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EDITORIAL: A much-needed message from state's education commissioner

David Steiner, New York's new education commissioner, gave a stirring address last week about where he hopes to lead public education in this state. He's setting his sights very high, and both his message and his method are laudable. The State Education Department has needed an effective communicator at the top.

"Teaching well is a deeply complex professional activity," Steiner told the Board of Regents at a meeting that was Webcast to the public. This attitude gives the job the respect it deserves, while calling on teachers to challenge themselves. The commissioner also said that testing should be an assessment, not a curriculum. And he outlined a detailed set of options for turning around failing schools. Steiner's agenda is welcome and overdue. He's right to lay out clear objectives. Educators who are in the job for the right reasons should take heart. hN