School days, school daze
When the state’s Board of Regents meets Monday and Tuesday via teleconference, members will discuss a dramatic and mostly new host of education concerns via a new method. The coronavirus pandemic and resulting closure of the state’s K-12 schools at least through the end of April has educators, parents and students baffled about a host of issues, from whether school will resume this year to whether proms, graduations, final exams and the all-important Regents exams will be held.
It’s mostly up to the Regents to answer these questions, and many other ones, too.
And one question that probably can’t be answered next week is weighing heavily on many board members’ minds: How will districts and students challenged by a lack of resources make up for a learning gap that’s sizable in the best of times and appears to have grown since the children were all sent home.
—Lane Filler @lanefiller
King at home
Rep. Pete King is known for his sometimes-whimsical Facebook posts and emailed updates, from thoughts about former Met Ed Kranepool’s kidney transplant to a review of the latest episode of “Blue Bloods.”
The personal updates seem to have crescendoed in the age of coronavirus, and as the Seaford Republican comes ever closer to retirement.
Over the last week, King has mused about the relationship between Queens boys Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and President Donald Trump; the steadiness of his wife, Rosemary, at this time (including “reminding me to take Zinc”); and the weather upon driving down to D.C. to vote for the coronavirus stimulus: “There was a light rain as I was leaving my house.”
On Thursday, King said he had recently received a telephone call from Cardinal Timothy Dolan during which they “discussed the horrific impact of the pandemic.” Dolan “expressed concern for my daughter Erin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer just over one year ago,” King said.
We also learned this week that King has been TV-binging just like the rest of us.
“In the evening we watch our usual television shows Blue Bloods (reruns), Chicago P.D. and Fire (first runs and reruns) and House Hunters (just Rosemary),” he wrote.
But he spent more time introducing us to a newer find, the six-part Netflix series “The English Game,” about a class divide among 19th-century footballers (read: soccer players).
“I’m not much of a soccer fan and have certainly had my differences with the English,” writes King, graduate of the University of Notre Dame, home of the Fighting Irish. “This series is about much more than soccer.”
He goes on to say that the show, created by “Downton Abbey” maestro Julian Fellowes, “is really a variation of Downton Abbey depicting how so much of English life was constricted by a rigid class system — even sports.”
The review ends up with the bottom line that it’s “Definitely a positive way to at least briefly divert your attention from Coronavirus.”
On Tuesday, King added another piece of British history to the pile, saying he was “just reading a new book by Erik Larson, ‘The Splendid and the Vile,’ describing the heroism of the British people during the London Blitz.”
Despite the attention to content from the mother country, King ended both missives as usual with more local patriotism: “God Bless America!!”
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
A Sight for sore eyes
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Bringing the census to life
Patchogue community organizer Jen Brady Cotter was trying to think of a way to spread word about the census, the all-important decennial count of all people living in the United States.
Rather than a dry pamphlet quickly discarded, she and a collection of local groups called the Patchogue Complete Count Coalition landed on a comic book: a colorful eight-page document with both Spanish and English versions released this week and making the rounds on social media.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano