The rekindled relationship between the United States and Cuba has taken yet another step forward. On Tuesday, the White House announced that President Obama plans on moving Cuba off the government’s list of nations that support terrorism. The decision came after a meeting between President Obama and Raúl Castro, President of Cuba, that took place in Panama this past weekend. “We will continue to have differences with the Cuban government, but our concerns over a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, said in a statement. Cuba was on the list for over three decades. Read more.
Overpopulation in prisons and jails has been an ongoing issue. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is focusing on finding a solution. Nearly 1,500 inmates of the 10,000 that are imprisoned on Rikers Island have been there for over a year without being convicted of a crime. In efforts to lower the inmate population, Mayor de Blasio has launched the “Justice Reboot” initiative. “Today’s changes are part of my long-term commitment to bring the criminal justice system into the 21st century, safely drive down the number of people behind bars, and make the system fairer,” said de Blasio in a statement. His goal is to reduce the inmate population by 25 percent over the next decade. Read more.
The New York State-mandated English Language Arts exams kicked off yesterday, but many classrooms throughout the state were empty. Thousands of families took a stand and protested against standardized testing. “Essentially I see no diagnostic educational benefit to my child,” said a parent. “I see no compelling evidence this is a fair and accurate way to assess children or teachers. All this emphasis on testing actually interferes with meaningful learning and assessment.” Read more.