With the New York State Legislature ending its session for the summer, a number of significant developments came under discussion. Education was a central topic, with Governor Cuomo and other legislators considering the re-evaluation of the Common Core, a curriculum created in 2010 to improve academic performance that has come under scrutiny since its recent adoption. Under Common Core criteria, a teacher can be terminated if his or her students do not perform well on a set of standardized tests two years in a row.
Additionally, State Senator Gustavo Rivera proposed the “New York Is Home Act,” a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to become New York state citizens. While this would not pertain to U.S. citizenship, nearly three million immigrants would become full New York state citizens, making the bill the first of its kind to provide such status. State citizenship would grant the ability to apply for health insurance programs, tuition assistance for college students, and professional licenses.
While Senator Rivera conceded that the bill would not likely pass, the New York City Council seems poised to create a municipal ID system that would allow undocumented immigrants access to city services. These debates reflect a growing trend of states and cities pushing policy change as Washington is increasingly gridlocked on issues ranging from immigration to the minimum wage.
Direct Service Implications
Changes to public education and immigration status would have important ramifications for those living in poverty. This possible movement away from the Common Core would allow educators and youth-focused agencies to have more flexibility in their curricula and policies without having to emphasize the strict requirements. Providing documentation at the state or city level would have an especially momentous effect on immigrant communities and would potentially open up a range of services previously inaccessible for a large number of people in New York. The momentum the proposals at both the state and city level have generated is also indicative of a shift toward local and state governments playing a more active role in immigration reform.
Courtesy of McSilver Institute of Poverty Policy and Research who has kindly given SJS permission to syndicate this piece.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the Policy News Briefs are not necessarily the views of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research or NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. If you have comments or suggestions about this service, contact us at email@example.com.
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