iTutor

As teacher shortage grows, a virtually ideal substitute

By HARRY AURORA // It’s no secret the teacher shortage facing school districts across the county is a legitimate crisis. A widely distributed 2019 study by the Economic Policy Institute called the teacher shortage “large and growing,” and analysts point to two key issues: Public schools are hiring fewer teachers and fewer people are pursuing teaching careers, a perfect storm for a public-education epidemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 60,000…


A preemptive approach to postsecondary success

By HARRY AURORA // For some, preparation for postsecondary education starts at a young age. Many children who aspire to be doctors, lawyers and scientists understand the required commitment to academic achievement, and that it continues well beyond high school. These particular students typically have not only the support of their family members, but also a role model – a teacher or guidance counselor, perhaps, instilling in them a drive to achieve at their highest…


As suspensions mount, schools have homework to do

By HARRY AURORA // One of the most extreme ways to discipline a student is the out-of-school suspension – but this punishment only bandages a problem, without actually fixing it. With little to no academic guidance at home, suspended students often suffer long-term negative consequences. Suspensions should only be used as a last resort – and if it’s absolutely necessary, schools should take steps to ensure that students are learning from their mistakes, and learning…


As SAT-prep costs soar, a classroom-based solution

By HARRY AURORA // If this spring’s much-publicized college admissions scandal highlights anything, it’s that competition to get into the nation’s top schools is fierce, with the cost of admission seemingly as high as the price of matriculation. Extreme examples aside, it’s no secret that college preparation favors the wealthy. Private instruction and tutors provide a competitive advantage to students and families who can afford them; some tutors’ rates start at $1,000 per hour, and…


No. 417: Riding the Cyclone, battling preterm births, ERASE-ing racism – and the truth about Abner Doubleday

  June swoon: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as we hurtle toward the end of June and the end of the first full week of Summer 2019. “School’s Open, Drive Carefully,” the old bumper stickers said, but that never made sense to us. It would seem that when schools are closed (most across Long Island go dark today, for the next 10 weeks) and kids are playing outdoors is when safety is paramount. But we…


It’s summer, and educational inequities are widening

By HARRY AURORA // Everyone loves summer vacation. But it’s vital that school districts and parents acknowledge the consequences of taking an extended period of time away from learning. Multiple studies have supported that a “summer slide” truly exists. Over the course of a typical summer, the average student loses more than two months of math and reading skills and one month of overall learning – and it can take up to two months for…


No. 409: Affordable rentals, sudden departures and Fulbright scholars, starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby

  Welcome to Wednesday: And a happy midweek to you, dear reader, as we speed through another exciting (and blessedly abbreviated) week of socioeconomic innovation. Hard to believe, with Memorial Day over and summer unofficially started and all, but it’s still May out there. May 29, to be exact, and if you had Roman Emperor Julian defeating the Sasanian Army in the Battle of Ctesiphon on this date in 363 A.D., you’ve won 100 gold…


To ensure college success, level the HS academic field

By HARRY AURORA // Education is the cornerstone of success, a college degree is paramount and K-12 schools are committed to doing everything possible to help students excel at the college level. It appears to be working: National high school graduation rates are among the highest they’ve ever been. But accommodating for the wide range of variables that exist for every individual student is never easy, and requires significant resources that may not be available…


Books, online learning key to battling ‘summer slide’

By HARRY AURORA // Longer days, warmer weather and the approach of summer vacation excite students, but many educators and parents worry about the toll that long break from school can have on academic gains students worked hard to achieve. Dubbed the “summer slide,” the time spent away from the classroom can be especially hard on students in lower socioeconomic areas that lack the same opportunities as their wealthier counterparts (access to private tutors, summer…


No 393: Cuomo’s big budget, Wei Yin’s smarter entrepreneurs and the prototypically helpful MTRC

  Welcome to the show: Hello and happy Wednesday to you, dear reader, as we speed toward the back nine of another busy workweek. Welcome especially new newsletter subscribers Ron, Mindy, Lauren, David, Nicholas, Christine, Dianne, Liz and Connie. Lace up, kids – you join us on National Walking Day, the American Heart Association’s first-Wednesday-of-April reminder to stretch those limbs once in a while. A.K.A. “Think Twice Day”: April 3 is also National Don’t Go…


Answers are closer than you think for rural schools

By HARRY AURORA // The value of an education cannot be overstated, but not all schools are able to provide students with opportunities to reach their full potential. Serving nearly 20 percent of the country’s K-12 student population, rural schools face particular hardships, with budgets, transportation, staffing, healthcare and distance from students’ homes being of particular concern. Fortunately, technology can greatly impact access to education, allowing students facing the challenges of the rural education system…


Breakfast of champions

Hundreds turn out to honor LI’s brightest innovators (photos by Bob Giglione) In a rare breakfast networker that delivered all the feels, Innovate Long Island saluted its 2019 Innovators of the Year Tuesday at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. More than 200 guests turned out to honor two dozen of Long Island’s brightest and boldest researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs and executives, including 2019 Master of Innovation Mitch Maiman and Stony Brook University Vice President…


No. 390: On relativity, finger-licking and extra Voices – and happy birthday, almost-2,000-year-old man

  Spring in your step: Welcome to Wednesday, dear reader, and not just any Wednesday but the first day of spring in our lovely Northern Hemisphere – the vernal equinox occurs today at 5:58 p.m. Eastern Time. We really had an easy winter. But the 15-or-so inches of snow measured by the National Weather Service’s Islip monitoring station won’t be a record low, according to historical accumulations recorded by Brookhaven National Laboratory. Veggie tales: This…


When it comes to ELL, everyone must learn the lingo

By HARRY AURORA // The makeup of the nation’s student body has changed dramatically over the past few decades. One of the most striking changes is that English Language Learners, students who must learn English in addition to typical American academic studies, now account for nearly one out of every 10 students. Educators and administrators are tasked with helping ELL students succeed in academic, social and emotional learning – and language barriers can make this…


For homebound-ed answers, ask the right questions

By HARRY AURORA // The distressing fact about American education is that the deck is stacked against many children before they open their first textbook. Much of the nation’s attention, as it relates to solving inequities in public education, is focused on whole school districts. But what about individual students for whom attending a traditional school is simply not possible? Whether it’s a student with disabilities or social/emotional issues, someone dealing with a family crisis…