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Letter: Flanagan must set education priorities

Newly elected State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan

Newly elected State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan speaks during a December 2013 news conference. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

If newly installed State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) is really serious about his educational reform agenda, then there are many avenues that must take priority ["The unexpected Senate leader," News, May 17].

First would be the reduction of the 124 Long Island school districts into, for the sake of argument, one for each town. If superintendents are paid about $250,000, and each district has two assistant superintendents at about $160,000 each, the savings would run to the millions. Add to this coordinators, administrators and other staff, and more savings could be realized.

Next, Flanagan should support the Common Core and its associated testing. Education and assessment are neither parent-centric nor teacher-centric. Subject matter requires uniformity for the majority of students. Associated examinations can be used to determine both subject mastery and teaching effectiveness over a large base. Of course, the results must be part of a student's grade, not simply measurement tools.

Our country is pathetically low on the world totem pole of education. The failure of the educational establishment is obvious. Common Core, a nationwide initiative, is the first remedy to make any sense.

It requires improvement, and yes, it should have been introduced in stages, but it's essential to upgrading our less-than-stellar system.

Richard M. Frauenglass, Huntington