A few weeks from now, New York’s public school children in grades 3-8 will spend six days taking the poorly designed, expensive New York State Assessments. The overreliance on these tests has pushed school districts to abandon successful curriculum models and confine themselves instead to the limited, unproven and expensive Common Core standards.
“Prepping” for these dreary, mind-numbing examinations greatly reduces the time our kids can spend on appropriate, meaningful educational pursuits. It inhibits excellent teachers from bringing their inspiration and ingenuity into the classroom. The tests penalize children for their creativity and original thinking, and they punish gifted children and those with special needs even more severely. The process also channels tens of millions of our tax dollars out of the classrooms and into the coffers of rapacious testing corporations, who view our children as nothing more than a footnote on their bottom line. These companies also eagerly look forward to gaining access to our children’s confidential personal information.
Finally, the thermometer has cracked the 50-degree mark. Our clocks have sprung forward. A new type of snowdrop—tiny white flowers—is poking out of the lingering snowmelt. Soon we’ll be seeing early bloomers like witch hazel and daffodil.
Faithful readers will have noticed a bumper crop of horticulture coverage creeping into our pages already. Who can resist the vision of bright scarlet camellias in the dead white of winter? Gardening is a favorite hobby of many in Farmingdale, and we want to help you make the most of your plot of earth, whether it’s measured in acres or square feet, whether you prefer flowers or veggies or just a flawless smooth green lawn adorned with precisely carved topiary.
Pictures published in the most recent Farmingdale Observer showing Main Street on a warm weekend were a welcome relief to seemingly endless snow-filled pictures. The photo of a young man with a dog was made even better by its caption; “Rocco, the friendly pitt bull and his guardian Gerard Lombardo.”
In 10 simple words, this caption expressed two very basic, and yet very significant, principles which animal welfare supporters have been trying to bring to the mainstream for many years: First, that animals are more than just property which is “owned;” and Second, that dogs’ temperaments cannot be pigeon holed based upon their breeds.
My family and I have lived in Farmingdale Village now for almost forty years and I continue to be an active participant on committees, an activist for redevelopment, helping organize events and attending village board meetings for over twenty-five years.
I have observed four different village administrations in that time and I have seen the many board members administer the business of our village.
Over those years many things have changed. Our village has seen a number of challenges, from infrastructure to the ups and downs of the economy to malls forcing ‘Mom and Pop’ shops to close on Main Street to numerous vacant store fronts.
In honor of National Red Cross Month, we would like to recognize our Everyday Heroes from Long Island who reach out to help their neighbors when they need it most.
These everyday heroes help disaster victims get back on the road to recovery. They donate lifesaving blood. They help brighten the day of injured service members who are far from home. They take lifesaving skills classes; they then step forward to help a heart attack victim or to save a drowning child.
By now I am certain you have all heard of Common Core. Though the intent may have been good, the resulting standards and implementation have been a complete debacle.At no time were early education or developmental specialists consulted in designing the standards. Special needs children have been completely forgotten. The result is a set of expectations for our youngest students which are not only developmentally inappropriate, but completely at odds with what we know of cognitive development.
Ironically, Jason Zimba, the mathematics standards writer for Common Core, reports that these standards were designed to prepare students for a two year college, and that graduating seniors would be unprepared for a freshman calculus course. How can we consider these standards to be superior if our graduating students will be even less prepared for STEM fields than they are now?
Impatience is rampant these days, with harried drivers blaring horns to speed up traffic. The car horn was designed to alert other automobile drivers to potential hazards, i.e. swerving into oncoming traffic, drifting into the next lane, etc.
I would like to express my most sincere thanks to the children and schools of the 17th Assembly District who participated in my office’s 1st Annual Valentines for Vets.
The response my office received was positively overwhelming. The nearly 2,200 valentines created by the children displayed an appreciation for our veterans that was truly heartwarming. It is a pleasure to know that all our veterans have done, for their nation and its people, has been acknowledged with gratitude and respect. I would like to thank the principals, teachers and staff of the following schools for their participation: Albany Avenue School, Stanley D. Saltzman East Memorial School and Woodward Parkway School in the Farmingdale School District.
New York State Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, 17th District
I’m lucky to live only blocks away from an unspoiled piece of nature, where a pond-side bench lets me sit and enjoy a big cup of coffee and a plastic-tipped cigar.
From this vantage point, my mind wanders freely. I often reminisce of my childhood, where in every season and at every age I spent time here.
Nowadays, I smoke my cigars and admire the brilliant beauty of the swans on the pond. Here, there is peace. But any tranquility I feel is replaced with indignation when I think of what I’ve recently learned: that the swans are to be slaughtered if the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation goes ahead with its latest management plan. This plan seeks to eradicate the species from the state by 2025.
I found Maryann Sinclair Slutsky’s article on Michael Dowling (“An Immigrant Who Hasn’t Forgotten”) very interesting.
My parents also immigrated from Ireland, with an 18-month-old daughter, after waiting two years for permission to come. My mother was nine months pregnant with me at that time, but decided to come anyway.
This was in 1929, and they were here two weeks when I was born. So, you talk about struggle, no job, and then came the start of the Depression.
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