EDITORIAL: Opt in to school compromise

ELECTION AFTERMATH, California wildfires and multiple mass shootings have seized public attention over the last week or so. What might normally interest readers or viewers finds us numb instead. Maybe a survival gene triggers our brains to tell us: Enough, already!

So if you didn’t notice, just before the election the state Board of Regents decided to give itself another year to perform a miracle. They want to convince parents, teachers, and federal and state officials that high stakes standardized testing will make kids smarter, teachers better paid and unrealistic expectations fulfilled. Is that not a miracle?

Regents are appointed by the state legislature and usually try to avoid political fights. Their job is to set education policy for the state. That’s how they framed their decision a week ago Monday when they gave themselves 12 more months to figure out what connection there should be between the performance of classroom teachers and how well students do on standardized math and English exams. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Thank you

THANK YOU to all who organized and participated in last Thursday’s memorial gathering at Chatham Synagogue Netivot Torah. In the midst of a heated political campaign season and with all the other distractions of our lives, you remind us of the need for reflection, contemplation and community in the wake of tragic events.

It would be comforting to believe that as citizens or simply human beings we will learn from an event so horrifying and brutal as the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. But our track record for addressing this type of violence–gun violence–suggests that revulsion does not necessarily turn into action. Read more…

EDITORIAL: 102nd: Aiden O’Connor Jr.

THE NAMES ON THE 102ND Assembly District ballot lines will look familiar to voters this November. Assemblyman Chris Tague, a Republican in his first, abbreviated, term once again faces Democrat Aiden O’Connor Jr. The two competed earlier this year in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Assemblyman Peter Lopez, a contest Mr. Tague won by 159 votes.

The only towns in Columbia County represented by the 102nd District are Stuyvesant and Stockport. But the district also includes all of Greene and Schoharie counties as well as parts of Albany, Delaware, Otsego and Ulster counties.

Both candidates have roots in the district and records of public service. Mr. Tague, 49, running on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform Party lines, and Mr. O’Connor, 30, running on the Democratic, Working Families and Women’s Equality lines, vow to fight state government corruption and each seems to grasp the limits of what a single member of the Assembly can accomplish. Read more…

EDITORIAL: 107th: Tistrya Houghtling

IN THE RACE FOR THE ASSEMBLY seat in the 107th District, New Lebanon Town Clerk Tistrya Houghtling on the ballot for the Democratic, Green, Working Families and Women’s Equality parties, is challenging Assemblyman Jake Ashby, who is running on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform Party lines. Mr. Ashby won his seat in a special election last spring.

The district includes northeastern Columbia County, the Towns of Austerlitz, Canaan, Chatham, Hillsdale, Kinderhook and New Lebanon. Voters in those towns add up to a small percentage of voters the whole 107th, which encompasses almost all of Rensselaer County and a bit of Washington County too. But if one candidate wins by a wide enough margin here, it could be the margin of victory.

If voters in this county and the rest of the district want to have an effective voice in the Assembly–and why wouldn’t we–the choice should be to elect Tistrya Houghtling. Read more…

EDITORIAL: 106th: Didi Barrett

THE ASSEMBLY SEAT in the 106th District gives voters the choice between incumbent Democrat Didi Barrett, 68, and Republican William G. Truitt, 23, a Dutchess County legislator. The district covers the southern half of Columbia County, which includes the Towns of Ancram, Claverack, Clermont, Copake, Gallatin, Germantown, Ghent, Greenport, Livingston and Taghkanic, and the City of Hudson. The district also extends southward to pick up the northern half, roughly, of Dutchess County.

Assemblymember Barrett first held office after winning a special election in early 2012. Then, following statewide redistricting, she won election later that year in a redrawn district that included more of this county. Since then she has worked hard to protect farms and farmland, to bring communities together with state agencies and utilities to solve problems and to address pressing issues like Lyme disease.

She has also worked on healthcare and to find resources to respond to the opioid crisis. She has brought new ideas to job creation and she continues to press for extending access to broadband communications in all parts of this mostly rural district. Read more…