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Letter: 10 Minutes Too Much

John Owens’ column reported the Board of Regents announced that on the upcoming April statewide tests, they’d take “10 minutes off  the English exam.” Owens wrote, “Of course, in context, it’s  not much. Our kids still can expect to sit through nearly three hours of testing.” He’s right, but I’d like to amend his “not much” to “too much: 10 minutes too much.” Because allowing kids to leave the testing room 10 minutes early will do more harm than good — and here’s why: I think the  Board of Regents needs some Common Core courses intended to improve both critical thinking and problem-solving, given their foolish plan which stipulates that “students in grades 5-8 will be allowed to leave testing areas 10 minutes earlier on one day ... if everyone in the class completes the exam in less than the time allowed.”  

Can you imagine the pointed stares and the pressure directed by every finished test-taker to the very last kid still working on his or her test during those last 10 minutes?  

Well, this retired teacher can. It will make it very hard for the slow or super-conscientious student to continue concentrating on his test while knowing everyone wants him to close his booklet and hand it in — for their “freedom.” And If he does use every last minute, I hate to think about the comments and even bullying he might receive from some angry classmates. I think these Board of Regents “experts” should have been able to anticipate these potentailly negative outcomes for a ridiculously-negligible 10 minutes of “appeasement.” A better alternative would be to require all kids to remain in their seats until the very end of the time allowed; but be allowed to read at their desks.

Even if all kids finish early, it would be unwise to dismiss them; because this would tempt some kids to (unwisely, against their best interests) race through the test for this “reward.”

Richard Siegelman

News

Oyster Bay Town officials are mulling an override of the state’s 2 percent property tax cap for the second consecutive fiscal year. On Aug. 12, the town held a hearing to approve local legislation, giving the Town Council authority to pierce the cap.

However, according to Marta Kane, a spokesperson with the Town of Oyster Bay, Supervisor John Venditto and the members of the Oyster Bay Town Council are not certain if they will entertain a repeat of last year, when the board adopted a $277 million budget, increasing the tax levy by $15,964,647 — or 8.8 percent.

Members and guests of North Shore Synagogue’s Brotherhood BBQ and Erev Shabbat Service enjoyed a wonderful summer’s evening in early July with a classic BBQ and services led by Brotherhood, with help from Rabbi Jaimee Shalhevet and Cantor Rich Pilatsky.   

“This is a wonderful way to connect with other members of Brotherhood, which focuses on building camaraderie among our members, and instilling a strong sense of community away from the hectic pressures of our day-to-day lives,” said  Brotherhood co-president Jeffrey Levine.


Calendar

Blood Drive

Thursday, Aug. 28

Take A Book On Vacation

Through Aug. 30

Knitting Circle

Tuesday, Sept. 2



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