Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
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.”
Friday, 18 July 2014 00:00
One local playwright and his company — The Plainview Project — seem to be headed to the big leagues.
Claude Solnik of Plainview, the Plainview Project’s writer, is married with two children. While he has a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University, after graduating he ended up going into journalism, which currently remains his day job. But in his free time he indulged in his true passion, hammering out numerous play scripts until the day they he realized that he needed to stop sitting on these works he was creating and put them in the hands of actors that could give them life.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Even as they hoped the parties would reach a last-minute settlement, commuters across Long Island were scrambling last week to devise alternate plans for getting to work if Long Island Rail Road’s 5,400 workers go on strike July 20. And they were vocal in their anger with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The strike, it seems, has roused commuter ire over a wide range of LIRR issues, from timeliness to cleanliness to costs.
“I’ll have to figure out a new way home from work,” said Marco Allicastro, a 20-year-old Queens resident waiting for a train home at the Bethpage station after a day’s work at the local King Kullen. “Long Island doesn’t really have a lot of options in terms of transportation. Maybe I should get a new job.”