E-Mail Newsletter – March 6, 2014

The Assembly voted to pass a series of reforms aimed on addressing concerns that I, along with many students, parents, and teachers, have with Common Core and APPR.

I appreciate and support the continued efforts of Speaker Silver and Assemblywoman Nolan to help find remedies to what I consider a terribly botched implementation of Common Core standards and the APPR teacher evaluations.

Although I do not believe this bill will remedy all of the problems raised — including not fully alleviating the over-testing and over-labeling of our children — the bill is an important step in addressing an urgent situation. This bill begins to put the brakes on the use of high-stakes testing, which has so negatively impacted students and teachers. While this is a start, further steps must be taken especially for our students with disabilities and English language learners.

Further, I recognize that a number of problems with Common Core and APPR stem from federally imposed mandates and will continue to work with colleagues in the state legislature to advocate for the necessary waivers and change at the federal level to address some of the very serious problems raised by parents, teachers, administrators, and students.*

*My full comments on the floor for this vote will be posted soon on my Assembly website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=109

Legislation to create a specialized Career and Technical Diploma (CTE)

There are numerous pathways to success for students and it is important that high school curriculums reflect that. I recently joined over 65 of my colleagues in the Assembly in sponsoring legislation (A.819a/S.0817) which would revise the current diploma standard in New York State to include a new, specialized Career and Technical Diploma (CTE) which will train students for employment in manufacturing and high tech fields. This will provide flexibility and offer choices for students in preparing for future career success.

Events in and around the 109th:

+ Albany High School’s theatre ensemble will be performing “Smokey Joe’s Café,” a cabaret-style musical revue this weekend. The show opens on Thursday at 7 p.m., with additional performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets will be sold at the door only. For more information, click here.

+ The Delmar Community Orchestra will perform on Monday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Delmar Reformed Church (386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar). The concert, which will include classical selections by Chopin and Mozart, is free and open to the public.

+ The Community Caregivers will be hosting a free informational session at the Guilderland Public Library (2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland) for anyone dealing with or interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s on March 12. Call (518) 456-2898 or e-mail info@communitycaregivers.org for more information.

+ The Guilderland Chamber will be hosting an after hours mixer at Mezza Notte (2026 Western Avenue, Guilderland) on March 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visit guilderlandchamber.com for more information.

+ The Affordable Housing Partnership will be conducting a series of workshops on homebuying, financial education, credit usage, and property management over the course of the next few weeks. You can register for these workshops by visiting the AHP website.

I’ve set up a page on my Assembly website for job announcements and listings that we’ll update periodically. If you know of any job listings, send my office a note.

Capital District Assembly Update: Tune in every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Channel 17 (for Time Warner Cable subscribers) for the next episode of Capital District Assembly Update, co-hosted by Assemblymember McDonald and me. You can also previous episodes and clips on my Assembly website.

As always, for the latest about my office’s happenings or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.

Sincerely ---