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NYSED Commissioner looks to higher education to support students

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia appeared on the Daemen College campus in Amherst Thursday Distinguished Lecture series.

"We need to provide that same education, that same high quality education to all students in the state, and I can tell you, right now, it's not happening," stated Elia.

Elia delivered a speech before a number of area college presidents and members of higher education. 

The state education leader spoke about ways colleges and universities in New York can support the student pipeline by encouraging partnerships.

"We have a much better chance of having high quality provided, with all the universities, colleges working together with the agencies that support families and social services, working together, and having them focused on what our children and our families in this community and all communities across New York State need," said Elia.   

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Members of higher education attend Elia's speech at Daemen.

Elia allowed college leaders to ask questions following her speech.

Elia was asked by St. Bonaventure President Sister Margaret Carney how higher education could lift-up future teachers currently under fire in their profession.

Elia said there has been too much negativity around the teaching profession. "We have created the image that all teachers are bad," said Elia.

Elia encouraged members of higher education to continue partnerships to help all students. She noted that ultimately they become students at colleges and universities.  

"Our students in our schools ultimately your students, so if they're prepared better to come to you...then we all win," noted Elia. "We are working very hard to prepare our students better, so when they leave us, remediation is not the norm."  

Canisius College President John Hurley explained to Commissioner Elia that he has met with Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash in an effort to assist with the troubled district.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Canisius College President John Hurley asks Elia about helping the Buffalo School District.

Cash was recommended to the city district by Elia. She responded to Hurley that Cash 'will do all the right things.'

Hurley continued to explain that the city district is spending tens of millions of dollars for outside consultants to do what a lot of the region's higher education institutions could do to assist.

Hurley said he believes the city district deals with too much 'bureaucracy'. 

Elia said she is committed and will work to facilitate.

"He (Cash) and I have had that conversation," responded Elia. "Dr. Cash is very committed to making the shifts that need to occur. 

Elia noted she has tallied up about 10,000 miles on her car since becoming the new state education leader. Elia returning to her alma mater, Rosary Hill College, now Daemen prior to attending the University at Buffalo and SUNY Buffalo State for her teaching degree. 

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