Letter: Bring focus back to school children

If the changes that won unanimous Board of If the changes that won unanimous Board of Regents approval Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, win final approval from the Regents in January as scheduled, they would first take effect with teenagers who entered ninth grade in 2011 and are due to graduate in June 2015. Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in New York this month to support pioneering efforts on the Common Core state standards ["U.S. ed secretary boosts NY's King," News, April 11].

He told the audience at NYU, "Stay the course, work with tremendous urgency and humility, and continue to lead with courage." New York would be wise to heed the advice of our nation's education leader. It is time to turn a page and get the focus back to where it belongs: on students.

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Thanks to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Education Commissioner John B. King Jr., our state is leading the way in establishing higher standards that will help prepare all children for the challenges of a competitive global economy. These higher standards, based on the Common Core, were written by educators and built on timeless principles of education: critical thinking, textual analysis and digging deeper into complex issues so that students have as rich a learning experience as possible.

New York's higher standards are moving forward, but there's still more to do. Cuomo and the State Legislature came together to improve New York's move to these new, more rigorous learning standards. Now it's up to us as New Yorkers to come together and make this work for our kids.

Glen Weiner, Manhattan

Editor's note: The writer is the deputy executive director of StudentsFirstNY, an advocacy group for education reform.

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