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Page10A Thursday,October22,2015 DemocratandChronicle. com NEEDQUICKCASH? WEBUYGOLD&DIAMONDS 20%moreforyourtrade-inwhen youchoosein-storecredit! ©2015DaVitaHealthCarePartnersInc.10230-05456 RSVPtoday!Call585-218-0517 DaVita.com EASTROCHESTERDIALYSIS 445WestCommercialStreet EastRochester,NY14445 THURSDAY,11/05/2015::3:00P.M.-6:00P.M. Comeseehowwecanimproveyourqualityoflife. Joinusfortheopenhouseofournewfacilityin EastRochester. OPEN HOUSE ALBANY - Want to weigh in on New York’s version of the oft-debated Common Core education standards? Be specific. The state Education D epartment on Wednesday launched an extensive online surveyon the Common Core, the standards that have been adopted by more than 45 states and have been at the center of teacher and parent protests across N ew York. Unlike traditional p ublic-comment periods, however, the state’s survey isn’t a free-for-all that allows any member o f the public to send in their comments or petitions without limitation. Instead, the comprehensive survey is struc- t ured to elicit specific re- a ction through dozens of prompts about aspects of the Common Core, requiring participants to pick and choose through t he exact standards they wish to comment on. “This is not a referendum on the standards,” according to the instructions for the survey. “ Only comments tied to a specific standard will be considered.” The survey, which will b e open until Nov. 30, comes as the state Education Department l aunches a review of the Common Core and its implementation in New York, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed a separate panel that will recommend certain fixes b efore his State of the S tate address in January. The state is in the fifth year of a 12-year phase of t he standards, though much of the parent criticism has been aimed at t he grade 3-8 exams based on the standards, which have been administered for the past three years. In a letter to teachers Tuesday, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Eliasaid an “advisory group” will review the survey results, which will “help inform c hanges made to the standards.” She urged educators to participate. “It’s time for us to step back and assess where we are and where we should be going,” she wrote. “You work with students every day. You k now what’s working and what’s not. Your class- r ooms are the front line in our struggle to help our students aim higher.” Here’s how the survey w orks: Users log on to the awebsite — www.nysed .gov/aimhighny— where they find background information and a link to t he survey. F rom there, commen- ters are asked to provide information about their county of residence and local school district, as w ell as whether they are a teacher, parent or have some other connection to schools. After that, the user is taken to an in-depth out- l ine of the standards w here they can click through different subject matters and grade levels to leave specific comments or criticism. I n her own letter to union members, Catalina Fortino, vice president of the New York State United Teachers union, said teachers need to “take t he lead and seize this opportunity” to develop better standards. The union has been collecting c omments on its own website. “Every teacher knows t he proper sequence is to get the standards right, then develop sound curriculum and produce developmentally appropriate assessments based on the standards and curri- c ulum,” Fortina wrote. “ The state didn’t do that last time — and now the rushed system needs to b e fixed.” JCAMPBELL1@ gannett.com T witter.com/Jon- CampbellGAN Comment on Core standards Specific feedback sought on educational mandates JON CAMPBELL ALBANY BUREAU “This is not a referendum on the s tandards. Only c omments tied to a specific standard will be c onsidered.” F ROM THE SURVEY I NSTRUCTIONS NEW YORK - A car eer criminal accused of k illing a police officer had been released from jail into a drug diversion program and was wanted in a shooting last month, said Police Commissioner William Bratton, noting that the suspect had shown an increasing level of violence and shouldn’t have been on the streets. Tyrone Howard is expected to be charged w ith fatally shooting New York Police Department Officer Randolph Holder during a gunfight Tuesday night on a pedestrian bridge after stealing a bike. He was arrested in October 2014 along with 1 8 other people and charged with selling c rack cocaine at an East Harlem public housing complex. But Bratton said Howard was re- l eased into a drug diversion program, which is meant to keep drug offenders from overcrowding the city’s jails. “ If ever there was a c andidate not to be diverted, it would be this guy,” Bratton said. “There are people in our society who are crimi- n als, who are violent c riminals … who should be separated from the rest of society.” But court officials said Howard qualified f or the program because h e was charged with selling and possessing drugs and was addicted. “Actually, he’s the perfect candidate in m any ways,” state court system spokesman David Bookstaver told The Associated Press. Howard pleaded guilty to the drug charge t his May and was ordered to attend monthly status meetings, but he stopped attending those A ug. 21. An arrest warrant was issued Sept. 17. The 30-year-old had b een arrested 28 times since he was 13 for offenses including drug possession and robbery, authorities said. He’s been sentenced to state prison twice since 2007, s tate records show. C harges against Howard in Holder’s shooting were pending. H older was the second NYPD officer killed this year and the fourth slain i n the past 11months, Bratton said. Felon arrested in cop’s slaying MICHAEL BALSAMO ASSOCIATED PRESS ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed a series of bills that aims to ensure e quality for women in the workplace and provide stronger laws for victims of domestic violence. T he package of eight b ills was part of the governor’s Women’s Equality Act first introduced in 2013 that ultimately was passed piecemeal by the L egislature this year aft er a component to strengthen abortion rights was not approved. “Today, the state of New York chooses to a m odel of equality for w omen all across this nation. And that, my friends, is the right choice,” Cuomo said at an announcement in Manh attan. The bills include steps to fight human trafficking, ensure equal pay for equal work, combat sexual harassment in the w orkplace and curb gender discrimination in employment, housing and credit decisions. Other l aws will improve work accommodations for pregnant women and bol- s ter laws to protect domestic-violence victims. The signing of the bills was more than two years in the makingas women’s groups and Democrats pushed a 10- b ill women’s equality p ackage that included the abortion-rights component. One of the bills t hat strengthened orders of protection for domestic violence victims was p assed in 2013. Senate Republicans refused to support the a bortion plank, and ultimately the women-rights a dvocates acquiesced and backed passing the other measures. “By closing signifi- c ant loopholes in the existing legal framework for women’s rights and affirming our state’s commitment to equality, t he bills signed today lay t he foundation for further, future reforms,” the New York Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. C uomo said he would s till support efforts to codify abortion rights into New York law. “I can tell you that as long as I am governor of t he state of New York, I w ill protect a woman’s right to choose with every fiber in my being,” he said. Here’s a look at the k ey provisions in the eight bills signed by Cuomo. They will largely take effect within 90 days. Pay equity : Employ- e rs will be prohibited from paying women less than men for performing the same work. The law e liminates a loophole in current law that allowed employers to ban em- p loyees from discussing their salaries by threatening them with being fired or suspended. Sexual harassment victims : Employees will be protected from sexual h arassment regardless o f the size of the company. Current law had the definition of “employer” a s those with more than four employees, limiting those at small employers f rom suing. Family status dis- crimination: Employ- m ent discrimination cannot be based on familial s tatus. New York’s law had only covered discrimination based on familial status in the areas o f housing and credit. This will make it illegal to penalize women with families from being recommended for hire or p romotions. P regnancy discrimination: Employers must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. The bill clar- i fies existing laws to en- s ure pregnant women are accommodated. Housing discrimination: Landlords will be prohibited from discrim- i nating against victims o f domestic violence. S tronger orders of protection: A pilot program will be created to allow domestic-violence v ictims to seek temporary orders of protection electronically. Now they have to appear in person, which can create safety risks for victims. The p rogram will need to be in place by April. H uman trafficking: The state is eliminating t he requirement that coercion must be proven in sex trafficking cases w hen the victims are minors. It also increases criminal penalties, expands services for victims and requires additional police training. Attorney fees: Worke rs who successfully sue c an recover attorneys’ fees in employment or credit discrimination c ases based on sex. JSPECTOR@Gannett .com w ww.twitter.com/gan- nettalbany AP Actvist Kangela Moore, far left; state Sen. Catherine Young, second from left; state Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, second from right, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, far right, p ose with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, as he signs a series of bills to ensure equality for women in the workplace and provide stronger laws for victims of domestic violence. Eight new laws to protect women Workplaces, domestic violence addressed JOSEPH SPECTOR ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF NYState News and issues around the Empire State.