News 12 Networks Goes In-Depth on Education “Testing The Limits” Town Meetings Airs Around the Tri-State

(Woodbury, N.Y., April 18, 2002) – News 12 Networks went in-depth on the issues facing the tri-state area’s student community in “Testing the Limits, a region-wide live Town Meeting, Wednesday April 17th. Each of the five News 12 regional channels produced their own “Testing the Limits” special program, airing on the same day and during the same time period, with their own local panel of guests to discuss the pertinent issues relating to education in their individual viewing areas. Viewers were encouraged to participate by phone or e-mail during the live program, and News 12 recorded more than 500 of phone calls and 100 emails throughout the evening. “Testing the Limits’ aired on the News 12 channels in Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester, and the Bronx.

“This Town Meeting was a perfect example of News 12 doing what News 12 does best, and that’s cover the issues that are important to our viewers”, said Patrick Dolan, President of News 12 Networks. “The volume of phone calls we received during this live event across the network is proof positive that schools and education are topics that people are passionate about. The “Testing the Limits” Town Meeting provided an appropriate forum for people to voice their opinions and entertain new ideas.”

News 12 Long Island ramped up for their “Testing the Limits” Live Town Meeting with a 3-part series that began Monday, April 15th. The series investigated academic pressures, social pressures, and parental pressures. These same topics were then discussed in-depth in a panel discussion, during the live Town Meeting on April 17th (7-9pm). Panelists included: Carmela Bernaccio, the Parent and Child Education Director for Long Island, Dr. David Ferrin, a Psychologist, Robert Johnson, the President of the New York State Board of Regents, and William Metkiff the President of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents. Additionally, four local teachers, six local students, and three local parents made up the panel.

At News 12 New Jersey, the live “Testing the Limits” town hall meeting generated rousing discussion, centering on the issue of standardized testing (7-8pm). The discourse, moderated by News 12 New Jersey anchor Tom Layson, couldn’t have been more timely: People statewide have seen newly-minted New Jersey Governor James McGreevey sharpen his focus on educational issues and related fiscal initiatives. His Commissioner of Education William Librera, one of the invited panelists, favors a shakeup in the testing routine – suggesting that the tests are better used as diagnostic tools to prevent students from falling below the literacy curve. He also thinks there has to be broader criteria for determining the specific funding needs of individual school districts. Among the other panelists was Dr. Robert Holster, the Superintendent of the Passaic School District, who at turns disagreed with the Commissioner, suggesting the tests are the best way of determining school funding, particularly at the middle school and high school levels.

At News 12 Westchester, the local issues took a slightly different turn. Education topics for their “Testing the Limits” live Town Meeting (7-9pm) included: Too Tired to Test (overscheduled students), the Pressure to Win (academics and sports), and the End of the Innocence (children’s fears in the aftermath of 9/11). The in-studio panel was comprised of Ronald Ross, the Superintendent of the Mount Vernon Public Schools, Joseph Farmer, the Superintendent of the Yonkers Public Schools, Leslie Berkovitz, a Scarsdale Parents Activist, Dr. Anthony Madallo, a Sports Medicine Physician, Angela Gustino, president of Hudson Valley Junior Achievement, and 8th Grader Michael Harsh. The News 12 Westchester Town Meeting included a live remote at Gorton High School in Yonkers, New York, where many more local students, parents and teachers joined in the discussion.

News 12 the Bronx also had a different collection of education issues that affect the city borough. To fully cover the topics, News 12 the Bronx aired weekly segments under the “Target 12” investigative brand for 6 weeks leading up to the Town Meeting event. These same topics were then discussed during the Town Meeting event (7-8pm). Topics covered included: sex in the schools, low performing schools, and teacher qualifications. Additionally, topics ranging from school curriculums, to overcrowding and the ESL programs were also discussed as they are among the biggest issues facing parents and teachers in the borough. The in-studio panel of guests included: Vincent Gagglione, the Bronx representative of the United Federation of Teachers, Raquel Baez, the Director of Los Cumbancheros, a bilingual chorus, Tom Jennings, the Dean of Teacher’s College at Columbia University, John Hughes, the Principal of P.S. 48, Betta Rose, the Superintendent of School Districut 8, and student Michaela Davis from Monroe High School, who is on the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Committee.

News 12 Connecticut’s coverage of “Testing The Limits” began with a three-part series of reports examining statewide mandatory testing, the pressures of the SAT exam, and the demands on students to immerse themselves in extra curricular activities, sports and community service. The Town Meeting raised the question of whether Southwestern Connecticut children are being pushed too hard or not hard enough. The hour-long program was hosted by News 12 Connecticut anchors, Tom Appleby and Rebecca Surran. The in-studio panel of experts included: Tom Murphy from the State Department of Education, Psychologist Bert Diamond, the Principal of Milford’s Mathewson Elementary School in, Sheila Sherwood, and the Director of Educational Leadership and Management at Sacred Heart University, Stephen Rubin, Ph.D.

News 12 Networks is the country’s first, largest, and most watched 24-hour local television news network. The Network is made up of 5 individual local news channels serving the areas of Long Island, New Jersey, Southwestern Connecticut, Westchester County, and the Bronx. News 12 Networks is a cable exclusive service, reaching approximately 3.3 million households in the New York market. News 12 Networks is owned and operated by Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc.

News 12 Networks is owned and managed by Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc., a leader in news, sports and entertainment programming. A subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) and NBC, Rainbow manages American Movie Classics, WE: Women’s Entertainment, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel, MuchMusic USA, Rainbow Sports Networks, News 12 Networks, and MetroChannels as well as the Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications. In addition, Rainbow is a fifty-percent partner in Fox Sports Net.

Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the nation’s leading entertainment and telecommunications companies. Its cable television operations serve more than 3.4 million households located primarily in the New York metropolitan area. The company’s advanced telecommunications offerings include its Lightpath integrated business communications services and its Optimum-branded high-speed Internet service. Cablevision’s Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. subsidiary owns and operates programming businesses including American Movie Classics, Bravo and many other national and regional services. Cablevision also owns a controlling interest and operates Madison Square Garden and its sports teams including the Knicks, Rangers and WNBA Liberty. The company operates New York’s Radio City Music Hall as well as Clearview Cinemas in the Tri-State area. Cablevision also owns and operates The Wiz consumer electronics chain at 41 locations in the New York Metropolitan area. Additional information about Cablevision Systems Corporation is available on the Web at

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