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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

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.

 

Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county. 

 

The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year. 


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


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