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Links of the Day:

- The shopping mall as we know is it dying. The New York Times wrote about the reinvention of vacant malls across the country:

Schools, medical clinics, call centers, government offices and even churches are now standard tenants in malls. By hanging a curtain to hide the food court, the Galleria in Cleveland, which opened in 1987 with about 70 retailers and restaurants, rents space for weddings and other events. Other malls have added aquariums, casinos and car showrooms.

Designers in Buffalo have proposed stripping down a mall to its foundation and reinventing it as housing, while an aspiring architect in Detroit has proposed turning a mall’s parking lot there into a community farm. Columbus, Ohio, arguing that it was too expensive to maintain an empty mall on prime real estate, dismantled its City Center mall and replaced it with a park.

Rochester is far along the mall-redevelopment track, though the endgame isn’t clear. Midtown Plaza has been knocked down. A developer plans to transform Medley Centre into a “lifestyle” venue, complete with residences, retail, offices and entertainment. It’s clear something had to be done with those properties and we await the outcome.

- The New York State Regents English test has been dumbed down in an effort to create a common standard, reports a columnist in the New York Times:

New York’s last three education commissioners, all leaders in the reform movement, have been suspicious of assessment instruments that rely too heavily on people who work in schools.

State officials have instead chosen to use one English test to assess every high school student in the state, which has caused another fairly gigantic problem: How do you create a single graduation exam for 200,000 seniors when some are heading to the Ivy League and others to pump gas?

- Is it ever okay to leave a child alone? A New York Times columnist says the law is murky.

- Careful, if your kid is late to school too many times, you could be charged with a misdemeanor in some places.

- Serving on a Civil War naval ship was no walk in the park. The Democrat and Chronicle has the harrowing ordeal of a Rochester soldier.