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Inside the new education standards
New York Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia held a conference call with the state’s editorial boards Tuesday to discuss new English and math learning standards that will be presented to the Board of Regents at its May 9 meeting. The revamp is in response to the parent and teacher uprising that followed the poor rollout in 2012-13 of Common Core standards, curricula and standardized tests.
The new standards will go live at nysed.gov/aimhighny Tuesday afternoon, and it’s no accident that this release comes on the first day of annual math testing for third- through eighth-graders. Last year’s tests saw 20 percent of students across the state opt out and 50 percent on Long Island.
But the standards were never the biggest source of controversy, and they aren’t now. The real death match will be over the state’s draft plan to comply with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind federal education law.
NCLB gave tremendous power to the federal government to decide how states, districts and schools were graded, and what they had to achieve. ESSA relaxed those requirements. Now, states can make their own rules, but the federal government still demands schools be held accountable for improving educational outcomes.
This will be Elia’s real education battle as teachers unions, parents, and advocates for disabled children and English language learners fight over how schools and educators are graded, how they are punished or rewarded for their results, how transparent the system is, and how the state will divvy up resources to schools based on need.
The new standards, which determine at which age a child should understand past participles or dividing fractions, are hardly controversial. But practically everyone, particularly on Long Island, will have strong opinions about the allocation of education funds, the rigor of standards for children with disabilities or little English proficiency, which schools are labeled as failing, and the importance of test results for judging schools and districts. The battle over how the state complies with ESSA will determine those answers.
Unions muscling in on mayoral race
A group of uniformed public-sector unions is getting the band back together for New York City mayoral endorsements, says Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.
Unlike four years ago, when the mayoral field was wide open, some unions have jumped out ahead and gone with incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio, such as the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association.
The large and powerful Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which has feuded with de Blasio but came to terms on a contract agreement last year, also will not be a part of the coalition; it has not begun its own endorsement process.
Palladino, who helped herd together about 20 of the smaller police, corrections and other uniformed labor organizations to increase clout in 2013, says he is reaching out to other unions but plans a meeting of the coalition this month to organize endorsement interviews of the mayoral candidates. The Captains Endowment Association, representing members of the NYPD, confirmed to The Point that it will take part.
Perhaps the coalition will pick a winner this time. In 2013, the group endorsed former Comptroller Bill Thompson’s failed primary bid, and did not make a unified endorsement in the general election.
Hope and change
In a Montana state of mind
New Yorkers mostly like New York and probably have no big beef with the state being rated as only the fifth most fun state in America, according to a new study by the personal finance website WalletHub.
Nevada is No. 1 (think Las Vegas) and Mississippi is No. 50 (think Mississippi).
But the big question is how the study’s 22 metrics determined that New York’s nightlife was No. 41 (again, Nevada was tops) and that Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota were second, third and fifth.
Granted, five bars in Bozeman go a lot further than 500 in New York City on a per capita basis. And while the city’s nightlife includes the possibility of running into dozens of stars in clubs and restaurants, the other three states offer unparalleled views of billions of stars in the dark night skies.
Perhaps it was the average price of beer and wine, or the cost of going to a movie, two of the metrics?
Whatever the case, disgruntled New Yorkers can console themselves with this: New Jersey was the 42nd most fun state, and its nightlife ranked 48th, confirming what New Yorkers have always known: Everything is worse in Jersey.