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Letter: Billionaires vs. Our Kids

I don’t mind reasonable incremental changes to our children’s education. What I see, however, when you follow the money with Common Core, is an opportunity for billionaires like Bill Gates to apply monetary influence over politicians in order to gain political favor. I see a public school system focused more on testing and memorization of useless trivia, than students truly learning and grasping concepts.

With Common Core, I see corporations eventually profiting from access to our children’s confidential information, and a further invasion into our privacy. Will any of us be surprised if somehow Bill Gates’ Microsoft eventually benefits from computerized testing and educational software in our public schools?

I have a daughter in the third grade, who I think is far too young to be stressing over tests and to not genuinely enjoy going to school most days. I understand juniors and seniors getting tired of the school routines. Is it really necessary, though, to have children turned off to learning by the third grade?

Just one example of many: My daughter started learning multiplication and division simultaneously in January. She hadn’t even mastered these fundamental basics yet, and they already started her on fractions a few weeks later. Even if she manages to correctly answer a test question on fractions, she doesn’t fully understand the concept of fractions yet.

And while two working parents “make the time” to help our children with their ever-increasing homework load, on behalf of actual parents of children in public schools, I have to ask: How are we to help in countless situations where we weren’t taught the same methods being used in the classroom?

Since the supporters of Common Core like to point to the so-called “problem” with our global ranking in education, here are some interesting facts about the number-one ranked country in education, Finland.

The only similarity between Finland’s education system and the Common Core is that the curriculum is the same for all students. Of course, that’s a little easier when you have a total population of 5.4 million, which is about two-thirds of New York City’s multicultural population (8.3 million), and a little over a quarter of the State of New York’s population (19.5 million).

Finnish schools have light homework loads. Finland uses very little standardized testing. Children in Finland don’t start school until age 7. Finnish preschools emphasize “self reflection” and social skills, not academics. Finland doesn’t even begin grades until high school.

So here is a question for the creators of Common Core:

If the Common Core was supposed to be about improving our global rankings and preparing our children for global competition, then why are we doing the exact opposite of the country who is currently ranked first?

I don’t begrudge Bill Gates the billions of dollars he’s earned, if accomplished with ethical business practices. But I do mind when billionaires use their influence over self-serving politicians, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to decide the education of my children in public school; especially when their own children probably attend private schools.

I do mind and I find it frightening that Cuomo has reportedly tried to undermine the campaign of his probable Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, by appealing to wealthy Republican supporters of Cuomo’s tax policies, many of whom Cuomo once attempted to prosecute as state attorney general. I do mind that President Obama’s Common Core lackey, U.S. Department of Education head Arne Duncan, recently praised the work of state Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr., when even Cuomo has recognized the horrific execution of New York’s Common Core rollout. Can President Obama be any more out of touch with what public school parents are feeling about Common Core?

Please forgive me if I want my children to be independent and live a balanced life; and to not be indoctrinated into a life of servitude to their would-be billionaire kings and the puppet politicians they fund.

I hope that every parent and grandparent realizes the importance of what is happening here, and this November votes for common sense in our public school system, and against the perpetrators of Common Core. If we’re not going to fight for our children’s future, then what will we fight for?

Paul Biggin

 

News

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, Long Islanders taking mass transit may find themselves caught up in the mad dash of the holiday rush. But on the Oyster Bay line, riders are lucky in that they don’t experience the same level of stress over parking as some of the busier lines do.

“The Oyster Bay station never seems to get that crowded, but we’ll see what happens during Thanksgiving holiday when a lot of people come to visit families. I don’t think I’ll have a problem commuting, though,” says Michael Miniero, an Oyster Bay resident who regularly commutes to work on the LIRR.

What better way to celebrate a 100th birthday than by having a new room inauguration filled with local residents, live music and cocktails and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres. That is what happened at the Locust Valley Library Sunday evening, Nov. 9, as the community room was officially renamed the Matinecock Neighborhood Association Community Room. Proceeds from the event went to the restoration of the new room.

Speakers at the centennial celebration included Library Board of Trustees President Charles Brisbane, Library Administrative Director Kathy Smith, Locust Valley Historical Society President Herb Schierhorst and Matinecock Nation Chief Little Running Fox.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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