Governor setting up schools to fail
Imagine your company was offering a “management” position which requires a master’s degree. If you accept this “management” position, 50 percent of your evaluation will be based on how well your employees perform. However, there are some important details that you need to be aware of:
1) There is no hiring process — employees are assigned to you.
2) You do not have the authority to fire an employee.
3) Your employees have been through the same training, but they do not possess the same skills.
4) Your employees will be with you for less than a year but all employees are expected to be “proficient.”
5) Finally, a test will be given to your employees, and your evaluation will be determined based on how well they perform. If you get two bad evaluations, you will be fired.
Does this sound like a “fair” business model to you? Not really, but what if I told you that this is what “The Cuomo Agenda” is proposing for our school districts and our children.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “setting up” educators and children to fail. This is not fair to the school districts, educators, or the children that they service. This business model evaluation process doesn’t belong in our education system.
As an educator, I have a suggestion for Gov. Cuomo to help improve the education system. Interesting enough, I have never been asked to give my opinion, but I am in the “trenches.” Instead of spending money on testing, let’s use the money to create after-school and summer programs that require students to attend if they are struggling in their classes. The educators can tell you who they are, after all, that is what we have been trained to do.
Also, we need funding to create enrichment programs to challenge the minds of all the students who are willing to accept the challenge.
Gov. Cuomo’s cuts to education, in the recent years, have forced my school district to reduce “summer school” to a two week program that only last three hours a day. Can that program truly help a struggling reader? No.
As for enrichment programs, there is very little money to help challenge our brightest students. Shame on us! My message is simple — fund our schools properly without linking it to testing.
The writer is a Science Teacher at Lynch Literacy Academy.
Obama’s foreign policy setting U.S. back on international stage
Should we care that President Obama is dismantling United States foreign policies, which have stood the test of time and been the product of both democratic and republican presidents?
Leading from behind has meant not leading at all. Mr. Obama’s decisions have resulted in power vacuums in Europe and the Middle East.
For example, recently I read with dismay that the United States is considering letting the U.N. Security Council pass a resolution setting a deadline for the creation of a Palestinian State. Such a resolution would do away with any need for the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel. Thus, U.S. policy since 1948 requiring such negotiations would be turned on its head.
In Eastern Europe we have abandoned commitments made in 1994 to support the territorial integrity of the Ukraine (including denying a request by the Ukrainians for defensive weapons to aid in preventing the recent Russian invasion), and we have given up the defensive missile shield we had agreed to place in Poland. In return Russia has moved into the Crimea and Ukraine, territories which gained independence from Russia when the Cold War ended.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Obama set deadlines for troop withdrawals without regard for the consequences. We knew candidate Obama promised to end both wars. What we did not appreciate was that he meant to do this at any cost. The gains made by our soldiers have been frittered away, while new havens for terrorists like ISIS have been allowed to develop.
Frequently, the American public has been described as “war weary.” Could this be the result of the president’s unwillingness to rally the American public to the cause? As a presidential candidate, he labeled the fight in Afghanistan the “good war.” We thought that while he did not agree with going to war he would see it through to an end which justified the sacrifice America made in blood and money. Once elected, however, he has been hell bent to withdraw, simultaneously announcing the date of our withdrawal while temporarily committing more soldiers to the fight. He gave the enemy a perfect incentive to bide their time and continue the fight. This they have done.
In Libya, Syria and Yemen we have evidence of the chaos produced as he leads from behind. The world sees that when he warns dictators of actions the United States will take if they fail to follow his dictates (think red lines in Syria) they need not worry since regardless of the use of WMD, for example, poison gas in Syria, the president remains passive.
President Obama is not alone in inheriting foreign policies with which he disagrees. Eisenhower in Korea comes to mind when as a candidate, he promised to bring the troops home and did so. But at least he negotiated an armistice, committed US soldiers to insure the independence of South Korea (a presence which continues today), and did not unilaterally withdraw. But Mr. Obama, unlike President Eisenhower, denies any responsibility for world affairs choosing instead to blame George W. Bush who has been out of office six years.
The current talks with Iran dramatically highlight Mr. Obama’s attempt to dismantle United States policy. Iran’s leaders have: vowed death to America and Israel; supported terrorists throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in the world; said that U.N. inspectors will not be given unhindered access to their nuclear sites; and have refused any conditions limiting the weaponizing of their nuclear assets. The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], the United Nations agency charged with inspecting nuclear sites, has made clear that Iran has and will deny them the access they need to fulfill their mission.
Given these conditions, why is the president willing to reach an agreement with the Iranians? This move is calculated to reduce American influence and add yet another reversal to well-founded United States foreign policy.
As president, Mr. Obama does not appreciate the importance our allies — and enemies — place on the United States maintaining a consistent, predictable foreign policy. Without predictability, our allies do not know when or if they can rely on our support. For our enemies an equivocal foreign policy tempts them to test our will, as in the cases of Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, and perhaps now, Israel. When we do not live up to our commitments and promises, our weakness encourages our enemies’ aggression.
Richard A. Evans
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Categories: Letters to the Editor