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Nassau Community College: Failing Our Students

My office released a report last week that found the 2012 graduation and transfer rate at Nassau Community College (NCC) dropped to 28 percent: less than one third of NCC students finished their degrees or transferred to a four-year college. NCC went from being one of the best community colleges in New York in 2009 to one of the worst in 2012, when it ranked 31st out of 35 community colleges in New York State.

 

The steep decline in graduations and transfers at NCC should be of concern to every taxpayer in Nassau County and to the 23,000 students who enroll at NCC hoping to receive a quality college education at a reasonable price. NCC is funded primarily through student tuition, state aid and Nassau County taxpayer money, receiving more than $52 million from the County in 2012.

 

Historically, NCC has provided high quality, affordable education, serving as an essential alternative to costly private colleges and universities for many Nassau residents. It ranked at or above the state average through 2009, and as high a 9th in the State as recently as 2005. The recent results are more than disappointing. NCC has obviously lost its way and is failing our students. This is unacceptable and must change. 

 

The decline in NCC’s performance appears to have occurred during a period of prolonged administrative turmoil following 27 years of stable management at the College. The apparent turmoil stemmed from a conflict between the new president and faculty regarding decision-making on academic matters. This long-running conflict eventually led to the president’s early departure in July 2012.

 

There has been no permanent president at the College since. The current acting president, Dr. Kenneth Saunders, was appointed Acting Officer-in-Charge of the College in July 2012 and Acting President of the College in January 2013. NCC has gone too long without a permanent president with authority and support from the Board of Trustees, to the obvious detriment of thousands of students. 

The appointment of Dr. Saunders or another highly qualified individual to permanent president is long overdue. It is time to restore NCC to being one of the best community colleges in New York.
 

Our students and tax dollars deserve better. 

 

A full version of the report can be found on my website.  http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html


News

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”

A little bit of Hollywood has come to Plainview. The Loft Sound Studio, a Plainview-based vocal and performance training facility, is the creation of lifelong music artist Donnie Klang

and Matthew LaPorte. The duo says that they draw upon their personal experience of the ups and downs of the recording industry to give kids today the chance to be superstars.

 

“Essentially, we’re looking for the next Justin Bieber, someone we can train and teach them how to really become an artist, put them on YouTube and hope they really blow up,” said

LaPorte. “If they do, through our connections that we made while we were in the music industry the past 15 years, we would try and get them a record deal.”

 

The Loft Studio, located at 1530 Old Country Road, already has a list of achievements, including protégé Madison Beer, who got attention after Justin Bieber tweeted a link to a video of her singing. She is currently signed to a record deal on Bieber’s label in Los Angles.


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com