The stated goal of the North Shore School District is to foster bilingualism by providing an expansion of language instruction starting from kindergarten. Research shows that there are advantages in having a bilingual mind; however, the research does not show that there are better languages to be bilingual in (except there are statistics that show that Italian speakers have a lower occurrence of dyslexia). Part of their plan is to give kindergarteners instruction in Mandarin Chinese and then Spanish starting in the third grade.
At the height of the Cold War, progressives in education told us that we should study Russian and Soviet Studies in order to “get ahead.” In the mid-‘70s and into the ‘80s the language that would insure a “brighter future” was Japanese. What happened? Time proved these predictions wrong just as it will prove the current “language du jour” will not achieve the stated goal of bilingualism and/or give these students a “leg-up” in their secondary education and in life.
Aside from number of speakers in the world and a booming economy, Mandarin Chinese does not offer any real advantages. China is a brutal dictatorship that, while somewhat stable now, can change radically. There are no major advances in scientific research from China. Medicine in China is folkloric, and if there were many great works of Chinese literature they would have been translated into English. Aside from that, it is a language that is difficult for Westerners to learn and there are little connections to our community. Many of our neighboring school districts have offered and then canceled their Chinese programs.
In December, at North Shore, they held the world language national honor induction ceremony. Of the languages that are currently offered at North Shore, Spanish had 2.3 percent of those enrolled, inducted, French 3.4 percent, Latin 4.9 percent, and Italian had 4.5 percent. This literally speaks volumes! It is not that the students who study Italian are smarter or that the Italian teachers are better; it is a reflection of the student’s motivation to learn Italian. This is something that the administration is overlooking in favor of being “in vogue”; but sadly in contrast to their intended goal of bilingualism!
The North Shore Board of Education does not wish to lend credibility to any anonymous paid advertisements by responding to such ads; however, “An Open Letter to the North Shore Community” dated Jan. 25, is wrong on the facts. To begin, the issue raised in the ad was directly answered by the board more than a year ago, and posted on the board website. Here again are the facts.
“Quite as important as legislation is vigilant oversight of administration.”
- President Woodrow Wilson
While I wasn’t looking for a fight during this recovery, I was elected to do a job. I am fighting to hold Nassau County accountable on how it spends millions of dollars after superstorm Sandy.
My concern started when constituents contacted me about major tree cutting in Nassau County nature preserves, like Welwyn in Glen Cove. While I was able to eventually stop the work, the devastation in Welwyn would pull me into a much bigger fight.
Taxpayers have nothing more to give. But, in trying to be careful with their money, I have met with total resistance.
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the Glen Cove Police Department, and specifically Det. Albin and Lt. Nagle, for the terrific job they did for my local company. One of my technicians recently realized a company laptop was missing from his vehicle. He did not recall exactly when he had used it last and we had not yet reported the item as stolen. Det. Albin identified my company as the owner of a recovered laptop and called to notify us that it had been found among other recovered items during an ongoing investigation of a suspect. I went down to the police station and was able to get my laptop back right then and there. As an owner of a local Glen Cove business, it is great to know that the Glen Cove Police Dept. is on the job and looking out for us. Thank you very much!
Peter Warzer, President
Long Island Video Enterprises LIVE, Inc.
The Glen Cove SAGE Foundation (Senior Activity Generational Endowment), which consists entirely of an all-volunteer board, promises that your generosity will make a difference in the daily lives of so many of our senior neighbors, relatives and friends and, hopefully, one day, in your life.
The mission of SAGE is to assist the Glen Cove Senior Center in pursuing and providing the highest quality of programs and services for senior citizens in Glen Cove, Glen Head, Glenwood Landing, Sea Cliff, and their surrounding communities.
At its meeting on December 13, 2012, the North Shore Board of Education (“BOE”) voted to implement a new foreign language program, the World Language Program (“WLP”). The WLP is an expansive foreign language program that implements Mandarin Chinese in grades K-2, a choice of Mandarin Chinese or Spanish in grades 3-5 and adds Chinese as a language choice in the middle and high schools. It also initially called for the elimination of Italian as an accredited language in the middle school and high school, which sparked community outrage. As a result, the BOE was forced to reconsider its position and reinstate Italian.
Although the elimination of Italian was the impetus behind the community’s opposition to the new WLP, the adoption of this program raises a whole host of issues that need to be seriously considered by the BOE, the administration and this community. We need to look at how our tax dollars are being spent, the choices that are being made for our children and the responsiveness of the BOE to the community’s concerns and desires.
The Dec. 13, 2012 North Shore Board of Education (‘BOE’) meeting was a real wake up call for members of the North Shore Community and left most who attended in disbelief.
The North Shore BOE of course invited all to attend the meeting. However, it became obvious to all, that their decision to enact the World Language Program and to phase out the Italian language was a foregone conclusion made regardless of the community’s desire and regardless of who it impacted.
Be Able To Agree?
Election Day should have marked an end to some of the shouting that’s taken hold of our politics. However, with the fiscal cliff crisis in Washington only narrowly averted, and more legislative brinksmanship apparently on the way, that may have been too much to hope for.
However, there is one thing on which all sides should be able to agree: Common sense on immigration issues.
The whole country continues to mourn the deaths of 20 children and six adults who died in last month’s school shooting in Newtown, CT. And while we wait for the motive to emerge and policy proposals to surface, we can speak out now on behalf of families who need greater access to mental health treatment and other social services that ultimately will prove more effective in protecting and strengthening all of us; children, adults and our communities.
As the head of a human services organization, I believe it is part of our mission to inform and educate the public on important issues facing today’s families in a balanced and professional manner. As the result of this tragic event, there will be a temptation to look for quick answers; overly simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions.
In response to Grace Merrell Slezak’s letter to the editor of Dec. 28, her suggestion of armed guards in every conceivable place opens the door to many questions.
One, how would you arm them? A guard with a side arm will not be enough to counter an attack such as the one in Newtown, CT. The guards would need assault weapons as well as flak jackets, etc. Second, how many guards for any institution? Third, how to pay for this? Suggestions of dropping foreign aid are irresponsible. Just recently, two past Secretaries of State, Madeleine Albright (Democrat) and Colin Powell (Republican), stated that foreign aid was important for the United States. Not only is it the right thing to do but it also wins friends and allies around the world, which we need more than ever in this country’s war on terrorism.
I appreciate Ms. Slezak’s concern for the safety of our citizens, some of her suggestions are reasonable, but fear tactics and thoughtless solutions are not the answer. If she prefers to live in what would be an armed camp, Fort Knox would be the place to live. For the rest of us who do not want to live in some Old West-Dodge City world…ban the big clips and weapons.
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