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State Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills gave high marks Saturday to area teachers and The Buffalo News for their involvement in the Newspaper in Education Program.

The commissioner spoke informally with about 250 teachers at Maryvale High School in Cheektowaga.

He praised The News sponsorship of the Newspaper in Education Program that provides free newspapers to areas schools to be used as daily "textbooks" for the students and also commended The News coverage of education.

"When school-study report cards come out across the state impacting our individual public schools and what is happening across the state, we might be lucky to get an eight-inch news story in newspapers," he said. "With The News, they stay on the subject week after week and help change the entire discourse from anecdotal to fact. For that, The Buffalo News has to be commended."

Dorothy Gallagher, The News director of public affairs and promotion, said, "The purpose of this program is to show our appreciation to the teachers who have gone the extra mile and taken advantage of the educational programs we are making available to them from The News."

Mills also praised the Classroom Connection Program that lets parents call a phone number for current information on student activities and up-to-date data on programs and other education information.

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