Time to fix broken state testing system
We are once again in the thick of state testing stress and anxiety, as problems still persist with the state English Language Arts exams for children in grades three through eight.
But this anxiety starts much earlier. Every year, I have students come into my third-grade classroom not excited about seeing friends and their new room, but asking if this is the year they will have to take the tests. There’s something wrong with that picture.
Providing our students with a quality education is every educator’s goal. But these state tests do not further that mission.
Instead, I’ve had students this year sit for three-and-a-half hours taking these tests; roughly the same length as the average time for taking the SATs. Some have broken down in tears because they are so frustrated. Others have fallen asleep because these tests take so long.
For some of my students who finished more quickly than their peers, there still are issues. These young children had to sit there for two hours waiting for others to finish because the state won’t let them do anything other than silently read a book.
This system is beyond broken.
It’s up to the state Education Department to fix it now so my students next fall can focus on loving learning, not worrying about next year’s exams.
The writer is the president of the Schoharie Teachers Association.
Gazette should add Wall Street Journal
I don’t think there is any doubt that The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times are papers with a very liberal viewpoint, and The Gazette uses their news services.
As Vince Alescio’s March 23 suggested, I too would welcome a more conservative newspaper such as The Wall Street Journal.
Could The Gazette add The Wall Street Journal news service?
Pediatric homes need to boost staff levels
Some pediatric nursing homes that have severely disabled babies and young children do not have enough staff to take the babies or young children outside to get fresh air, give them bed baths or showers, or even to get them dressed and put them in their wheelchairs.
These babies and young children usually do not live too long. These parents could be Republicans or Democrats. They just put them there, never to visit them again.
To me, this is worse than an abortion.
Schools relying too much on technology
Our schools are utilizing technology too much, and it’s making our parenting job extremely difficult.
Every child now has a Chromebook that they keep with them at all times.
Most every assignment requires an internet connection to either read a reference to submit homework or even for test taking.
The problem with this is that when regulating internet usage at home, we have no way of knowing if a child on a computer is actually doing work or simply goofing off.
Chromebooks are wireless. With multiple children in the house, it’s impossible to monitor each one all the time to ensure they are using technology in a responsible way.
With everything being done online, there’s nothing for us to review; no paper tests to see a grade, no homework assignments with marks in the margin that we can review.
It makes it very difficult to see how our kids are doing before it’s too late.
Excessive internet usage makes for anti-social behavior, and our children are becoming addicted to technology at a very young age.
This isn’t good.
I encourage school districts to stop putting everything online.
Let kids read actual books and write essays with their hand. Can kids even do that anymore?
Green New Deal not a real energy solution
The “Green New Deal” to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power with “green energy” is irrational and impossible.
Natural gas, coal, oil and nuclear power plants generate 82.8 percent of the 4.178 (3.459) billion MWh used yearly. Wind accounts for only 6.3 percent of our electricity and solar 1.9 percent.
How many more wind turbines and acres of land would it take to replace 3.459 billion MWh of electricity?
A 2 MW turbine has a capacity of generating 17,520 MWh of electricity yearly, but typically generates only 30 percent of capacity or 5256 MWh. Dividing 3.459 billion MWh by 5256 MWh equals 658,100 more wind turbines.
However, since energy isn’t used at a constant rate, electricity must be generated at peak power demand, typically 175 percent of average demand, thus requiring 1,151,675 turbines nationwide.
Regarding the acres needed for 1,151,675 turbines, a typical 2 MW turbine (height 399 feet, blades 143 feet) requires 100 acres of space.
Thus, you would need 115,167,500 acres, or a 179,949 square-mile wind farm the size of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
That assumes no buildings or trees, just wall-to-wall turbines. And if the wind doesn’t blow at least 10 mph, or the blades ice up, there is no electricity.
Wind turbines can never replace the 3.459 billion MWh of electricity generated by nuclear, natural gas, coal and oil plants, nor can wind or solar farms replace the fossil fuels needed to heat millions of residential, commercial and industrial structures, and power our transportation systems.
“Going green” only works if your “bright idea” is to destroy our economy and capitalism.
Robert E. Dufresne