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On Monday, October 6th, the Empire State Building lights will glow Barnard blue in honor of our 125th anniversary. This date marks the eve of the first day of classes at Barnard in 1889, the year of our founding. The sun will set at 6:30 PM, so make sure you get a good view and please share your photos on social media with #Barnard125.

 Here are just a few spots with great views of the Empire State Building:

La Quinta

 Top of the Strand

 Top of the Rock

230 Fifth

 Z NYC Hotel Queens Rooftop

 Brooklyn Bridge Park

 Staten Island Ferry

 

The Intermezzo concert series hosted by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) in Jerusalem's Sherover Theater is a highly popular event.  In addition to the music, concerts also feature an introductory lecture explaining the works to be played as well as coffee and cake. Whether the culinary component is the main reason for the popularity of these concerts remains conjectural! 

This concert provided the best that one comes to expect from the IPO.  The conductor was American born Kent Nagano, currently the music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.  In 2015 he will take up the position of music director of the Hamburg State Opera. 

The concert began with Georges Bizet's Symphony in C Major.  Bizet composed this masterpiece at the tender age of 17 years in about one month while he was studying at the Paris Conservatoire under the composer Charles Gounod.  Only Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schubert showed such precocious talent at a similar age.   

The orchestra was initially a little unsettled but rapidly moved into top gear and under Kent Nagano gave an ebullient rendering of the score.  Especially noteworthy was the beautiful oboe playing in the second theme of the first movement.  Mention should also be made of the haunting oboe melody in the Adagio slow movement accompanied with pizzicato by the strings.   

Next on the program was Paul Dukas's symphonic poem, The Sorcerers Apprentice based on a ballad by the great German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Lecturer Michael Wolpe pointed out that Dukas was Jewish and that his oeuvre was very small.  He was so highly self- critical that he destroyed many of his compositions. 

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is Dukas's best known composition and relates how in the sorcerer's absence his apprentice attempts to emulate his master and persuades a broomstick to carry buckets of water for him. The situation rapidly gets out of control since the broom brings in so many buckets that the house is flooded.  The apprentice chops the broom in half with an axe but to his horror both pieces come to life and continue to fetch water at an even greater pace.  Eventually the sorcerer returns to this chaos and breaks the spell.

This work was popularized by Walt Disney in his famous animated 1940 movie Fantasia.  It was Mickey Mouse who took the role of the apprentice.  Kent Nagano did a masterful job highlighting the virtuosity of the IPO.  There were superb contributions by trumpets, bassoons, bass clarinet and percussion. 

The real pièce de résistance of the concert was a performance of Tchaikovsky's ever popular first piano concerto.  After completing the concerto, Tchaikovsky approached the Russian pianist and conductor, Nikolai Rubinstein to premiere the work.  He also played it for Rubinstein.  What followed was one of the most famous confrontations in the annals of music.   According to Tchaikovsky's own written account, Rubenstein said "the concerto was worthless and unplayable; passages were so fragmented, so clumsy, so badly written that they were beyond rescue ......" Rubinstein added that if the concerto was completely revised according to his demands, then he would play it.  Tchaikovsky replied that he would not "alter a single note" and approached German pianist Hans von Bülow who premiered the original version in Boston.  The rest is history.  Rubinstein subsequently revised his opinion, became an ardent admirer of the work and conducted its Moscow premiere.

The soloist in the performance in Jerusalem was pianist Daniil Trifonov, who won 3rd prize in the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 2010 and the following year first prize in the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv and the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.    

Trifoniv pays on a Fazioli piano.  The Italian company manufacturing these pianos was established in 1981 and a little over 100 hand built pianos are produced annually.  Many established pianists have expressed their preference for these instruments and an increasing number use these Italian pianos in concert performances.

Crouching over the piano, Trifonov gave a dazzling, impeccable, authoritative and majestic account of this ever popular war horse.  This was not only a flashy virtuosic display but a deeply probing account where he succeeded in capturing the subtle nuances of this score.  I would like to hear this prodigiously gifted pianist in the non-romantic classical repertory to see if his unique talents also extend to this genre.  As an encore, Trifonov gave a scintillating account of Chopin's "Grande valse brillante" Op. 18 in E-Flat.

-The article was originally published in part in Esra Magazine, Issue 176, September 2014

 

 

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts (www.usdan.com), the nationally acclaimed summer arts day camp once again named a "Best Camp for 2014" by TimeOutNY/Kids, will present its eighth annual Usdan Chess Challenge this coming Sunday October 5 at its specially designed Hexter Chess Center on Long Island.  Open to grades K-12, the tournament is US Chess Federation-rated, and will be directed by Usdan Chess Instructors Brian Karen and Joel Salman.

To register, call USDAN at (631) 643-7900, write to info@usdan.com, or visit www.usdan.com . On-site registration is from 11:15 to 11:45 AM the day of the tournament, and the first round is at 12 Noon. There are four sections:  High School (Grades 7 to 12), Elementary (Grades 4 to 6), Primary Grades K to 3); and Championship, rated 1200+.  There will be trophies awarded to the top five in each section.  Sections may be altered depending on enrollment. Half-point byes are available on request.  The last round bye must be requested before round 3 and is irrevocable.  Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, and there is no smoking.

For further tournament details, contact Brian Karen at BrianKaren@usa.net, or Joel Salman at JSalman@optonline.net.

Fees are $30 in advance, due by October 1, and $40 the day of the tournament.  The tournament will be at the Maurice B. Hexter Chess Center on Usdan Center's magnificent 200-acre woodland campus, 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights, (Huntington) Long Island 11798.  

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, whose alumni include Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey and Jane Monheit, has just finished its 47 successful season, and has introduced the arts to more than 60,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Usdan's program features more than 40 four and seven-week programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, writing, nature & ecology, and chess. No audition is needed for most programs - rather, admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan's students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet.  

In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers opportunities for advanced high school- age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive, and a program of immersion in the visual arts. Usdan is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York. 

For information on Usdan Center, call (631) 643-7900, write to info@usdan.com, or visit www.usdan.com.

NEW YORK, NY- US Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his strong endorsement of the Democratic nominee, Rebecca Seawright for New York State Assembly in the 76th AD, which includes the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.  Ms. Seawright is the winner of the September 9th primary where she won 46% of the vote in a four-way race.  The general election is Tuesday, November 4th.  If Ms. Seawright wins the general election, she will be the first woman ever to represent this assembly district.

 Senator Schumer praised Ms. Seawright's excellent qualifications and her proven commitment to education, affordable housing, and human rights.  "Rebecca is the right choice to represent the residents of the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.  She will be a persistent and effective advocate for the needs of the community and the kind of reformer we need in Albany," said Senator Schumer.

Ms. Seawright thanked Senator Schumer and said, "I am enormously grateful for his support and will strive to emulate the high standard of advocacy for which he is so well respected."

During the primary campaign, numerous highly regarded prominent social activists and local leaders endorsed Ms. Seawright. Edie Windsor, the marriage equality activist and Sarah Weddington, the attorney who successfully argued Roe v. Wade were early supporters. Notably, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Senators Liz Krueger and José Serrano and City Council Members Daniel Garodnick and Benjamin Kallos endorsed early.

Rebecca Seawright is an attorney, community activist and proven advocate for women.  Currently, Rebecca serves as Chair of the Board of Visitors of the CUNY School of Law, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Feminist Press, and a member of Community Board 8. 

Ms. Seawright and her husband, Jay Hershenson, have lived on the UES for more than twenty years. They are the proud parents of Bradley, who is a sophomore at SUNYA and Haley, who attends a public high school.

In a massive 364 page ruling issued last week, Texas District Court Judge John K. Dietz ruled that the Texas education finance system:

  1. is structured in such a way that it cannot provide an adequate education for all students;

  2. does not provide the "general diffusion of knowledge" called for by the state constitution;

  3. denies all children equal access to the funding necessary for a "general diffusion of knowledge;"

  4. limits the ability of local school districts to raise sufficient funds and, in essence, establishes a state property tax that is prohibited by the Texas constitution.

The Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition v. Williams

The Court had issued a ruling last year holding that the state education finance system was unconstitutional, but  after the state legislature voted to increase education funding at its last session, the judge scheduled additional hearings to determine if the new legislation had brought the system into constitutional compliance. The court's analysis of all aspects of the Texas finance system as set forth in his detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law determined that the recent increases had not substantially rectified the deep-rooted constitutional violations.

In its exhaustive analysis of all aspects of the state's finance system, the court found that although the state had substantially raised its academic standards, it made no effort to provide the extra resources students would need to meet those standards, or to update its formulae and cost analyses to determine what level of resources would be necessary.  Judge Dietz also found that the growing population of English language learner and low income students are not receiving the extra "wrap around services" such as quality pre-K programs, extra learning time, counseling and parent engagement that they need to obtain a "general diffusion of knowledge," and that the state was not providing sufficient funds to recruit a quality teaching staff, provide reasonable class sizes, and ensure necessary supplies, equipment and adequate facilities. He rejected arguments by Defendants' experts Rick Hanushek and Michael Podgursky regarding a lack of correlation between extra spending and school performance and defendants allegations of wasteful spending by certain school districts.

The Court's remedy was dramatic: it has enjoined any spending through the current state education finance system effective July 1, 2015, until the state corrects the constitutional violations described in the opinion. The court also awarded substantial attorneys' fees to plaintiffs' attorneys and retained jurisdiction to oversee compliance.

By

He came out at 18, shortly after becoming an undergraduate at Emory University.

Four years later, Bergeleen credits Emory's welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students as a key factor not only in his discovering his own identity, but in going on to graduate from the business school this year.

Universities are, in fact, welcoming the growing number of arriving students who feel comfortable being out as gay or transgender. But to them, it's not just a response to a fast-moving social movement. It's a business decision.

"It comes down to the bottom line," said Genny Beemyn, director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, one of the nation's early on-campus support centers for LGBT students.

"It's a competitive advantage," Beemyn said. "If you want to attract the best and brightest students, you don't want competitors to get a leg up."

A growing number of campuses are launching programs to attract and hold onto LGBT students, including college fairs aimed at LGBT applicants, LGBT student-support offices, special graduation ceremonies, and housing and healthcare for transgender students.

During his time at Emory, Bergeleen led gay student groups on campus and worked in the admissions office. Both activities led him to discover "a great demand" among LGBT students for assurances that the colleges and universities they are considering attending will support their identities, he said.

The median age that lesbian, gay and bisexual adults say they came out is 20, exactly when they're college age, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. And with 92 percent of those polled saying that society has gotten more accepting of them in the last decade, LGBT students are becoming more visible at the same time overall enrollment is flattening out.

To recruit and keep them, many campuses are opening LGBT student centers, or dedicating full-time staff to those they already had.

There are about 400 such centers nationwide, said Ronni Sanlo, a founding chair of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, and while there's no data on the year-over-year increase, Sanlo said that they have even started popping up in the 29 states whose discrimination laws don't mention sexual orientation and gender identity. Sanlo spoke in Kentucky in the spring, for example, and discovered three new centers on campuses there.

Colleges and universities are also putting more resources into LGBT student centers, including by hiring full-time employees to direct them. At Kennesaw State University's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Questioning Student Retention Services Office and Resource Center, director Jessica Duvall said she has seen the annual number of visits rise from 158 in 2012, when she was hired, to 494 last year. She has launched programs such as an annual gay history exhibit and a "rainbow graduation ceremony."

"What is happening now [with LGBT students] is what happened with minorities," said Jerome Ratchford, vice president for student success at Kennesaw, who was hired 26 years ago to help recruit black students.

Ratchford said a "critical mass of gay students came on campus and organized" in recent years. Administrators determined that, "if they met the needs of these students, the students [would] have a higher probability of being successful." That would "change the culture" of the school, and lead to more LGBT students choosing it, he said.

One tool that has helped LGBT students choose schools is the Campus Pride Index. The index rates campuses on a scale of one to five stars based on a voluntary survey of more than 50 questions ranging from, "Does your campus offer health insurance coverage to employees' same-sex partners?" to "Does your campus have a LGBT alumni group?"

More than 400 campuses have now taken the survey, an uptick of 35 percent in the last two years, said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, the organization that oversees the index. Campus Pride also holds college fairs, and plans to host its first online college fair next year.

"Campuses today want to be called gay friendly," Windmeyer said. "They see they're going to lose students if they're not, [and] realize the pool of non-LGBT students is dwindling."

At the same time, Windmeyer said one of the obstacles in continuing to attract and, especially, retain LGBT students is the delicate issue of knowing who they are. It was only three years ago that Elmhurst College in Illinois became the first institution to ask students about their sexual orientation on its admissions application. Since then, only a handful of other schools have followed suit. The University of Iowa and MIT include an optional question about sexual orientation, and Duke has now said it will invite students to disclose their sexual orientation in an application essay if they choose.

"Recruitment starts by learning about a population and what their interests are," said Gary Rold, dean of admissions at Elmhurst. Before asking the question, Rold said, "We didn't know much about this population."

One thing Elmhurst has learned is that about half of the college's incoming students who identify as LGBT are also black or Hispanic, compared with about a third of the general student population. This means the LGBT students at his campus are more likely to be first-generation college students, Rold said -- an important factor when it comes to helping them to stay in school.

Experiences like Rold's at Elmhurst are why campuses can't just aim for a five-star rating in his college guide, said Windmeyer. They also have to learn who their gay and lesbian students are, and what they need, though he also said it was unlikely that questions about sexual identity will be added to the Common Application form because of sensitivity from, among others, religious colleges. The Common Application already turned down the idea once, in 2011.

"You can't do it in a bubble," he said, "without having a way to track who they are."

Meanwhile, more schools seem to be following the approach at Elmhurst, which Rold described as, "not an advertising campaign, and not a political agenda... [Instead,] we're more conscious of sending out a subtle welcome mat."

Reprinted from Time on September 3rd, 2014 

Attention students attending high school in New York City or Westchester County*:

You've been nominated to enter the Con Edison Get Out the Vote Video Contest. The freedom to vote is the hallmark of our democracy. It is both a privilege and a civic duty.

Show us why voting is important to you or someone in your life in an original video. Just shoot and upload a video that delivers the message in 90 seconds or less. Entries will be evaluated on their artistic quality and how well and creatively they illustrate the contest's message.

The first place winner scores an Apple gift card worth $1,000. Second- and third-place winners finish with Apple gift cards worth $500 and $250, respectively.

Every voice counts. You don't have to wait until you turn 18 to use yours.

For the contest rules and guidelines for video submissions, visit the rules page.

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Judges:
Scott Warren, Co-founder and Executive Director, Generation Citizen
Sean Gallagher, In-house Editor, Jacob Burns Film Center
Carl Goodman, Executive Director, Museum of the Moving Image
John Banks, Vice President of Government Relations, Con Edison
Ann Cameron, Director of Creative Services, Con Edison

ENTER NOW HERE!

VIEW ENTRIES HERE!

HOW TO ENTER
You and, if you are under 18 years of age at the time of entry, your parent or legal guardian should read the Guidelines for Get Out the Vote Video Submissions, and the Eligibility, Requirements and Other Contest Rules. If you are over 18 years of age at the time of entry, complete and electronically submit the online entry form. If you are under 18 years of age, have your parent or legal guardian complete and electronically submit the online entry form and the parental consent on the entry form. Your executed entry form (including the executed parental consent if you are under 18 years of age) and your video submission must be received by Con Edison by 12:00 am ET on October 11, 2014. Upload your video submission to this website, conedison.votigo.com.

Waiting for Godot at Barrow St Theater

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For a compelling evening at the theater attend the opening of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in Yiddish at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street, on Thursday September 4 at 7:30pm.

Still floating from their triumph at the Beckett Festival in Northern Ireland, the New Yiddish Rep troupe continues its unlikely journey, which started a year ago at the multicultural Castillo Theatre. Now the production is set to open the 7th annual Origin's 1st Irish Festival where it runs in competition at the Barrow Street Theatre thru September 21.

Many of us who have toiled in the trenches to keep the flame of Yiddish culture burning, are immensely gratified by the enthusiasm this groundbreaking production is sparking across a spectrum of groups.  Lovers of modern theatre, of Beckett, of Yiddish, and students of WW II and the Holocaust have been galvanized.  In many ways the audience gravitating to this production couldn't be more diverse.

That's the way New Yiddish Rep always wants it, as it dedicates itself to producing theatre of quality and consequence for a wide audience... in yiddish!

Yes we can have a meaningful impact on the broader contemporary culture.  And yes, Yiddish, which has astounded so many for its refusal to fade away, is poised to amaze anew. #

Middle School Issues

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By Dr. Ann Mulvey

The Middle School years are very demanding for parents and educators alike. The junior high period are the years when curiosity, social awareness and emotionality of adolescences develop. For some students, especially girls, these years can be a trial for them to fit into the social milieu. Seemingly simply inclusions such as invitations to birthday parties may mean everything to many of these students.  I have seen rejection by girls to birthday parties develop into deep depression for that teenager.

For both boys and girls maturity may compete with body image and self-concept (Wolman, 1998).  For girls, it is a period of intense sensitivity and adjustment. For boys, it may be a time of teasing and limited self-concept. Boys want to excel academically and athletically to maintain self-concept.  It is really a time for "students to figure out who they are."

During these years, to get attention, bullying can be a serious problem for parents and educators. The bully often has issues that need to be addressed. In my experience, the bully feels lonely with "no one who cares." On the other-hand, the victim must be given time to discuss the situation and be part of the action plan. The most difficult times for the victim are usually the less structured periods of the school day.  This situation occurs because students are given more freedom of choice during recess, hall movement, lunch and perhaps specials. The aftermath of childhood bullying can stay with an individual for a devastatingly long time. Jose Bolton underscores that because of shame and embarrassment, bully victims feel overwhelmed and debilitated and many never forget the physical and emotional pain of being abused.  

As educators, a definite course of action must be followed to assist the bullying victim. At lunch, when a group isolates the student, it might be well for the administrator to have her/his lunch with the group including the victim. Food time may work miracles! The adult may steer the conversation and diffuse some of the anti-social behavior. The risk behavior of adolescents is often a consequence of adolescent's personal search for identity, according to Brown.

Research supports the belief that students must feel the sense of belonging and excitement in order to reach academic potential. Kevorkian points out that peer-rejection may have serious side effects such as low self-esteem and depression.  Peer-rejection may lead to dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency and/or mental health issues.  

Middle school students need parental help to choose friends with similar interest.  Praise and encouragement by parents and educators will help to develop the best assets for each child. This developmental period may be an exciting time for adults and students. It does not have to be the age of strife, "drama" and negativity". Adults need to be role models and always willing to listen to youngsters. Adults must remember they once had the same concerns, issues and possible "drama outburst". Adults survived this stage and so will our students.#

Ann Mulvey is a professor at Touro College.

Several excellent resources for parents and educators are: Wolman, B.B. (1998) Adolescences: Biological and Psychological Perspectives; Bolton, Jose (2005): No Rule for Bullies; Brown, B. B. (1990): Peer Groups and Peer Cultures; Kevorkian, Meline (2006): Preventing Bullying, Helping Form Positive Relationships. 

Pine Street School Opens Doors to Pre-K

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By Joan Baum, Ph.D.

Lower Manhattan has a new pre-K-elementary school, one with an unusual curriculum and high hopes for success. Its founder, Dr. Jennifer Jones, uses the term "marriage" to describe its mission, content and structure - a merger of two concepts that until now, with the establishment of the new school, Pine Street, at 40 Wall Street, have been joined together at only one other school in the country (The Whitby School in Greenwich, CT). The idea is to bring together Monessori principles, practices and procedures with International Baccalaureate (IB) programs as early as Pre-K.  The result is what Jones calls a "Montessori-infused International Baccalaureate program," the first of its kind in Manhattan. The IB method, she says, encourages children to think and act like professionals in various disciplines, engaging in problem solving and problem posing This fall, the school opened with approximately 40-50 preschool and early elementary school students. Grade six will start in 2015, and each year after another grade will be added, with Pine Street eventually covering high school. Jones describes the marriage as "unique" and "challenging," an inquiry-based curriculum" with an optional Spanish immersion component.

Jones, who is the founder of Green Ivy Schools, a network of private schools based in lower Manhattan, is a longtime education consultant nationally and internationally on school development, management, strategic planning and fundraising. She says that the Pine Street School is "a breath of fresh air educationally, experientially and architecturally." For sure, viewers who go online will see a knockout design of 85,000 square feet (designed by Perkins Eastman), with floor-to-ceiling windows, moveable walls, multipurpose studios and a dedicated performance space with state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting, including project rooms and workshop areas that can also accommodate culinary, scientific and artistic programming. Even the hallways and stairwells can also serve as a "potential learning space." The Pine Street School is the second of the Green Ivy network (a Battery Park Montessori preschool opened last year in Lower Manhattan).

Why Lower Manhattan?  Jones points out that there is a wait list for the public schools in the area because of a population explosion of young people moving in (The Pine Street School is a station away from Brooklyn). Herself the mother of a five-year-old, she felt immediately the effect of closed schools but also a "responsibility" to do something for parents of young children.  Not just responsibility, but "fierce passion" to ensure that kids got to go to neighborhood schools, reflecting the values of the area and enhancing them by their presence.  Down the road, she says, Green Ivy schools will be more accessible to changing populations, but for now, her imagination and energy have been fired not to waste time. The marriage consists of integrating intimate, nurturing, internally directed Montessori ideas with IB focus on global and wide cultural issues and have children realize their potential by merging cognitive and social learning. The IB curriculum begins with three year olds and is referred to as PYP (Primary Year Program), with MYP for the middle year and eventually DYP, a Diploma Year Program for the high schools.

The staff of course is the number-one consideration. Jones auditions teachers - "watching them with kids, you can tell who's got it, the children tell you." Eileen Baker, Head of School at Pine Street, has 30 years of experience not only in teaching and directing education programs in this country but with IB programs in Turkey, Angola and Indonesia. As of this fall, entering students, as young as two years old, can attend a half day session (9-12 or 1-4) or go from 9-3, which includes lunch and , after school activities, such as martial arts, cooking, theatre. For those who elect Spanish immersion, approximately 50% of their day will be conducted in that language (eventually other languages will be added to the curriculum).

Jones is understandably excited about opening a school that will encourage "kids to flower, help them be what they're meant to be," and not what they're told they must or should be." That means that they start thinking like professionals in their early grades, and developing a love, a passion for what they study. "You have to work really hard to make learning boring," she laughs. No way, she feels confident, could this happen at Pine Street. About 80-90% of those who learned about the school did so by word of mouth, but Jones invites readers to go to www.greenivy.com. She estimates that the cost of attending Pine Street is $30.000 a year.#

Education Update, Inc. All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2013.