Opting Out of Testing?; Umpire Doug Harvey; Bodega Cats!

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Monday, March 31, 2014

New York State tests begin this week for students in third through eighth grades. WNYC’s Yasmeen Khan discusses the exams, now aligned to "common core" curricula, and whether more students will be "opting out" from standardized testing. Plus: the latest on the ACA enrollment since today is the deadline to sign up; everything you ever wanted to know about cats in bodegas; the latest appointments in city government, including the NYPD’s inspector general; and Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey.

New NYS Budget and a Report on Diversifying Construction

Ester Fuchs, professor of public affairs and political science and director of the urban and social policy program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and former adviser to Mayor Bloomberg, looks at the new New York State budget deal that was reached over the weekend. Plus, she discusses a new report that details a successful apprenticeship program for minority youth to learn construction trades in NYC. Fuchs explains why it's vital to help minority kids access these solid middle-class jobs. 

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Obamacare: New York vs. New Jersey

Today is the deadline for ACA enrollment, and the numbers in New York are booming. In New Jersey, not so much. What's keeping the Garden State from a "robust" sign-up?

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Don't Freak Out, Parents of Test-Takers

Yes, statewide testing for grades 3-8 starts tomorrow. But no, it's not the end of the world. Here's some good news about the future of mind-numbing test prep and the state of the opt-out movement.

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Inside the World of Bodega Cats

WNYC is running a vote to find NYC's best bodega cat -- with the next round of voting starting today. Brian Lehrer Show producer Jody Avirgan discusses the laws around bodega cats, whether they are properly cared for, and what makes them so darn cute. They are illegal according to NYC Health Code Article 81, Section 25, but many owners are willing to risk the fine because cats are the most effective way to deter rodents -- and the fine for animals and the fine for mice are just about the same amount. Some vets, however, are concerned that bodega cats don't get proper care. In 35 years of practice, Ted Weiner of Gotham Animal clinic tells WNYC he's never seen a bodega owner bring in a cat for treatment.

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Play Ball!

Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey, who officiated over 4,000 games and is the co-author (with Peter Golenbock) of They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived (Gallery Books, 2014), talks baseball on the day of the Mets home opener.

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