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On our minds: Teachers, parks and Thanksgiving

Newsday's editorial board spends all week striving to be a reasoned and pragmatic voice for Long Island and its values through our editorials and columns. We debate local, national and international issues and write on those we think will impact our readers.

Some topics come up that don't turn into longer pieces, but are part of the national conversation and worth bringing up. Here's how we're telling you about them.

Tougher teacher standards are a good thing

68 percent -- That's the passing rate for
Photo Credit: iStock

68 percent -- That's the passing rate for college graduates in New York seeking state certification to teach.

Before tougher standards were introduced for the Class of 2014, 95 percent won certification. Making the process more rigorous is a good idea, especially because so many leave the profession after a year or two. The new requirements -- which took effect for three of four assessments for 2013-14 -- should put pressure on education colleges to better prepare their students for the challenges ahead.

A healthy way to use our parks

Patients who are obese or suffer from other
Photo Credit: Nissequogue River State Park Fou

Patients who are obese or suffer from other chronic diseases often are told by doctors that they need to be more active. Often, patients don't know how to put such general advice into action.

Suffolk's legislature is tackling the problem with an intriguing bill that taps the county's parks. The plan by Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) calls for Suffolk to create a database of parks, maps and exercises. Doctors could use that to prescribe specific activity plans. They might call for walking or jogging over particular terrain at one park, an exercise circuit at another, or biking, rowing or cross-country skiing somewhere else.

Hahn says some doctors, for whom participation is voluntary, are on board. That's good. More should sign on. Using our beautiful parks to get people to exercise is a healthy and healthful marriage.

Don't let Thanksgiving burn you

Some 46 million turkeys will be eaten Thursday
Photo Credit: AP

Some 46 million turkeys will be eaten Thursday as our nation celebrates Thanksgiving. For reasons that elude some of us, even as others smack their lips in anticipation, a growing number of Americans will eschew oven and grill, and drop their bird into a deep fryer filled with five or so gallons of smokin' hot oil.

We won't pass judgment on culinary preferences -- except to note the proselytizing passion of deep-fry proponents -- but we will ask everyone to be safe. New York, as it turns out, ranks third among states in fires and injuries from turkey fryers. And Thanksgiving is the worst day of the year for home-cooking fires.

So make sure the fryer is stable, don't put it on the deck or in the garage, and thaw the turkey before the plunge. That's a culinary feat we can all enjoy.