News from the Associated Press - February 10, 2014

Associated Press
February 10, 2014

Panel to report on rollout of Common Core in NY

UNDATED (AP) - A panel of education policy makers is set to make recommendations for smoothing implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards in New York.

The state Education Department's phase-in of the rigorous standards in New York schools has been criticized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, legislative leaders, teachers and parents.

On Monday, the Board of Regents is expected to hear from a panel of Regents members who, after a series of volatile public hearings, was tasked with finding ways to get back on track.

The Common Core has been adopted by all but a handful of states as a uniform set of kindergarten-through-graduation benchmarks.

But critics say not all school districts were prepared for the curriculum changes and they've caused anxiety and frustration among students, parents and teachers.


NY insurer to give customers 3 weeks free coverage

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Thousands of consumers who faced enrollment problems will get three weeks of free coverage from Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the agreement follows a Department of Financial Services probe into complaints about Empire sending out member ID cards late, failing to send bills on time and other issues.

Empire spokeswoman Sally Kweskin says Sunday the company voluntarily offered compensation to consumers who had problems signing up for coverage or accessing benefits during the turbulent rollout of the state's New York State of Health marketplace.

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Empire consumers are expected to receive the financial relief. Empire has also committed $2 million to consumer education to encourage enrollment in health care coverage through the state marketplace.


19K in Pa. still without power 5 days after storm

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Five days after an ice storm knocked over trees and snapped power lines — and as another winter storm moved through the region — more than 19,000 utility customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania remain in the dark.

The number of customers without power has dropped from a peak of about 850,000 after Wednesday's storm.

PECO reports more than 18,000 customers without power in the five-county Philadelphia area, almost 10,000 of them in hard-hit Chester County.

Montgomery County has more than 4,300 customers without electricity, while Bucks County has more than 2,700 and Delaware County 1,300-plus.

The National Weather Service says most of Pennsylvania received several more inches of snow Sunday — the latest in a snow- and ice-filled winter — but a few areas received 6 inches or more.


More budget hearings at NY state Capitol

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state lawmakers will examine taxes, economic development and mental health care this week during budget hearings in Albany.

The Senate and Assembly fiscal committees will conduct their third and final week of budget hearings on Monday and Tuesday.

The lawmakers are examining Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed $137.2 billion budget for the fiscal year starting in April.

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