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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.

 

Letter: 10 Minutes Too Much

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.”  

 

Open Letter To Congressman Steve Israel

Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00

Since you were one of the original and prime sponsors of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, hereinafter referred to as “OBAMACARE,” I wrote to you this past August concerning your response to NSUH at Glen Cove announcing its scheduled January, 2014 closure as an in-patient hospital facility As you are fully aware “OBAMACARE”  per se was reported by the press at that time to be the major contributing factor that precluded Glen Cove’s NSUH from continuing to afford the same high levels of medical care they have provided in the past. No response from your office. No surprise! I accepted your silence then and now as evidence of your unwillingness to have addressed this issue publicly, to wit, you had no defense then and you have none now.

 

Letter: Keep Pressure On The Common Core

Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00

I congratulate parents and teachers on their protests on Common Core curriculum and testing. I wonder if the authors of Common Core have any idea of the cognitive readiness of the children for the content at each grade level. The commissioner is throwing at the audience “educanese” policies which are meant to intimidate. To the credit of the audience he is not succeeding. In my 49 years of teaching I have I never witnessed such widespread disapproval of an education program; and confusion. But we have never had such radical change thrust on us.

My reading on the state town hall meetings is they are designed as a “safety valve” — let the public “blow off steam” but ultimately not change a thing. Dr. King as much said this when he told the audience he was listening but would not make any substantive changes.

 

Public Schools: Liars Figure‘Raise The Age’ Outrage

Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00

John Owens’ column “Public School Data: Numbers Beyond Belief” deserves a great big “attaboy” for going to the heart of the problem. Being a math teacher, I would say to the kids, that in statistics, “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” And  when the city presented data that “garbage in results in garbage out,” they are trying to quantify the unquantifiable. In my career I’ve seen some of this, but the use by NYC is mind-blowing.

What fraud. But the New York State Education Department seems to be promoting this in many ways, including coming up with a number to rate teachers. What an insult to teachers to think that the efforts to motivate kids, the creativity, the dedication, the ability to put on a “dynamic show” five times a day, five days a week can be reduced to a number.

 

Letter: Inform The Voters

Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

I voted on Nov. 5, but not for any judges. That’s because I felt I had no relevant facts upon which to base my votes.

We voters would not all be voters who have little idea whom we’re voting for if the Anton election supplement, or the League of Women Voters, or the ads and mailings of incumbent judges running for re-election would simply provide us with facts about their record as judges. With legislators, their voting records are public knowledge; but not so with judges. These men and women, who have to be addressed as “Your Honor” and have to be stood up for whenever they enter the courtroom, seem to have their own records sealed and secret.  

 

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