You may recall that I recently called for the resignation of New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King. The initiatives he has undertaken in his brief tenure as Commissioner of the State Education Department, including his roll-out of the Common Core curriculum, testing, teacher evaluations, and gathering of student data, are shaping up to be among the most controversial issues I’ve ever dealt with as a public servant. It’s easy to see why. These changes have created confusion among parents, anxiety for our children, and put life-long educators at odds with the department of education in Albany. This was only exacerbated when he canceled town hall meetings on the issue.
I am writing this newsletter to you from San Antonio, Texas. I am currently at a Superintendents’ Summit that I was nominated to attend, at no cost to the district, sponsored by the District Administrative Leadership Institute. I am here with 64 superintendents from across the country and it has been an excellent opportunity to share and get new ideas from colleagues from many different states. For example, last evening I was part of a small roundtable group that included a Superintendent from Connecticut. He is utilizing online resources for an elementary STEM initiative that he will share with me for our own elementary science curriculum exploration. This afternoon I participated in an exciting Google presentation that provided rich resources and ideas to explore for our own district’s use.
I applaud John Owens for his insightful piece entitled “The Question they Missed was on the Test.” Mr. Owens illuminates the real issue facing public education. The reform movement (which would be better called what it truly is—the privatization of public education) is the problem. This movement has created a crisis so money can be made. The private sector has figured out a way to make billions of dollars, by diverting our tax dollars away from public schools to their profit-making solutions to solve our educational crisis—the one that does not exist.
If you’re a person who values common sense, then prepare yourself to be disgusted and angry. I’m about to tell you about a sensible piece of legislation that’s long overdue, but is being blocked by the New York State Assembly, which is shamelessly pandering to its constituents with your tax money. In fact, you may be shocked to learn that we even need this legislation at all, let alone that it’s being systematically stymied by some in Albany.
Currently, New York issues something called Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to our welfare recipients. It works much like a debit card and it allows us to help our needy neighbors in an efficient yet dignified way. The system conveniently provides a Food Stamp and a Cash Assistance component all on one card. As it stands, strict regulations dictate what can be purchased with the Food Stamp allotment. Cash assistance, on the other hand, is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. To be clear, there are no restrictions whatsoever on the use of the Cash Assistance component. None. It’s doled out like cash.
Americans love catchy phrases and buzzwords, but sometimes such marketing tactics are nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. That is exactly what corporations are doing when they refer to a newfangled, risky financial transaction that they have named pension de-risking. This is when companies sell off their retirees' pension plans to investment funds or insurers, converting what were federally protected pensions into annuities. This has the impact of stripping defenseless older Americans of legal protections of both the federal ERISA pension law and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, an Adelphi graduate, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace have lived in Mineola for 59 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
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The Davenport restaurant is known for fine dining, thus it was a pleasant surprise to see at the next table Franie and Frank Luisi. Franie is the lead soloist at Corpus Christi Church and Frank is a high school counselor and an advisor to NCAA college-bound student athletes. With them was Troy Gordon, the choir director.
I read with interest the article “When The Power Goes Out, Generators Power Up” by Christy Hinko in this week’s Mineola American. It vindicates all that I said not too long ago. The information given is backed up by professionals. The major manufacturers were mentioned, except Centurion.
Could you imagine if, tomorrow, school districts across New York State had to absorb more than 400,000 new students? Or picture your local school enrolling hundreds of new students and the effect it would have on class sizes, let alone our ability to provide books and materials, desks and lockers. Our current facilities could in no way withstand that kind of blow. In each district, new schools would have to be immediately built and hundreds of teachers, aides, and support staff would have to be hired. With the average cost to educate a student in New York at over $20,000 annually, you could bet our already sky-high school taxes would zoom to astronomical levels.
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace, a graduate of Adelphi University, have lived in Mineola for 59 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
When Kathleen Rice defeated Denis Dillon in the battle to become the district attorney, we had Republican friends that were assistant DA’s. They figured that Rice would fire them and replace them with Democrats. That didn’t happen. Kathleen said, “We will keep all those doing a good job no matter what party they belong to.” Rice has always worked like that. She has brought down drunk driving. She had a man who was drunk and driving the wrong way on a parkway, crashing into a van killing a little girl and the driver, and convicted him of murder. Instead of the usual five-year sentence, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced for 18 years to life. She has publicly displayed the photos of those arrested for DWI. She is now working hard against texting while driving.
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This upcoming election, Mineola has a chance to control the outcome of the North Hempstead Election. For years now, North Hempstead has ignored Mineola and for the most part, Mineola has ignored the town as we do not use their services. The mayor and village board and residents do not receive the respect from the Town of North Hempstead that a village of our size deserves.
We only receive back approximately $56,000 in sales tax revenue when we should be getting $1.1 million. They pave streets in other incorporated villages but not Mineola, we end up paying for it ourselves.
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