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Boy Scouts
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Summer 2008
The West
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Where I Grew Up

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What students know that experts don’t: School is all about signaling, not skill-building

"Academics and administrators also sense the importance of signaling, even if they won't admit it. Why else would they bother to combat cheating? If school were merely a place for students to invest in their skills, cheaters would literally "only be cheating themselves," spending time and tuition for naught. If, however, school is primarily a place to convince firms you're worthy of employment, cheating has a slew of victims. The cheater who successfully impersonates a good student doesn't just rip off whoever hires him. He also taints the prospects of all his peers who toiled for their degrees."

Google Maps: 2017-18 Proposed Budget Funded By Property Tax

It varies in our state on how much local schools are funded via local property taxes versus state aid. Generally, downstate and more affluent suburbs rely more on local property taxes then upstate communities. The school districts in the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park are heavily reliant on property taxes -- but they also receive significant amounts of aid in form of property taxes paid on state land in those school districts.

Why Don’t School Buses Have Seatbelts?

"In 2014, my son Harry started kindergarten. He and his pals loaded on the bus and went to school for the day. When they got to their after-school program, the teachers asked the kids what they did that day. Five-year-old Wesley’s response was at the top of the list: “We didn’t wear seat belts on the bus.”

"We have obsessively trained our children to buckle their seat belts from the moment they’re able to. If I try and pull away from a parking spot and Harry’s not buckled in, he lets me know loud and clear. From the first moment they enter an automobile, today’s kids are lashed in place with more protection than Neil Armstrong had when he went to the moon."

"Yet, five years later, many American kids board the school bus and sit on a sheet of upholstered plywood without as much as a lap belt, and we hardly question it.

Google Maps: Percentage Of The Population With A College Degree

The counties with the lowest percentage of college graduates (Bachelors degree or higher) are Loving County, Texas (1.9%); Kusilvak County, Alaska; McDowell County, WV (5.0%), Wheeler County, Georgia (5.1%); Wheeler County George (5.6%); and Morgan County, Tenneesee (6.4%).

The counties with the highest percentage of graduates are Falls Church city, Virginia (78.8%); Arlington County, Virginia (72.9%); Los Alamos County, New Mexico (64.2%); Alexandria city, Virginia (61.4%) and Howard County, Maryland (60.6%).

Persons Age 25 or Older
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Why Summer Jobs Don’t Pay

"Why can't kids today just work their way through college the way earlier generations did? The answer to that question isn't psychology. It's math. A summer job just doesn't have the purchasing power it used to, especially when you compare it with the cost of college."

"Let's take the example of a working-class student at a four-year public university who's getting no help from Mom and Dad. In 1981-'82, the average full cost to attend was $2,870. That's for tuition, fees and room and board. The maximum Pell Grant award back then for free tuition help from the government was $1,800. That leaves our hypothetical student on the hook for just about $1,000. Add in a little pocket money, too — say $35 a week. That makes an extra $1,820 for the year on top of the $1,000 tuition shortfall."

Google Maps: 2017-18 Proposed Local School Budget

Curious how your local school district ranks for their proposed budget compared to surrounding districts? This interactive map can help show you spending that is proposed in local districts. Districts who plan to increase spending are a green, and darker green for bigger jumps in spending. Districts planning on cutting spending are red, and a darker red for bigger cuts in spending compared to previous years.

Google Maps: SUNY Colleges And Universities

There are community colleges and state universities across most of New York State. Campuses which comprise the State University of New York (SUNY) System. Highlights information on Undergraduate and Graduate enrollment as well as some program area offerings.

Data Source: State University of New York (SUNY) Campus Locations with Websites, Enrollment and Select Program Offerings.

State University of New York, Enrollment

The modern State University of New York came into being and expanded enormously under Governor Nelson Rockefeller during the 1960s, out of its very humble roots of a series of state teachers colleges.

Data Source: Headcount Enrollment by Student Level and Student Load, State University of New York: Beginning 1948.

Kent State shootings

"The Kent State shootings (also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre) were the shootings of college students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, by members of the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970. Twenty-nine guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis."

"Some of the students who were shot had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign, which President Richard Nixon announced during a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance."

"There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of 4 million students, and the event further affected public opinion, at an already socially contentious time, over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War."