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PETER SIMON


Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education By Charles J. Sykes; St. Martin’s Press, 278 pages ($26.99) Back in 1988, Sykes wrote a book about college education that blasted excessive spending, nonexistent student advising programs, lecture classes of “droning, mind-numbing dullness,” and the abandonment of undergraduate teaching. Sykes is back for another look – …

Faced with laying off about 700 staff members to close a $34 million budget gap, Buffalo school officials hope for a last-minute bailout from Albany or Washington.Very few people expect that to happen. Instead, dramatic budget cuts look increasingly probable, resulting in bigger class sizes and program cuts."I would love for someone to come in with a pot of money,"…

Buffalo Firefighter Mark P. Reed lost his right leg and was in a coma for 31 days after a chimney collapsed on him while he was fighting an arson fire nearly three years ago.But the accident never weakened his desire to be a father.That dream -- deferred but not derailed -- came true last month, when Reed and his wife, Nancy, adopted newborn Connor Michael Reed, a …

It's a buyer's market -- and long has been -- for local school districts hiring teachers.The Charter School for Applied Technologies in the Town of Tonawanda recently advertised a fourth-grade teaching teaching job and received 130 applications within three days."We tend to get flooded with applications," said Andrew J. Lyle, the elementary and middle school principal…

Buffalo School Superintendent James A. Williams avoided a political donnybrook Wednesday night by delaying consideration of a contract extension for him until next year."There's been a lot of discussion about extending my contract," he said at a meeting of the Board of Education. "My position on this is not to extend that at this time."Williams, whose current contract runs…

Buoyed by $18.5 million in federal economic-stimulus funds, Buffalo school officials are preparing a budget that will not only avoid layoffs and program cuts, but add 34 teachers, six security officers and two attorneys, the Board of Education was told Wednesday evening.The new teachers will allow for additional grade levels at three city schools, expansion of the district…

Students at the Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Education Services hope in the near future to include solar panels on the houses they build each year.In Williamsville, a hydrogen fuel-cell car was brought to all three district high schools last year for lessons on green technology.And in Buffalo, pupils begin learning about alternative energy sources as early as kindergarten a…

It's a buyer's market when it comes to hiring teachers in the Buffalo area.More than 10 local colleges and universities have teacher training programs, and produce far more certified teachers than the market can absorb.Teacher pay and benefits in New York state are among the highest in the nation, making the jobs that are available here even more attractive.And because enr…

David Barker Wednesday evening urged the Board of Education to train parents to operate school libraries closed by budget cuts. "We are a valuable resource not only to our children, but to you," he said. "Use us."Ed Daniels, a frequent board critic, said he has a "heavy heart" over the planned phase-out of Seneca Vocational High School, the scarcity of male African-America…

Buffalo School Superintendent James A. Williams on Wednesday unveiled a bold plan to enroll 74 percent of this year's eighth-grade graduates in "Commencement Academies," where they will receive extensive remediation in English and math until they are ready to take on ninth-grade work.Under the proposal, 2,195 students would tackle their studies in city high school building…

Buffalo's Stepping Stone Academy Charter School, which was placed on probation by the state last December for failing to submit important financial information, has corrected those problems, and the probation should be lifted, the State University of New York's Charter Schools Committee decided Tuesday.The full SUNY board is expected to adopt that recommendation in its mee…

Buffalo's Lafayette High School was in a "lock-down" mode Wednesday morning after a student who had been out sick with viral meningitis vomited in the hallway.Class schedules returned to normal within about an hour, and officials said health risks to students and staff were "extremely minimal."Students were kept in their homerooms after the girl, who had been under doctor'…

Buffalo's Lafayette High School was in a "lock-down" mode for about an hour this morning after a student who had been out sick with viral meningitis vomited in the hallway.Class schedules returned to normal within about an hour, and officials said health risks to students and staff were "extremely minimal."Students were kept in their homerooms after the girl, who had been …

A Buffalo elementary school, fed up with the "immoral" marketing of sloppy and provocative clothing to children, is about to institute the district's first mandatory student uniform policy."Parents want their children attached to a place that stands for something," said Will Keresztes, principal of Highgate Heights Elementary School. "We're taking clothing off the table as…

They rank first, second and third in their graduating class at Cleveland Hill High School, but the contributions of Sarah Passafiume, Marie E. Klaiber and Grant G. Gibson go far beyond academics.All three serve as president of major student organizations, are gifted musicians and athletes, work on the student newspaper and take part in community service efforts."I just lik…