families continue to refuse to take the invalid, unpopular tests in protest. More at The Progressive:
The latest in under-reported education news and politics in NY state: Audio clip of NYS Sen. Robert Jackson on CFE funding, audio of an unhinged candidate for Rockland DA being booed off the stage, discussion of teacher evaluation bill and a little known Republican amendment that could have repealed the law. Originally aired 02/26/19.
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