(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the column “From the Desk of Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools” that appeared in the Friday, Sept. 23 edition of the Levittown Tribune. The information from the superintendent was also sent via email from the district to Island Trees residents who are subscribers to the district’s email notification system.)
I am in receipt of an email newsletter from Dr. Murphy and I need to respond. The superintendent lays out in detail the forthcoming tax cap law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo after being passed by the senate and the assembly.
For the 2010-11 school year, Island Trees High School opened up our Advanced Placement (AP) classes to more students. AP is the national benchmark for high school excellence, and the associated course work is one of the key requirements for enrollment into the best colleges and universities. In fact, the research shows students who take these rigorous classes are better prepared for college courses and tend to graduate in the traditional four year timeframe. Naturally, most colleges understand this and factor this into their selection process. They want students who take challenging course work.
In a recent Levittown Tribune article entitled, “IT Teachers Set to Face Strict Evaluation Measures,” the author speaks of a recent Board of Education meeting that was seemingly devoted to a newly developed grading system that will subject Island Trees teachers to be evaluated and judged. What the author fails to mention is that the entire state’s teachers will be forced to adhere to these “newly developed” standards. While it is true that the existing board is displaying diligence with regard to adopting this new system, it is merely responding to the State Education Department’s direction.
Three and a half years ago, we lost our teenage daughter to suicide. She was a student at Division Avenue High School. Raising funds to support research and prevent suicide has become very important to us, as we hope that other families will not have to endure the pain we are living with.
(Editor’s note: The Myles family is seeking volunteers for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Out of the Darkness” walk on Sunday, Oct. 16 at Old Westbury Gardens. Call (516) 869-4215 for more information.)
Al and Kathy Myles
In early July, Governor Cuomo signed into legislation the historic “tax cap” law. The law which takes place next year will limit tax levy increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The hallmark law will help rein in property taxes statewide. Additionally, legislators hope the cap will encourage and revitalize the state’s economy by keeping more businesses and families in New York. Somewhat similar to the tax cap law in New Jersey, residents could override the “cap” with a 60 percent vote on a school budget.
Admittedly, parents use many different methods to push their children for school success. In my family, my mother used storytelling to motivate me to do well in school. All it would take was one complaint - one comment - one word - about the difficultly of an assignment and…more often than I want to remember, I would be told about how mother’s father, my grandfather, had been sent away from his home in Donegal, Ireland at 11 years of age to work in coal mines in Scotland.
Years later after emigrating to America, my grandfather continued this type of mining work as a “sandhog” in the public works tunnels in New York City. Although he was able to successfully raise his family in Brooklyn, this hard dangerous work took its toll of my grandfather’s health, as well as many of his fellow tunnel diggers. In fact, his brother was crushed to death in a tunnel accident in the late ’50s.
Not surprisingly, a report from the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce reconfirmed that higher education positively impacts salary over a lifetime. Although a college degree does not guarantee higher earnings, on average a four-year degree seems to be a major factor for income over a career. In fact, the difference between a bachelor’s degree and a high school diploma is quite significant $970,000 ($2.27 million vs. $1.30 million).
Senator Kemp Hannon has announced that federal disaster assistance is now available for homeowners, renters and small businesses in Nassau County as a result of damages incurred by Hurricane Irene.
“FEMA has moved quickly to assess the damages to Nassau County from this storm,” said Hannon. “If you are a resident or small business and you sustained any losses, call FEMA’s toll free (1-800-621-3362) number to see if you are eligible for assistance. You must register with FEMA to receive assistance.”
There was no rest for Levittown’s Volunteer Firefighters during and after Hurricane Irene’s visit to the area. Many fallen trees brought down numerous utility poles causing many small fires from the fallen power lines. Fire crews had to be careful to stay clear of the energized wires. One thing missing from this storm was flooded, stranded motorists.
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