State did disservice canceling Regents
I have been a teacher of history for 26 years. My department, students and I have been preparing for months for the new U.S. History Regents exam. Much of it is volunteer, before and after school and in the evenings. It is shameful that the exam is now canceled.
Triggering content? Really? Any question that is today deemed triggering, had to be bad months ago. Allowing an exam to have questions that potentially could be harmful is disconcerting. Waiting until now to announce it is disgraceful.
This “new” exam has been in the works for over three years. There was ample time to review each of the 31 items. The United States has endured endless acts of racism and violence over the last 246 years. We discuss and teach them.
There were exams after Eric Garner’s murder in 2014 and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. There were exams in January 2002, after the terror attack on 9/11.
The implication that a single, violent event can render a particular item as inappropriate, or triggering is simply nonsense. Any question that awful (or triggering) can be no worse than the hard history we teach.
The Tulsa massacre, Stonewall riots, Wounded Knee Massacre, the murder of George Floyd, slavery, it’s all hard. Life is full of trauma; we would be helping students by arming them with strategies to survive and conquer these hurdles.
Simply removing them is just delaying the inevitable and frankly a disservice. Shame on NYSED!
Christopher J Ognibene
Conservative writer called out Stefanik
Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his May 23 column in The Gazette (“GOP’s great replacement theory is a grand delusion”) about the GOP’s great replacement theory that “What Carlson and Stefanik are saying is irresponsible as well as wrong.”
According to Alex deGrasse, he must be a groveling hack, a leftist or a sycophantic stenographer in the media. Wrong, Alex. Mr. Ponnuru is the editor of National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, both of which are bastions of conservatism.
Your girl Elise has been called out by one of her own. I love it!
What role do violent video games play?
Another mass killing shocks us and fills us with sorrow. Innocent lives filled with potential, gone in an instant, leaving a trail of tears that for so many will never, ever end.
While our hearts ache, our heads spin with questions and search for reasons.
Almost as a reflex, we jump to the “need for stronger gun control,” as well it should.
One wonders how, in the light of an ever increasing string of mass shootings, stricter gun laws get blocked over and over again with so little forward progress.
We can look at other factors — the breakdown of family, decreased value placed on church community as a part of forming a moral conscience, the decreased staffing available to help troubled teens, to name just a few contributors to a very complex problem.
But what stands out in my mind is the proliferation of video games in which killing is sport and death is graphically rewarded as the score goes higher and higher.
Is everyone who plays violent video games going to become a murderer? No, that is preposterous.
But we need to ask ourselves if the popularity of, and addiction to, the games sets up a culture where deviant behavior is normalized, a point where simulated killing might cross over to real life.
Where is the legislation that will bring an end to the creation and production of violent video games?
Conflict put McGraw’s daughter in spotlight
Over the last few weeks, this newspaper has paid a lot of attention to the case of the former Niskayuna politician’s daughter suing Twitter over what she feels is inappropriate behavior by someone who is posting information about her on that social media site.
I must admit that my initial reaction was that the Twitter user @Niskyfails was out of line by involving the daughter of former Niskayuna Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw.
I generally feel that while politicians are fair game for public criticism, their uninvolved family members should be kept out of it. There does need to be boundaries in these kinds of things.
But then I read all these articles more closely, and it would appear to me that the information this Twitter user is publicizing is true, and it involves influence Councilwoman McGraw used to inappropriately benefit her daughter in a job with the town of Niskayuna. I think that this does put the council member’s daughter “in bounds.”
Many may feel that the anonymous way @Niskyfails is posting this information might be wrong, but I do think that they have a right to say it if it’s true. I hope that the judge finds in favor of Twitter and does not force Twitter to provide any information on the @Niskyfails user.
Rules for commenting:
The Gazette will not tolerate name-calling; profanity, threats; accusations of racism, mental illness or intoxication; spreading of false or misleading information; libel or other inappropriate language in any form, and readers may not make any such comments about or directly to specific individuals.
Readers who violate the policy will be warned and then banned.