I firmly believe that pulling sixth graders out of elementary school in favor of putting them into middle school is a rather huge mistake. Aside from monetary cost associated with such a move, and the heavy tax burden that will fall on the heads of residents, there is a real threat to disrupting the delicate balance we have achieved here in Massapequa.
School officials site the fact that Massapequa is one of the only districts that have sixth graders in elementary school. To that I say, so what? Massapequa does should not bow and bend to the will of other school districts — instead, we should stick to everything that keeps us unique.
Brian and Amy are your typical middle-class New Yorkers. They’ve worked hard to build a comfortable life for their three children in Hicksville, and hoped to remain there to be near family.
However, every year during tax season they are hit by a bill from the federal government that makes them question if they will be able to continue living in such a high-cost area. Their story is all too familiar, and I wanted proof that we need to change the federal tax code to account for New York families facing some of the highest costs of living in the country.
There is a crisis brewing in this country and it is one that does not get enough attention. That crisis is the growing number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and the fact that there is no way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression. Over 5 million people are currently living with this disease, with over 300,000 living in New York State. If left unchecked, there may be as many as 14 million people living with this disease by mid-century.
There are also 15.5 million friends and relatives who work tirelessly as caregivers for their loved ones who slowly forget who they are, how to take care of themselves and how to do basic things like go to the bathroom and swallow. In addition to the human toll, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in the nation, costing $214 billion a year. This number will rise to the trillions by 2050. If we could eliminate Alzheimer‘s tomorrow, we could save half a million lives every year, not to mention the cost savings that would result.
I am certain John Owens can respond to the recent critical letter faulting is opposition to the imposition of the new core curriculum in New York State schools. I support Owens’ position. The writer assumes Owens opposes excellence because he describes the psychological factors present in every learning environment. Intelligence, and the willingness to apply it are individual endowments. They need the proper atmosphere. A teacher’s job is to provide those conditions favorable to learning. Owens’ insight in this regard is commendable. Excellence cannot be imposed, least of all by bureaucratic fiat nor corporate competition.
In order to achieve the learning atmosphere in the classroom, we must alter our design, in both time and content. For example, some students should be permitted to graduate high school in two years, others should remain for six. The intervening time being subject to individual commitment and accomplishment. Some students should be permitted to leave and resume schooling without penalty. Curriculum should encourage talent. It needs flexibility. Education is a vehicle of opportunity for all. Our laws guarantee it, our curriculum does not. You cannot and should not train every student to be an after-dinner speaker.
Can you hear it? Listen closely and you’ll recognize the harmony of thousands of voices woefully singing, “It’s the Same Old Song” by the Four Tops. They’re parents from Buffalo to Montauk singing because the New York City-led state assembly voted to return three of the four Board of Regents members to their positions this past week. And the fourth one was only replaced because he resigned. That just about locks him in as the smartest member as far as I’m concerned, because he realized he was in over his head.
The Board of Regents is New York’s 17-member board that dictates education policy to school districts across the state as well as shapes procedures at universities, adult education programs and even manages the licensing of professionals like architects and dentists. This tone-deaf crowd is also responsible for the disastrous Common Core rollout that has become the bane of parents, educators and students. That’s why I voted ‘no’ to reappointing all the incumbent Board of Regents members who were seeking another term.
I love being a legislator for so many, many reasons; being able to secure the health, safety and welfare of my constituents to the best of my ability, being able to draft laws which have benefits for the people I represent and meeting the most wonderful, giving people and having the opportunity to work with them to make miracles happen. About two weeks ago just such an incident happened and I would like to share this with you.
I was contacted by a former Woodbury resident, whose family still lives in the area. He inquired about possible donations to help make a dream become a reality. The family suffered an overwhelming loss during the Sandy Hook school incident in Newtown, Conn. Their beautiful family member Madeleine was one of those who was taken by the gunman.
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.
Your “Patience Is A Virtue” editorial was a good one: a good “lesson," plus good advice. Unfortunately, it was probably “preaching to the choir”, because those of us patient, considerate reader-drivers will just continue practicing our responsible, careful driving habits; while the impatient, reckless fools like the one you describe—who arrogantly think that THEIR time is more important than anyone else’s safety—are likely to continue their public-menace bad driving habits.
I know we are all busy, but I am asking you to read the following email and help our students in NY State.
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.
I read the attack on John Owens’ articles on Common Core by Stanley Ronell with amazement. How could one person be so misinformed about the topic of Common Core curriculum? Mr. Owens was a teacher, and his views were right on target. The curriculum and the roll-out have been a disaster. I suggest he read an excellent expose, Reign of Error, by Diane Ravitch, and Mr Owens’ book, Confessions of a Bad Teacher, before he writes further letters.
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