(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “The Showroom” letter by Paul Manton that appeared in the Friday, April 8 edition of the Levittown Tribune.)
I read the Letter to the Editor in the April 8 edition of the Levittown Tribune and I feel that a misleading fact was stated. When speaking of increasing salaries, of superintendents and police chiefs, fire commissioners and fire chiefs cannot be grouped into this category.
In Nassau County, fire commissioners are elected by the taxpayers of their fire district and do not receive any salary, benefits or any other form of payments.
Assemblyman Dave McDonough acknowledged he is pleased with an on-time state budget while being less than satisfied by its contents. He added that more work needs to be done in order to comprehensively address the demands of Long Island taxpayers and job creators. McDonough also emphasized his priorities of no significant new taxes, a cap on state spending, unfunded-mandate relief, and the structural redesign of Medicaid, believing that the 2011-12 state budget only laid the first brick in the strong foundation on which the Empire State needs to rebuild its broken economy.
The recent rancor, ballyhoo, and donnybrook over the enormous salaries of school superintendents, police chiefs, fire commissioners, and other upper echelon civil servants (and a few lower echelon ones as well) is best understood when we consider that these people are essentially support staff. What do I mean?
As a New Yorker I was disheartened to hear that the New York State Tobacco Control Program has been slashed to $41 million. This will no doubt be a disservice to the people of New York.
The 2011-12 budgeting process is coming to a close. From the beginning, the Board’s goal was to develop a budget that continues to support all of the quality educational programs and services in Island Trees, and at the same time, take into account the economic concerns expressed by many residents.
To balance these objectives was by no means an easy task given the many formidable obstacles the Board faced along the way. In truth, the challenges presented have been the most difficult in decades. The Board labored over every budget line, examined staffing, and sought creative measures to meet the needs of all of their constituents.
Due to the economic conditions that our country has been suffering, cutbacks in state aid, increased unfunded mandates, and a tax cap; I would encourage you to fairly negotiate with the Levittown Board of Education to make concessions to your existing contract for the upcoming school year. Without such concessions, continued loss of programs and staff is inevitable for the Levittown School District.
I read Dr. Murphy’s column about standardized tests with interest. Your library can also aid students in practicing for standardized exams. All of the libraries in our area subscribe to a service called Learning Express Library. You can access this wonderful resource through your library’s website using your library card.
Once you have entered into the Learning Express Library site, you will see a choice of Elementary, Middle School, High School, or College Preparation. Each segment includes math and reading practice as well as fourth grade, eighth grade, PSAT, AP, and SAT practice tests located in the appropriate section.
Several weeks ago, Island Trees High School hosted a Drug Prevention forum with keynote speaker, DEA Agent Charlie Bernard. Mr. Bernard is an outstanding speaker and shares his tremendous knowledge of the drug trade with many communities throughout the Island. In fact, the number of drug arrests that occur in their own neighborhoods surprises many people. Serious drug deals are not isolated to dilapidated slums in the inner city, but take place in almost all suburban towns and villages on Long Island. His presentations have educated many parents and students on what they can do to stay drug-free. He has been involved in hundreds of arrests and unfortunately, has dealt with almost as many tragedies. During the recent forum, he tells a story about a parent who finds out their child is drug involved and how thankful they are to discover “it’s only marijuana.”
As the chairman of the National Worker’s Party, I’m calling upon our public officials - both Democrat and Republican alike - to “jump ship” and join the NWP in creating a political realignment in the 2012 election.
Consider that, on a national level, the Republican and Democratic parties have become apostates: institutions that no longer represent the values they once espoused. The last four presidential administrations - two Republicans and two Democrats - have wandered far from the parties and office that bequeathed us Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. They are globalists and corporatists whose policies have little in common with the fundamental values, philosophies, and interests that all Americans share irrespective of party affiliation. They are as disdainful of the individual rights championed by liberals as they are of the family values emphasized by conservatives. All four have pursued foreign trade policies in India and China’s interests while tens of thousands of Americans have lost their jobs. All four have pursued immigration policies in Mexico’s interests, making poverty and illiteracy and ethnic strife our chief import. All four have pursued Middle East policies in Israel’s interests that have led to thousands of Moslems dead, homeless, and hungry for revenge.
As we move toward springtime, our staff and students begin to prepare for the New York State 3-8 assessments, Advanced Placement examinations, and high school Regents exams. In this new era of high stakes testing, the federal and state governments have enacted legislation to hold schools more accountable for student performance. Around the world, countries recognize that there is a strong correlation between well-educated workforce and economic productivity. More and more, economically disadvantaged nations have used their investment in education to advance technology and facilitate economic growth. Clearly, concerns of failing to keep pace with these countries have raised serious issues with the educational programs in the United States. In response, new laws have been the impetus for educational reform, and in turn, placing a greater emphasis on standardized testing to measure student growth.
Although many may question the use of a single assessment as a measure of student progress, it seems these new standards and performance indicators are here to stay. Not surprisingly, the students are well aware of the importance of these examinations. For a good number of students, they experience the pressure to succeed and place a tremendous amount of stress on themselves.
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