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Letter: Too Much And Too Soon

Friday, 14 February 2014 10:10

On Thursday, Jan. 23, the New York State Senate Education Committee met with State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. to discuss the flawed implementation of the Common Core curriculum and to find out what he was prepared to do to help students, parents and teachers.

During the meeting, I specifically asked the commissioner about changes to Regents Exams to match Common Core standards.  I have serious concerns for our students who will be forced to take Common Core-based Regents Exams without the proper preparation. I asked the commissioner to address this issue.

 

Letter: Good-Bye Inisfada

Friday, 14 February 2014 10:11

I read John Owens’ article on Inisfada (“Not Just A Mansion, But A Monument Lost”) with nostalgia and sadness. I knew the history of the Brady family, in particular Mrs. Brady.

I miss attending mass, retreats and wonderful holiday events. Inisfada was a very cohesive local community.

The article offered some small amount of closure, so thanks for that.

Germaine Greco

 

Nassau County Comptroller’s Report: January 6, 2014

Written by George Maragos Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:57

Transparency In Government The Public Can See

Confidence and trust in government appears to continue to erode because of political infighting, and the perception of waste, fraud, and limited transparency. This is why my office has taken small yet significant steps to attempt to restore some trust through transparency.

Our latest step came last week when we made available to the public on the Comptroller’s Facebook page all 2013 Nassau County contracts with vendors as well as all the bills paid by the County. In keeping with my office’s prudent standards of controlling costs and promoting innovation, we used the latest social media tools to make this information available to the greatest number of residents by using Facebook, Twitter and Google Docs. Not a single taxpayer dollar has been spent for this important public service.  

 

Letter: Use Your ‘Head’ In Youth Sports

Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

I found it disconcerting that an article titled “Concussions: Stop The Invisible Injury,” which  talked about “concussion prevention,” “fostering an atmosphere of safety first,” “the athlete’s health is first priority,” “protecting an athlete’s future,” “the lifelong impact this injury can have on an athlete,”  and “parents can reinforce a safe sports environment by not promoting or encouraging  moves that might compromise an athlete’s safety,” never once suggested the advisability of simply not allowing one’s young child to endanger his growing brain by playing (tackle!) football, playing other helmet-required sports like hockey, becoming a boxer or playing a brain-rattling (from “heading” the ball) sport like soccer.

The article began with several false premises and assumptions. One is that “a concussion can occur in any sport,” as if it’s as common in basketball as in football. It also said that “a concussion...can occur in both contact and non-contact sports,” as if the incidences are equal in frequency or severity. I daresay concussions are nowhere near as common in baseball as in football. There’s a good reason that some sports require helmets be worn to protect one’s head and the brain inside the skull.  

 

Letter: Common Core: Good or Evil

Thursday, 23 January 2014 10:30

I have serious doubts about some aspects of the Common Core curriculum; I have serious doubts about some aspects of the Common Core curriculum; I have serious doubts about some aspects of the Common Core curriculum. I reiterate this thrice because, in more than one public venue, this has morphed into “Paul Manton is 100% in favor of the Common Core curriculum and thinks that anyone who does not share his enthusiasm is an idiot” - thence to diatribes about Obamacare, the war in Iraq, Bill Gates, global warming, and respiratory illnesses in children. I don’t understand the confusion. Is I because I don’t suffer from America’s self-imposed Attention Deficit Disorder and can comprehend the English language above the Third Grade reading level? But permit me to make things perfectly clear. As clear as an azure sky on a summer’s day. Let me remove all doubt as Dickens removed all doubt anent the death of Jacob Marley. There are some things I dislike about the Common Core curriculum and some things about it I like.  

 

Letter: Hack-proof? Ha!

Thursday, 16 January 2014 10:09

John Owens is correct when he says that inBloom’s promise that the student data it collects will be kept safe in its supposedly hack-proof cloud is “a lot less believable since info on 40 million Target customers was compromised.” I’d say that the most appropriate response to inBloom’s hollow assurances and unkeepable promise is contained in the first two letters of their claim “HAck-proof”: Ha! My second response to inBloom’s wishful-thinking promise of its collected-data’s supposed invulnerability can be found inside the phrase Owens used to pointedly point out that inBloom’s “underLYING operating system was built by a company owned by Rupert Murdoch.” So when inBloom says that their student data will be “hack-proof,” they are lying — since they know that is literally impossible in a world of Julian Assanges, Edward Snowdens, Russian hackers and thousands of brilliant conscience-less computer criminals and  identity thieves. I’m guessing that any inBloom official who made such an unsupportable false claim had his fingers crossed behind his back when he spoke those words.

Richard Siegelman

 

Letter: Community College Students Can Aim High

Thursday, 09 January 2014 10:38

The competition and mystique that surrounds the effort to gain entrance to four year colleges and universities by graduating high school seniors is almost a blood sport. To hear some parents and students talk, it is almost a matter of life and death, or at the worst, embarrassment.

The implication is that if a student is not accepted to a suitable four year institution all is lost. There is obviously no hope for this student. And what in God’s name are mom and  dad going to say at the various cocktail and graduation parties they will be attending? Will there be that pregnant pause when they say their son or daughter is heading to the local community college?

 

Letter: Rage Against The Dying Discourse

Friday, 27 December 2013 09:33

I feel for Lois A. Schaffer on the tragic loss of her daughter and am truly sorry that her admirable quest to stir people to demand what she calls “legislative movement” is so unlikely to achieve success. The fact that more than one whole year, four seasons, 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days have passed since the slaughter of 20 Newtown children last year,  with no “legislative movement” from our national legislature makes it clear that we’re more likely to see “laxative movement” from its 535 members than any legislative movement. Collectively, these 535 men and women are a disgrace to civilization. I can’t help wondering if the Senate or House of Representatives would have passed any meaningful gun legislation if, somehow, the 20 children killed on “12-14” were 20 of their own children. Or, since between them, these 535 men and women probably have more than 1,000 children; if Adam Lanza had somehow managed to shoot every one of those “children” (even if now of adult age) to death with his assault rifle, would that have “moved” them to action? I’m not even sure that would have done the trick; although I’m sure they would have paid some lip service to the idea of some gun control, and would have made some impressive-sounding, passionate, stirring speeches, oratory and rhetoric. They may not be able to walk-the-walk of genuine legislators, but they sure can talk-the-talk.

Richard Siegelman

 

Letter: Common Core Doesn’t Add Up

Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:00

John Owens left out an important point [in his column “Mastering Math Shouldn’t Be Optional”], and one that I made at a recent school board meeting.

I asked if this Common Core curriculum was going to improve the ability of our children to make change at the check-out counter or anywhere else. The answer was “No”.

 

Letter: A Parent’s Take On The Common Core

Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:00

First, I’d like to thank the paper for keeping the community informed on Common Core. It is definitely something most parents are talking about, some fearful, a few taking a tone of defiance. In the end, my wife and I take the position that it is better to have a universal standard in this country than have different standards originating “from the community.”

Bottom line is our children compete for opportunities and resources with other students across this country, and we had better make sure that our children’s transcripts adhere to one standard.

 

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