The United States in 2013 possesses as system of public education that is demonstrably inferior to that of other developed nations and to the public education system it had enjoyed in 1910 when urban classrooms overcrowded with immigrant children nonetheless produced students who grew-up to become talented and highly-accomplished productive citizens. We can blame teachers, administrators, unions, school boards, the Board of Regents, the Department of Education, parents, too much TV, too many video games, and the Core Curriculum. Each, in their own manner, is less than guilt-free. Nevertheless, blaming them merely exonerates the culture from the fact that in 2013, all the lip-service and billion-dollar expenditures notwithstanding, education is not expected, rewarded, or respected the way it had hitherto been and still is in many other countries. And this distain for learning is no longer confined to the experiences of academically gifted students ostracized as nerds, geeks, and dweebs by their future minimum wage/drug rehab/correctional facility peers; in this nation where museums, art galleries, historical societies, churches, and civic organizations don’t enjoy as much funding or regard as the tobacco, gamboling, alcohol, professional sports, tattoo, pornography, and body-piercing industries. Children are growing up in households where there’s more passion and enthusiasm for celebrities, gadgets, and shopping than for math, science, books, and art. Adults, even college-educated adults, have joined what Isaac Asimov in 1980 called “the cult of ignorance” whereby tolerance, open-mindedness, and the egalitarian spirit is expressed in the notion that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.
For college bound students, mathematics is one of the most important academic subjects a student can take in high school. Since the admissions process is so competitive, colleges now expect to see students take four years of high school math. In fact, college admissions officers scrutinize student transcripts to ensure students have included math as part of their four-year high school program.
For 10 years now, residents of the Town of Hempstead have been receiving numerous town mailings (about 25 per year) often touting the accomplishments of our Town Supervisor, Kate Murray. One accomplishment, she can’t help but mention (over and over) is her fiscal record.
It is long past due that town residents have a factual account of her (Supervisor Murray’s) actual fiscal record. Since 2003, when Supervisor Murray was appointed, the property tax levy has increased from $182.528 to $264.49 million (or 44.9 percent), bond debt increased from $238 to $317.35 million (or 33 percent), and the town has had three consecutive years (2010 to 2012) of deficits totaling $36 million. Why hasn’t any of these facts showed up in a Kate Murray’s mailings?
I am writing out of concern for our police presence in Levittown. On Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at around 2:15 PM we parked at the Stop and Shop on the corner of Hempstead Tpke. And Wantagh Ave. in Levittown to do some grocery shopping. When we emerged from the store at about 2:45 p.m. we discovered that our car had been side-swiped while parked and that the perpetrator had left the scene with no note.
After determining that there was no note, we decided to ask the manager to look at the video cameras. The manager explained that they would need a police report to do that and suggested we call 911 which we did. We were told that it could be up to 30 minutes and to be patient.
There’s a lot of blame and finger pointing for the recent federal government shutdown. Today I’m offering a common-sense solution.
Originally, House Republicans, who are in the majority, offered a resolution to temporarily continue governing operations. It had two conditions: 1.) Fund the government at a level that many Democrats felt was insufficient; and 2.) Defund and delay the Affordable Care Act (known to many as Obamacare). I could not support both of those conditions, particularly using a shutdown of the federal government to effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Nassau County is very similar to other places around the country when election time comes around. You have candidates and incumbents willing to say anything to stay in office or get back in office. This time around we have two former incumbents in Suozzi and Weitzman who for over three years did not say a word about the county’s finances, struggles, or achievements. Yet all of a sudden they come out and say that everything is horrible. They say things like “cooking the books” and “the County borrowed $2 billion and your children will pay the price.” All these statements are meant to grab your attention and make you question your quality of life. As residents of this wonderful place we call home we need to remember where we were about a year ago. Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island, we had no gas, no electricity, and a sense of hopelessness. While some families are still hurting many of us are back on our feet going to work and living our normal lives. Mainly thanks to the response and leadership of our current government. It’s tough to shift through all the stats and all the numbers that are thrown at us during election time but there is one thing that we know is true. The current administration is doing everything they can not to make it more expensive to live here even during a disaster. The former administration, that is trying to make a comeback, has a track record of making it more expensive to live here. The choice is clear for me and my family. We love it here but we already pay enough.
Smaller, financially strapped school districts that can offer greater educational opportunities by joining together are the best candidates for mergers, according to a new research report by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).
The report found that losses in state aid and the local property tax cap have forced some districts to eliminate teaching and support staff positions, affecting their ability to provide elective courses and, in some cases, core courses as well.
By merging, these districts might be better able to offer a wider variety of educational programs and courses than they would otherwise.
In February, we discussed the benefits of an Advanced Regents Diploma for high school students. In truth, the Advanced track is more challenging than the regular Regents Diploma since it has a more academically oriented sequence.
However, the benefits of the extra math and science classes have a tremendous impact in the college admissions process. In fact, I implore parents to keep their children in the Advanced Regents diploma sequence.
Unfortunately, prior to the opening of school, we get many parents who want to change their child’s schedule. Clearly, the typical high school student would rather avoid the rigorous concepts taught in Trigonometry and Chemistry, but competitive colleges want to see these courses on student transcripts. To illustrate this point, we annually compare the college acceptances for Advanced Regents against Regents diplomas.
I know this is lengthy, but I ask that you read this and truly feel what I’m trying to express by putting yourself in my shoes for a few moments. I volunteer at Last Hope Animal Rescue and what I observe will sicken you and hopefully tug your heart strings.
I have been volunteering for the past year and I can’t even begin to tell you how much these dogs has gone through. Almost all the dogs that we rescue come from puppy mills in Kentucky and West Virginia. We try to rescue as many dogs as we can each week from these terrible places. Most people don’t know what happens in puppy mills and that is what I am trying to expose to everyone. Puppy mills are dog breeding facilities that operate on breeding their animals in unsanitary conditions. The main goal of puppy mills is to produce as many puppies as they can and keep the cost at a minimum. Puppy mills is a business that is growing and spreading very rapidly. A very large percent of pet store puppies come from these mills. Puppy mills normally sell to puppy brokers who distribute the puppies to the pet shops. Besides the selling of these dogs to pet stores, puppy mills face many other problems.
Really enjoyed John Owens’s article “They’re Drowning Our Kids In Snake Oil” (Sept. 18-24).
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