Mar 10th - 6:50 pm
A draft report from a panel obtained by Capital Tonight making recommendations for fixes to Common Core implementation focuses heavily on teacher training, parental involvement and limits on testing, especially for young students.
Update: The full report was released Monday evening; It’s below.
“The flawed implementation of the Common Core curriculum has resulted in frustration, anxiety, and confusion for children and parents,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “It is in everyone’s best interest to have high, real world standards for learning and to support the Common Core curriculum, but we need to make sure that our students are not unfairly harmed by its implementation. The recommendations released by the Common Core Implementation Panel today seek to achieve this goal. These recommendations would ensure that State Common Core test results in grades 3-8 will not appear on students’ permanent records, reduce over-testing, and halt the State Education Department’s data initiative with inBloom. The panel does not make any recommendation to halt or slow teacher evaluations. I will review these recommendations with the Senate and the Assembly.”
The report would also recommend the state end its relationship with the controversial data collection company inBloom — a move that is a component of a broader push to address privacy concerns.
Ken Lovett of The Daily News had an outline of the recommendations earlier.
The recommendations aimed at students include:
- A ban on standardized “bubble tests” for children in pre-K through second grade
- Assurances the results of state assessments in English and math for students in grades 3 through 8 will not be used against students and not appear on permanent records
- The amount of time that can be used for standardized testing and test preparation would be capped.
School districts would also have an easier time to eliminate any “unnecessary” testing.
There are additional recommendations that are aimed at teacher training as well.
The report supports local professional development opportunities for teachers as well as a plan that would “showcase” examples of successful implementation in a local area. Schools successfully implementing Common Core would be highlighted for other local teachers and principals.
At the same time, there are recommendations in the report to ensure rapid deployment of resources to teachers. That includes the state significantly increasing the number of assessment questions released following Common Core tests for increased transparency.
In addition to ending the inBloom relationship, the report backs a “Parents Bill of Rights for Data Privacy” that would outline what data is being collected by the state and school district officials.
Mar 10th - 5:57 pm
It looks like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is ready to concede the pre-K fight to Gov. Andrew Cuomo – IF there’s a long-term commitment from the state of $500 million a year for five years.
De Blasio’s comments came during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” during which he was hammered on charter schools by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
“If you guys are saying we could have done better public relations, God bless ya, you are right.”
NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray cancelled her pre-K lobbying trip to Albany tomorrow due to a “scheduling conflict.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Common Core panel wants to restrict how much time can be used teaching to the tests, limit standardized testing to those above second grade, and end the inBloom contract.
Assemblywoman Jane Corwin ruled out a run as GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s LG.
Manhattan federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority related to the business interests of its chairman, David Samson.
Asked if Samson should resign, Cuomo said: “The chairman of the Port Authority is an appointee of the governor of New Jersey and I will leave it to the governor of New Jersey to make that decision.”
Former St. Lawrence County Democratic Chairman Stephen Burke announced a primary challenge to NY-21 candidate Aaron Woolf.
The NRCC slammed Woolf after he admitted he had never before been to Watertown before a visit there last week.
Rep. Charlie Rangel’s campaign kick-off is tonight. Former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, who failed twice to unseat the congressman, remains a supporter.
More than 900,000 New Yorkers have completed applications on the state’s official health plan marketplace, NY State of Health, and 590,639 have fully enrolled since Oct. 31.
As former Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. prepares to enter the state prison system, the 39 bills he was carrying this session are now effectively dead.
Republican NY-24 candidate John Katko told former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle she “planted the seed” for him to run against Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei.
Donald Rapier, the Chicago student whose commentary on killer whales was cribbed by Sen. Greg Ball’s office for use in a bill memo, is coming to Albany for May 28′s Animal Awareness Day.
There’s a MoveOn petition calling for former NYC Councilman Oliver Koppell to primary IDC Leader Jeff Klein and “give progressive New Yorkers back the state Senate.”
Amy Dacey, the chief executive of the DNC, will speak March 29 at the Democratic Women of Cayuga County’s annual Spring Brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn.
Emin “Eddie” Egriu, who calls himself a “liberal anti-war populist,” announced a primary challenge to Rep. Brian Higgins.
Katie Couric is kicking off her Yahoo broadcast career on Friday with an interview with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Rap legends Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Melle Mel, and others will be honored with a NYC Council proclamation.
Mar 10th - 5:25 pm
Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan on Monday signaled growing frustration among Senate Republicans over the re-appointment of four members of the Board of Regents.
The vote to re-appoint four members up for re-election, to be held Tuesday, is expected to be close in the Assembly, potentially throwing the decision to the Senate.
At issue is New York not applying for a waiver from the federal government for Common Core standards.
The issue was compounded when California applied for, and received a waiver for Common Core testing.
“In the last three days it’s just added to the angst and frustration and I don’t see that changing,” he said. “That has made our colleagues even more aggravated.”
He added the California waiver should be a “clarion wake up call” for the Regents.
“In my estimation the state of New York should aggressively pursue a waiver right now,” he said.
Still, some lawmakers have quietly suggested the replacements for the Regents aren’t especially qualified to replace those seeking re-appointment.
One candidate, for example, is a spiritual life coach who runs a for-profit diet consultancy.
Members of the Assembly in particular emerged from the marathon interview sessions with prospective Regents members to say they were underwhelmed by the alternative choices.
Still, the vote to re-appoint is still expected to be close.
Asked if he would vote to re-appoint the four up for re-election, Flanagan indicated a “yes” vote will be hard for him to do.
“I think I would have great difficulty doing that right now,” he said.
The vote comes after the Democratic-led Assembly approved a bill that would delay certain provisions of Common Core standards.
The bill is yet to be taken up in the Senate, led by Republicans and a breakaway conference of Democrats.
The state Department of Education has come under fire for its handling of the implementation of Common Core, a set of federal education standards the state adopted.
The Board of Regents approved a set of changes in February to Common Core, but that did little to sway lawmakers.
“There have been positive steps in the regents action plan, but while these people have extensive backgrounds and a wealth of experience, I think there’s a very strong feeling that not enough has been done,” Flanagan said.
Republicans in the Senate are expected to end a long-standing boycott of not attending new Regents votes — a sign of just how much Common Core implementation has spurred state lawmakers over the last several months.
On Monday afternoon, Sen. James Seward, a central New York Republican, announced in a statement he would vote against re-appointment.
“The shoddy implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards along with the Board of Regents’ increased reliance on high-stakes tests have clearly damaged our educational system in New York State. Parents, teachers, and school administrators alike have voiced their well-warranted concerns with the tense situation these new polices have created in our classrooms,” Seward said. “With those concerns in mind, I will be voting to deny reappointment to the four Board of Regents members up for re-election. I simply cannot reward these individuals for their failures. I hope that the remaining board members, and any new candidates, pay attention to this vote and take immediate steps to reverse course on Common Core and focus on a more productive approach to enriching student achievement.”
Mar 10th - 4:33 pm
Buffalo Democratic Sen. Tim Kennedy in a statement blasted the pair of radio ads released Monday morning by an anti-abortion group that urged him to reverse his position on two bills.
In a statement, Kennedy called the ads “misleading” and paid for by a “downstate special-interest group.”
“These false ads are not based in fact and are full of exaggerated claims that blatantly distort the truth. This legislation simply codifies into state law what already exists in federal statute and maintains the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. To state otherwise is extremely misleading and is nothing more than political fear mongering,” Kennedy said. “I maintain my personal views on this issue, but my decisions in the State Senate impact over 300,000 individuals who live in my district and over 19 million people who live across the State of New York. Their input and opinions must be weighed against my personal beliefs, especially on issues of this magnitude that impact access to health care.”
The ads were released by The Chiaroscuro Group, an anti-abortion organization, and come as Kennedy faces a potential primary backed by the IDC from Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant.
Kennedy added in the statement he remains fully behind the Women’s Equality Act, which includes a measured aimed at protecting abortion rights through the codification of Roe v. Wade.
“This important legislation will protect women from wage discrimination, prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, and ensure all New Yorkers are paid equal wages for equal work,” Kennedy said. “This legislation also enacts stronger protections for victims of domestic violence, strengthens human-trafficking laws and implements robust and long-needed laws to end the intolerable discrimination that far too many New York women have endured for far too long.”
Meanwhile the group Family Planning Advocates also came to Kennedy’s defense.
New Yorkers won’t stand for smear campaigns and scapegoating tactics imported from other states. Our legislators know the issues, they understand the needs of women facing unexpected and heartbreaking medical decisions, and they trust their ability to know what is necessary for themselves and their families. Senator Kennedy is no exception to our state’s history of reasoned legislation and the necessary protections integral to women and their families.”
Mar 10th - 2:46 pm
Rep. Charlie Rangel tonight is formally kicking off the campaign for his 23rd – and, if you believe his campaign aides – last two-year tenure in the House. And despite some high-profile Democrats announcing their support of one of his primary opponents, Sen. Adriano Espaillat, the veteran congressman continues to have a fair number of recognizable names in his corner.
The host committee for tonight’s event includes former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins and former Senator/Secretary of State Basil Paterson (who, along with Dinkins and Rangel make up three of the storied Harlem “Gang of Four”).
Also listed: Former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, who twice tried unsuccessfully to oust Rangel and whose father was pushed from his House seat by the congressman well over 40 years ago. Powell endorsed Rangel in 2012, despite the fact that he had been extremely critical of the congressman during their primary battles. The former assemblyman has kept a relatively low profile since his second primary loss to Rangel in 2010, though he recently made a cameo appearance in a controversial video recorded by Assemblyman Jose Rivera in Puerto Rico.
Rangel reported $211,461 on hand after the final fundraising quarter in 2013. (Basil Paterson is the treasurer of the congressman’s campaign committee).
Mar 10th - 2:32 pm
Getting around to this one a bit late:
Over the weekend, the group led by Westchester County Democrats serving as a rapid response unit knocked Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino for his claim he cut property taxes lower than any other county in the state.
As Bill Carey of Time Warner Cable News in Syracuse noted, that isn’t exactly the case:
“In fact, while Astorino did reduce the tax levy in Westchester by $12 million, Onondaga County cut its tax levy by more than $38 million. So did he make this claim is in error?
Astorino, in Syracuse on Friday, said, “We’re going in the right direction. That’s the point.”
The Astorino Truth Squad — a group led by local Democrats from Astorino’s neck of woods — criticized him for the claim.
“It didn’t take long for Rob Astorino to get caught doing upstate what he has been doing in Westchester for years: shamelessly misleading voters with falsehoods. If Rob Astorino is willing to put out misleading information about his record on day 1 of his campaign, what else can we expect him to mislead New Yorkers about moving forward?” said Catherine Borgia, Westchester County Legislator. “Those of us in Westchester knew what Rob would do from past experience. That’s why we formed the Truth Squad.”
The “truth squad” is one of several groups acting as a surrogate for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in knocking Astorino’s candidacy, which he formally declared last week in an online video.
Mar 10th - 2:07 pm
Sen. Tom Libous in an interview took a conciliatory tone on medical marijuana, saying it’s an issue that he’s “doing my homework on.”
Libous, the number two Republican in the state Senate and a cancer patient who undergoes regular cancer treatments, said he’s studying the issue and speaking with his team of doctors about it.
“I’m doing my homework,” he said. “I actually just had a chemo treatment on Wednesday and had a long talk with my oncologist.”
He added that doctors were clear they’re opposed to marijuana or THC ingested by smoking it, but were more open to the idea of taking in pill form or through a vaporizer.
“I’m learning, I want to understand more on it,” he said.
Asked Libous if he would ever consider using medical marijuana, Libous said, “I hope I don’t have to.”
The comments come as six Senate Republicans have joined a measure that would create a medical marijuana program in the state, most recently Sen. Tom O’Mara, who represents a neighboring Senate district of Libous.
Assembly Democrats plan to include the medical marijuana measure — known as the Compassionate Care Care — in its one-house budget proposal this week.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports a limited medical marijuana program that would be administered under strict guidelines by the Department of Health.
Cuomo in December said he would lay down the guidelines for the proposal in an executive order.
Mar 10th - 1:59 pm
A reader forwarded me an invite to to a “virtual” golf outing being held last this month by Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith, who is raising campaign cash for a re-election bid despite the fact that he is fighting federal fraud and bribery charges (to which he has pleaded innocent, for the record).
There is no location for this event, which will be held on March 24. It is clearly a fund-raiser, with participation ranging from $100 for a “tee sign/friend” to $500 for a “foursome/sponsor.” Apparently, supporters are expected to simply write checks – or send “good wishes” – to the senator without receiving anything – like, say, a round of golf, or even some cubed cheese and a drink in a plastic cup – in return.
I’ve never heard of this before, but perhaps it’s a new frontier in political fundraising? The reader who received the invite wondered if perhaps Smith might be accepting bitcoin.
Smith, as you’ll recall, was once the Senate majority leader, but is now – along with Sen. John Sampson, who is also facing charges (in his case, embezzlement) – is a man without a conference, having been ousted by his newfound friends in the IDC after he was accused last April of trying to bribe his way onto the Republican ballot line in the NYC mayor’s race.
In January, Smith asked a federal judge to delay his trial until after this year’s primary elections, which are scheduled to take place in September, despite the Assembly Democrats’ effort to have them moved to coincide with the court-ordered congressional primaries in June. The judge recently denied Smith’s request and set his trial date for June 2.
Smith already has at least two primary challengers.
Mar 10th - 1:36 pm
The state Senate’s one-house budget proposal will present an alternative to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to freeze property taxes, Republican Sen. Tom Libous said in an interview.
“I expect there to be a property tax proposal to be in the one-house budget,” Libous said. “I think you’ll find it a little different than what the governor has. Right now, we’re still drafting up the language for the one-house budget bills. We have the resolution that will be going in, but bill language is always the details.”
Libous, R-Binghamton, declined to offer specifics on what the Senate plan will entail.
But he did say the proposal is coming in part because Cuomo’s tax free plan “has been a little bit of a problem for local governments.”
“I think they’re just concerned as to the way the governor proposed it that it’s going to really pin them down and cause a lack of services and at the end of the day we have to make sure services flow,” Libous said.
Cuomo’s $142 billion budget plan includes a proposal that would grant property taxpayers what amounts to a two-year “freeze” on local property tax increase.
Under the plan, local governments would have to budget within the 2 percent tax cap in the first year and then find ways to share services in the second. Taxpayers would receive a check that gives them the difference in any increase during that period.
The plan, which is voluntary for local governments to participate in, essentially gives property taxpayers the carrot of the freeze and a stick to encourage local officials to manage their budgets.
Cuomo has been pushing hard for the plan, airing downstate and upstate TV ads in support of the proposal.
In a radio interview last week, Cuomo indicated the opposition to the tax freeze was coming from local government officials who don’t want to make the hard choices on their own local spending plans.
Senate Democrats in a letter to majority coalition leaders Sens. Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein urged them to reject the tax freeze.
Libous said he expected language on the one-house budget bill by either Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
At the same time, Libous does not expect more funding than proposed by Cuomo for universal pre-Kindergarten in the Senate version of the budget, nor does he expect public financing of political campaigns to be included.
“Right now, I can’t support that sort of proposal,” he said of public financing. “I’m not excited about a public financing proposal.”
Mar 10th - 12:35 pm
The defection of minority lawmakers from Rep. Charlie Rangel to his primary challenger, Sen. Adriano Espaillat, continued this morning with Assemblyman Karim Camara’s endorsement of the senator’s second attempt to dethrone the veteran Harlem congressman.
At an event on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan, Camara, who chairs the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, credited Espaillat – a former caucus chair – with helping maintain peace among caucus members when “personality conflicts” threatened to fracture the organization along ethnic lines.
(There has been a long-standing tension between the black and Latino members of the Legislature, with some Latino lawmakers refusing to join the caucus out of concern that it is too controlled by African American members and interests).
“At a time when the progressive agenda was under siege in Albany, and petty differences threatened to divide Black and Latino lawmakers along ethnic lines, Adriano Espaillat displayed exactly the kind of leadership we needed,” Camara said in a statement released by Espaillat’s campaign.
“In this difficult moment, Adriano kept us unified and focused on our shared needs. Now, Adriano is seeking to ensure the seat originally created to give the African and Caribbean diaspora representation in Washington remains at the forefront of fighting poverty, speaking truth to power, and serving as a national model of cooperation between communities of color nationwide. I am proud to endorse his campaign to serve as this historic district’s next member of Congress.”
Camara, who represents a district in Brooklyn, did not pick a side in the 2012 primary in which Espaillat was one of four candidates challenging Rangel. The race was close, but Rangel ended up surviving and is now seeking what his aides say will be his last two-year term in Congress.
According to Capital NY’s Azi Paybarah, who was on hand for the endorsement announcement, Camara insisted that his decision is about “moving forward” and should not be interpreted as a negative toward Rangel, whom he professed to respect.
But other lawmakers of color who have endorsed Espaillat – like NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – have switched sides since 2012. The speaker said the decision was a difficult one, but Espaillat has a “strong trajectory” of working on issues that matter to her and her constituents. Rangel expressed surprise over Mark-Viverito’s about-face, saying that he had expected her to remain neutral in the race, given her new leadership post.
The Rev. Michael Walrond, a Harlem pastor and associate of the Rev. Al Sharpton, is also running in the primary. He is scheduled to appear at an event this afternoon with allies of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in support of the administration’s rejection of three charter school co-location decisions that are being fought in court by former NYC Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy network.
De Blasio has spoken positively about Walrond, but has also said it’s too early to pick sides in the NY-13 primary.