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Endorsement season begins in earnest

Will Ferrano, Democratic challenger for Brookhaven town supervisor,

Will Ferrano, Democratic challenger for Brookhaven town supervisor, poses with incumbent Edward P. Romaine at Newsday on Sept. 19, 2019. Credit: Newsday/Michael Cusanelli

Daily Point

Flipping the script on education

The Board of Regents has announced plans to re-examine the state’s graduation requirements, including a potential retreat from New York’s Regents exams. And at the outset, Long Island will be at the center of the conversation as it is with seemingly every education conversation in New York. 

Nassau BOCES, along with Suffolk BOCES and the Long Island University Post campus, is presenting three sessions of a series called “Redefining Readiness for Secondary Education in New York.” And the first session, planned for Oct. 29 at the LIU Post campus’ Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, includes some big names.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is slated to speak, along with Bard College President Leon Botstein, former Vermont Commissioner of Education Raymond J. McNulty and Long Island Association President Kevin Law. 

The re-examination of the state’s graduation requirements is a passion of Long Island Regent Roger Tilles, a supporter of multiple pathways to diplomas who also has been involved in planning this series. 

And centering the conversation on Long Island is the right move if education officials want to devise a plan that satisfies parents and school districts. After all, it’s the region whose opposition to the last big education reform in New York, judging teachers partially by the standardized test scores of students, and the resulting opt-out movement blew the state’s teacher-appraisal system to smithereens.

- Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Dipping a toe in the deep end

It was a whirlwind week for Jeff Parrett, a retired Hauppauge social studies teacher who was considering a run in New York’s 1st Congressional District. 

Last week, the would-be candidate started posting on a Jeff Parrett for Congress Facebook page and “testing the waters” for a run. But by Monday, he had posted that the time wasn’t right. 

The 58-year-old Hauppauge resident told The Point he had been thinking about running because he is “clearly not happy with the way things are right now.” An independent most of his life and a one-time registered Republican, he said his belief system is more aligned with Democrats and he switched to that party in recent weeks. 

He says he’s the kind of person who sees “both sides” to stories, “looking for unification and compromise.”

He was particularly concerned about state and local tax changes and their negative impacts on Long Island, plus climate change and the environment. 

For decades he had stressed to his students the importance of voting, so he felt that he should put his money where his mouth was, as it were (though he adds he didn’t have “a dime to put into this right now"). 

So he began talking to some people with experience in county-level politics and posting on social media, about guns and vaping and the presidential debates. He quickly gained around 500 people “liking” the Facebook page. 

But he says he declined to take the full leap after learning more about the likely demands on his family — he has four kids, including an 11-year-old. 

So no Parrett 2020, at least for now, though perhaps the educator will have an impact on the race yet. He says Perry Gershon, one of the Democrats seeking to challenge Rep. Lee Zeldin in CD1, reached out to him on Facebook after his withdrawal. The two spoke on Thursday.

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Biden blooper

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Final Point

Endorsement season begins at Newsday

Newsday’s editorial board kicked off its 2019 endorsement season Thursday afternoon, welcoming the Brookhaven Town supervisor candidates — Republican incumbent Edward Romaine and his Democratic challenger, William Ferraro. The pair also were the first guests the board has hosted in a bright, airy conference room at Newsday’s new headquarters in Melville.

We covered a lot of town issues in a spirited discussion with the candidates, including the future of the landfill, the town’s recycling program, the need for affordable housing and the condition of town roads.

One race down, 45 to go.

-Michael Dobie @mwdobie