Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Birthday AAUW!

Happy Birthday AAUW in Rockland County began on November with a lecture by noted local historian, Mary Ann Leese on four outstanding Rockland County women of the past. Two were the first female physicians and two were the first women to swim the English channel. The attending guests and members shared a birthday cake emblazoned with the 125th birthday logo. We gained new members at this event, always a desirable outcome.

The Rockland County Branch of AAUW will observe the official birthday of our advocacy with Proclamation Day at the Rockland County Courthouse on Tuesday, November 238, 2006 at 2PM. After a brief introduction and history of the organization by co-president Joyce Clark Brown, proclamations from the governor and the state will be presented by Senator Morahan, and from the county by Chairwoman of the County Legislature (and member), The Honorable Harriet Cornell. Former state president Nancy Mion will accept the proclamations in the absence of current state Dianne Haney. After the official presentations, co-president Rosalind Maxwell will lead the guests to Nestos' Restaurant where the celebration will continue.

(This was posted by Jann on behalf of Joyce Brown, AAUW NYS Diversity Director.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm Thankful For the American Association of University Women

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we are supposed to reflect upon the things for which we are most thankful...Right?

I have a lot to be thankful for; my family is healthy, I have friends and neighbors that I love and can call on in times of need. All that good stuff.

I am also thankful for all the wonderful women I have had the pleasure of meeting and the privilege of working with for the last umpteen years - the women of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

At the AAUW New York State Board meeting last weekend, it hit me again, how different we all are. Some, like me, have difficulty at times keeping what pops into our heads from popping out of our mouths. Others, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, are careful in considered in their responses. Some are serious. Some are frustrated stand-up comics.

What draws us together for a weekend of long hours, difficult questions and a lot of hard work? Our mission.

"AAUW (American Association of University Women) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research."

We, on the state board, have the privilege of leading nearly 3,000 women from the farthest corners of the state to work towards this worthy and lofty mission. And the creativity and dedication shown by these members never cease to amaze me!

  • A half-day "Expanding Your Horizons" conference for 7th grade girls in NYC/Westchester to encourage them to continue taking math and science classes so that all career options remain open to them. The New York City Branch and Westchester Branch worked together in coalition with Barnard College and business and community sponsors to make these hands-on workshops available to 150 girls and 50 interested adults.

  • KIDS at RISK: A North Country Forum exploring issues facing the youth in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. The Forum identified areas of need and created an action plan for meeting those needs and was sponsored by the Jefferson County Branch and St. Lawrence County Branch in partnership with Children's Home of Jefferson County, Jefferson Community College, Jefferson County Youth Bureau, North Country Region, NYS-PTA, Planned Parenthood of Northern New York, SUNY Colleges in the North Country, Thousand Islands Girl Scout Council, Watertown Teen Center, Inc., Watertown YMCA, and Women's Studies Program, Potsdam College.

  • The 3rd annual Transitions Conference for women and girls beginning or returning to college hosted by the Buffalo Branch. Going back to college for "non-traditional" students can be a daunting task. The goal of this conference is to help women make that leap to change their lives and that of their families and through them their communities.

  • The human trafficing study group at the NYC Branch has been focusing on the roots of this modern day scourge and most importantly, working diligently to end it.

This are just a small sampling of what AAUW is all about.

I am thankful for the women who selflessly dedicate their time and considerable talents to putting together all of the programs in their local branches. I am proud to count myself among their numbers.

If you are interested in find out more about any of these programs, or what's going on in your neck of the woods, we welcome your talents and energies. You can easily find a branch near you by clicking here for a map of the state. Or feel free to drop me a line with any comments/questions etc.

You'll be thankful you did.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Day in the Life of LAF

The Southern NY Branch will be having a 125th Anniversary Proclamation read on Nov. 28, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. in the Mayor's Conference room at City Hall in Binghatmon,NY. Matthew Ryan is Binghamton's mayor. He, and his staff, have been very generous in facilitating this event. In addition to the Proclamation, someone from the branch will speak giving an overview of the history and mission of AAUW. The media has been invited.

City Hall is located on Hawley Street in the Government Plaza. Facing the plaza, City Hall is on the left. Parking can be obtained in the parking ramp across from Government Plaza on Hawley Street. All are welcome to attend.

This is a wonderful way to promote AAUW and one's own branch. We have already had interest in obtaining membership from the mayor's asistant. I have invited her to attend our December luncheon. This is a great membership tool.

Cheryl Papa

AAUW NYS Bylaws Amendments

Today I have been working on the amendments to the bylaws that the Board of Directors approved at their fall board meeting over this past weekend. Although it appears that there are many changes, most are strictly for brevity or clarity. The Nominating Committee amendments are the most significant proposed changes. Being that the Nominating Committee is one of the most important committees we have been trying to make it function better than it has in the past. The board has also approved the formation of an ad-hoc committee to study the Nominating Committee and create guidelines for candidate selction and operation of the committee. Having served as chair this year I can tell you that there needs to be more direction given.



The front page lead story in the New York Times yesterday was about a conference I attended exactly a week before concerning No Child Left Behind and its effects on schools and education. The story chose to focus on our failure to close the test score gaps between the races. (It has actually become worse.) So mich for increasing equity.

More importantly the test preparation for reading and math is driving out the subjects which represent the reasons for learning to read and do math. The standards chosen for success and failure have no empirical basis, and no country in the world has ever met them. The ways for a school to fail have are so numerous that award-winning schools have failed, yet the speakers overall rated NLCB a weak "positive" because it has focused attention on school performance.

There is need for much reform of NCLB legislation in the new congress.

Diane Haney, New York State President, American Association of University Women