Weekly Round-Up: April 25th, 2014

Education

  • Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña supports the Common Core. The Common Core State Standards Initiative  has become very unpopular with some New York elected officials. The opponents of Common Core argue that the standards focus too much on standardized testing and evaluations of teachers based on test scores. Fariña focused on the critical thinking skills that Common Core is supposed to foster and the importance of these skills in the workforce. For an article on this, please click here. (Capital New York)
  • In this opinion article by Gabrielle Howe and Joli Golden, the two discuss the ever growing problem in NYC of the amount of children who qualify as “gifted or talented students” through a city administered test and the amount of seats in special programs available to these students. On average, only 15% of students who qualify as gifted are given a seat at one of the 5 citywide schools with gifted programs, leaving 85% of the qualifying students being turned away from these programs. The most pressing issue is that despite the recent increase of qualifying students, no new programs have been created since 2008. (WNYC)

Juvenile Justice

  • According to a new report that was published this week in The Journal of Adolescent Health, about half of all 16 to 18 year olds entering New York City jails said they have had a traumatic brain injury before they were incarcerated.  Research has shown that inmates with brain trauma are linked to “higher rates of breaking jailhouse rules, substance abuse and greater difficulty re-entering society after detention.”  In 2013, nearly 4,000 adolescents were admitted to Rikers Island and nearly half returned within a year of release.  For more information, please click here. (Huffington Post)

Mayoral Appointments

  • Mayor de Blasio appointed Julie Menin as the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for implementing the sick leave pay law that went into effect on April 1, 2014. The law requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide up to five paid days off for illness or family member’s illness. Employees can begin using the days as of July 30, 2014. For more information, please click here and here. (NYTimes)

Medical Registry

  • The New York City Council Committee on Public Safety produced a report today introducing a new bill to create a medical registry for people with developmental disabilities.  This registry would allow for voluntary participation in a program that would enable GPS tracking for certain persons that could be activated during emergencies.  This comes after the death of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old student with autism who went missing after leaving his school in Queens.  For more information about this bill, please click here. (NY Daily News)