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From The Desk Of Senator Jack Martins

Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00

Where Is The Students’ Lobbyist?

You may recall that I recently called for the resignation of New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King. The initiatives he has undertaken in his brief tenure as Commissioner of the State Education Department, including his roll-out of the Common Core curriculum, testing, teacher evaluations, and gathering of student data, are shaping up to be among the most controversial issues I’ve ever dealt with as a public servant. It’s easy to see why. These changes have created confusion among parents, anxiety for our children, and put life-long educators at odds with the department of education in Albany. This was only exacerbated when he canceled town hall meetings on the issue.   

 

Letter: 10-Minutes More for Common Core

Thursday, 05 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.”  

 

From The Desk Of NY State Senator Jack Martins

Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00

Where Is The Students’ Lobbyist?

You may recall that I recently called for the resignation of New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King. The initiatives he has undertaken in his brief tenure as Commissioner of the State Education Department, including his roll-out of the Common Core curriculum, testing, teacher evaluations, and gathering of student data, are shaping up to be among the most controversial issues I’ve ever dealt with as a public servant. It’s easy to see why. These changes have created confusion among parents, anxiety for our children, and put life-long educators at odds with the department of education in Albany. This was only exacerbated when he canceled town hall meetings on the issue.   

 

Letter: Vincent Pane Responds to Common Core

Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00

After reading an article on Common Core, I agree even more. It really cuts through all the “educanese” the state is throwing at the public and fully exposes the serious flaws with the roll-out of the curriculum. You wonder how much teaching experience the people who wrote the curriculum modules have. Is the state trying to make the state program “teacher proof” by providing a virtual script for the curriculum? The curriculum is not complete and math chairs are being forced to turn to other states for a complete scope and sequence.

 

Maragos Thanks Supporters

Written by Nassau County Comptroller George MARAGOS Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00

I want to thank everyone who voted on Nov. 5 and participated in the most important part of the democratic process. The results clearly show that Nassau County residents want lower taxes, less expensive government and high quality services. These are not incompatible objectives. These objectives can be accomplished by continuing to make government more efficient by finding and eliminating waste, fraud, and unnecessary expenses while growing our economy to provide jobs, opportunities and additional sales tax revenues. The Comptroller’s office will be a strong advocate for smart economic growth and lower taxes.  

 

From The Desk Of NY State Senator Jack Martins

Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

Stupidity Should Have Its Limits 

 

If you’re a person who values common sense, then prepare yourself to be disgusted and angry.  I’m about to tell you about a sensible piece of legislation that’s long overdue, but is being blocked by the New York State Assembly, which is shamelessly pandering to its constituents with your tax money.  In fact, you may be shocked to learn that we even need this legislation at all, let alone that it’s being systematically stymied by some in Albany.     

 

Currently, New York issues something called Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to our welfare recipients.  It works much like a debit card and it allows us to help our needy neighbors in an efficient yet dignified way.  The system conveniently provides a Food Stamp and a Cash Assistance component all on one card.  As it stands, strict regulations dictate what can be purchased with the Food Stamp allotment.  Cash assistance, on the other hand, is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries.  To be clear, there are no restrictions whatsoever on the use of the Cash Assistance component.  None.  It’s doled out like cash.

 

Letter: DeRiggi-Whitton Says Thanks

Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

 

I want to thank all my supporters and the people who voted for me. It has been an honor to serve Nassau residents on the Legislature and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my work. I won by a solid margin that shows two important things: First, people appreciate the work I have been doing as a Nassau County legislator; second, if you have a good track record, you can successfully run a clean campaign without stooping to false statements and negative attacks. As far as redistricting, I will miss the residents of the old 18th legislative district (LD), but I hope they know I am still here to serve all of Nassau and will continue to fight on their behalf. In my new 11th LD, it has been a pleasure getting to know my new constituents and I look forward to working with residents in Roslyn, Roslyn Harbor, Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glen Head, Sands Point and Port Washington. 

 

Delia M. DeRiggi-Whitton


 

Campaign Signs Must Go After The Election

Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

Political candidates always promise cleaner streets. We’d like to suggest they start immediately by cleaning up their own campaign collateral. This year’s hard-fought races put campaigns into overdrive, with partisan posters plastered along the roads and cluttering corners. Will the signs be removed with the same vigor and alacrity as they were installed? Or will they fade and fall over and disintegrate into roadside garbage? 

 

You can bet we at The Roslyn News believe in freedom of speech, protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; after all, we’re journalists. But now the contest is over. Pick up after yourselves — or we’ll be calling you out in our next issue. 

 

Lette: Untangling The Property Tax Mess

Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

 

Thank you so much for trying to untangle the mess that we call the property tax system in Nassau County.  Your explanation (see, “The Election: Not As Simple As The Slogans, The Roslyn News, October 30 - November 5, 2013) was excellent but did not go far enough.  In addition to granting reductions in assessment to a minority of homeowners, which has pushed the tax rate higher for the majority, the county has pushed part of the tax burden from Class 4 (commercial properties) to Class 1 (homeowners) thereby making the majority of homeowners pay a larger share of a larger tax pie!  Let me explain.  Although the county claims that 87 percent of the homeowners who ask for a reduction of their assessments are granted one, the fact is the majority of homeowners do not even ask.  They are the ones left “holding the bag” while the minority (and the tax reduction “specialists” who represent them) receive the windfall of lower tax bills despite higher tax rates.  In addition, the county Industrial Development Authority (IDA) routinely grants exemptions for class 4 properties that result in a lower share of the tax burden being paid by these businesses and thus a larger share being paid by the other classes—primarily homeowners—who are paying almost 80 percent of the school taxes in our school district.  As evidence of this shift, I have reproduced below for your reference a document prepared by the Office of Legislative Budget Review of the county itself.

 

From The Desk Of Superintendent Of East Williston School District

Written by Dr. Elaine Kanas Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Wheatley Recognized By U.S. News & World Report

The Wheatley School was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a high performing school in Science and Math.  Since the specifics of individual school rankings can have so much variability from year to year due to a variety of factors, including number of students, rankings are often best viewed within a more general context of membership in a select group of high performing schools, rather than just looking at a specific rank number. The magazine’s latest ranking (2012-13 school year) designates Wheatley as the number 2 school on Long Island in STEM, an acronym which includes courses in Math, Science, Technology and Engineering, and a top performer in these content areas, in the country. (The William A. Shine Great Neck South High School was ranked number 1 on Long Island.)  While we presently do not have Engineering courses (a goal that has been identified by last year’s strategic planning process), our students do take advanced level courses in Math and Science. The report follows a formula where they take the gold ranked high schools in the country (Wheatley is gold-ranked) and then within that group look at the number of advanced placement tests and student performance levels on exams in the area of STEM to develop their rankings.  

 

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