New York Offers Free State Tuition Plan

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States like Tennesse, Oregon, and San Francisco have been offering free community college to low-income families but New York is now the first state to offer free state 4-year college tuition.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted the Excelsior scholarship in order to take some of the pressure of student loan debt off of the middle class. To qualify for the scholarship, students will have to accept a certain class load and surpass grade point average requirements.

The state budget for the scholarship topped over $160 million, and nearly 940,000 families will qualify for free state 2-year, 4-year, and community college. Students will still have to cover some of the cost of college like room, board, books, and meal plans. The average annual tuition in New York for 4-year colleges is $6,470 and $4,350 for community colleges. To qualify for the Excelsior scholarship, the student’s family must earn less than $125,000 annually.

The initiative also includes $19 million for a new tuition program for students at private colleges maxing out around $3,000 per student. Governor Cuomo says, “It is incredibly hard and getting harder to get a college education today. It is incredibly expensive. And the debt is like starting a race with an anchor tied to your leg.” Cuomo believes everyone deserves a fair shot at the American dream and success,

“The rule of the game was everybody has a fair shot at success, that is America, and when you take that away, you take away the spirit and the values that made this country this country.”

District Attorney Candidates Campaign to Replace Seth Williams

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The seven Democratic candidates, Michael Untermeyer, Tariq El-Shabazz, Teresa Carr Deni, John O’Neil, Joe Khan, Lawrence Krasner, and Richard Negrin, sat on a panel with the lone Republican, Beth Grossman to discuss their platforms. Candidate Shabazz talked about law enforcement corruption in Philadelphia and said, “We have to begin to stand up, to face them, and to prosecute them, when appropriate. We also have to understand, on the flip side, we need our police officers, we need it for public safety and protection, so we have to begin to rebuild bridges.”

Candidates also expressed their opinions about the decriminalization of marijuana in Philadelphia. “We are talking about potentially saving 125 lives in Philadelphia if we were to have either a de facto or an actually legally authorized policy of not prosecuting ready access to marijuana and frankly I support legalization of recreational use of marijuana, medical marijuana,” Defense Attorney Lawrence Krasner said. All eight candidates, including Republican Beth Grossman, agreed with Mayor Michal Nutter’s decision to decriminalize marijuana.

Other topics discussed on the panel included mandatory state minimums, gun control, and the safety and protocol of abuse victims. The District Attorney candidates expect to have more debates before the May 16 primary election.

The primary election has been shadowed by the legal issues facing current Philadelphia’s District Attorney Seth Williams. He’s been indicted on 23 counts of corruption, including bribery, extortion, and fraud.

In the 50-page indictment, Philadelphia’s first African-American District Attorney is accused of accepting over $175,000 worth of gifts and cash in return for favors. Some of the gifts DA Williams allegedly received include a used Jaguar XK8 convertible, expensive furniture, plane tickets, and multiple vacations.


Temple KDP Chapter Hosts Book Drive for Community Public School

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Kappa Delta Pi has been an International Honors Society in Education since 1911. The organization was founded to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching others. The Society started with a single local chapter and has grown for over a century into the international organization it is today with an initiated membership that exceeds 1.2 million members. Temple University’s KDP, Alpha Alpha Nu Chapter, founded on October 10th 2001, continues to strive today towards sustaining an honored community of diverse educators by promoting excellence by advancing the education of a local elementary school, Dr. Tanner G Duckery Public School.

Temple’s KDP Chapter is focusing their attention on fundraising in order to build a new library for the Dr. Tanner G Duckery Public School, which is located just two blocks away from Temple’s Main campus. The Society is hoping to receive most of the funds for the project through OwlCrowd. OwlCrowd is a campaign throughout Temple Universty that has received over $54,340 from more than 570 donors. This is the 8th OwlCrowd campaign and the Alpha Alpha Nu Chapter is hoping their application for funds will be accepted so they can begin their work on the education in the local Temple community. In a personal interview KDP, Alpha Alpha Nu Chapter Secretary Jeannette Rupprecht says, “Our goal hopefully is to build better relations with you know Temple, and the College of Education, as well as the community.” Previous projects funded by OwlCrowd can be found in the archives.

In order to make the new library the best it can be, KDR is also accepting new to slightly used books to fill the shelves. Students, faculty, and everyone who would like to donate can find the brightly decorated donation boxes in the Shimada Resource Center located in Ritter Annex room 150. KDR is asking for books that are in the range of slightly before kindergarten to 8th grade. Over 500 books have already flooded the donation boxes, but the total amount of donations that will be accepted are limitless. William Pestcoe, the KDP Treasurer told us the donations are,”giving back to them so they can have a nice base, and a nice foundation for reading, writing, and building that library for them is going to be not only a great thing for us but for them and a community as a whole.” Those who would like to donate have up until a week after spring break on March 24th.

The Alpha Alpha Nu Chapter plans on returning to the completed library to host events and activities for the children. Kristen Shields, the KDP Event Coordinator, says, “I definitely think it’s something that we should have a continued relationship, we shouldn’t just build a library and you know, never come back.”

There is no set date for the completion fo the new library, but the International Honors Society in Education is hoping to open in early May.

Temple’s Eyes Move From Blackboard to Canvas

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Since 1999 Temple University has used Blackboard as its online course management system. After 18 years, Blackboard’s contract with Temple University will come to an end in the summer of 2017. With this contract ending, Temple has the option of either choosing to continue the partnership with Blackboard, or turn to a new system. One option Temple is looking into is another course management system, Canvas.

Canvas includes many features such as chatting with professors, viewing assignments, and more. In order to get opinions from faculty and staff of Temple University, Temple’s Computer Services has created a pilot of Canvas. This pilot is currently being used by 25 courses across Temple, including in courses abroad in London and Japan. This pilot gives faculty and students a chance to compare Canvas to Blackboard. With the pilot, students and faculty will take multiple surveys and meet with committee members in order for Computer Services to be given proper feedback.

Since Canvas is a different system, Temple Computer Services is offering a number of help outlets. This includes a 24-hour, 7 days a week, phone hotline, (844) 683-6439, where students can get help if they are having trouble with the system. There is also a live chat for technical support at For classes taking part in the Canvas pilot, instructors are able to come in and explain the system.

There is also an option for people not participating in the pilot to be given a chance to try Canvas. This “Sandbox” gives other Temple students and faculty a chance to play around with the new system.

Even though Computer Services is looking into Canvas, it wants to make it clear that this does not mean Temple is definitely switching to Canvas when the contract with Blackboard runs out. Computer Service says it is simply looking into Canvas in an attempt to create a report to pitch Canvas to both the Provost and Vice President of Computer Services this summer. And if a decision is made to switch from Canvas to Blackboard, the process would not be automatic. There would be a migration period of at least two years.