2013-09-25 / Opinion

PUBLIC COMMENTARY

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US Ed. Needs to Revert Back

US Ed. Needs to Revert Back to Local School District Control By: Henry Teja I am a husband and father of educators. I have 3 college degrees, yet I made my living as a skilled tradesman for many years. My wife & daughters all have advanced degrees in their fields of education, but they worked hard in school and after school to achieve their present level. Their combined educational experience is over 55years. My daughters have seen 4 or 5 major policy changes in the education system in their short time within the NYS education system (about 11-12 years). The federal and state mandates are killing education as we knew it of us who grew up in the 1940’s to the early 1970’s. During those times local school districts and parent teacher association were able to derive educational policies and curriculums that were beneficial to the learn processes and common sense learning about real world issues. Today some politicians and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. and some state capital (Albany, Trenton, Hartford, etc.) thinks they know better than the local powers to be and the residents of that locality. Well they are wrong!!! The US (population of 315M) has spent more per capita per student ($12-16K per year per student) than everyone in the world except Switzerland (a population of just under 8M) yet we rank not even in the top 20 nations for education. Under the Bush & Obama Administrations we have spent nearly 50% more than any previous administrations, in some cases such as Detroit, much more, & have achieved with policies such as 'No Child Left Behind' & now Common Core' only 25% of our high school students with the critical thinking skills needed to succeed in college or the real world, less than 50% qualified for college level materials, less than 36% have any ability for math & sciences on a college level & 53% graduating colleges can not even qualify for an entry level position in most private sector jobs based on interviews and a required self written description of their abilities brought to a sought position. We can not install uniform or cookie style education policies when 50% or better students are not performing at a par level. Throwing money at a problem is not the answer also. Prior to the creation of the Federal Department of Education, by then President Nixon, we have dropped from 1st, or within the top 3 countries, in education to 23. The problem here is a four fold problem: 1) teacher unions determine education policy & curriculum, 2) parents or parent do not work with their child (ren) at home to reinforce through study & homework what was taught in school, 3) students has not taught self responsibility (social promotion policies reinforces "I don't have to do the work") of their actions or lack of action in the learning process, which helps develop critical thinking skills. & 4) Civics & trade school skills need to be taught in every high school because not everyone is college material & basic schooling skills of reading, writing & arithmetic, as well as civics, allows a student to enter into a well paying career & be productive in society, socially, intelligently, & economically for themselves & a family. The family unit is still important to a well educated society, even if there is only a single parent guiding the family correctly. It is time that challenged school districts with low education scores, such as in major urban center or poorer districts, should install charter schools that have greater leeway in school curriculums, school uniforms that eliminate social classifications and have achieved greater results than traditional public schools in the same environments and areas. These style schools eliminate teacher unions and much of the politics in developing education policies and curriculums that hold back former low achievers. It is time public school systems are challenged by competition. The school districts already producing high performance will not be affected but the under achieving schools will either improve or fall by the wayside. However, even with charter schools the family unit is important and still requires a partnership between school, parent and student to achieve the goal of a good education to survive in the real world whether it be in a college required career or a trade career.

Local Governments & Fire

Local Governments & Fire Districts Do Not Utilize Other Local Disaster Support Resources COMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM (CERT) an idea which was developed by the LA Fire Department & Paramedic Corp in 1985 because of the earthquake & volcanic eruption event outside of Mexico City. Prior to 1985 all disaster services were executed for FEMA by Civil Defense (mostly Auxiliary Police Units with some National Guard & military reservists). I was involved with those organizations in the 1970’s to 1980. Strangely enough this idea was adopted by FEMA/DHS after 9/11 & was fine tuned to follow NIMS (National Incident Management System) a national command system known as ICS (Incident Command System) for first responders. The irony of it all is most fire districts, especially in Nassau County, are upset & shun CERT volunteers & the program. Why? They believe we (CERT) will reduce their volunteer enrollments & replace most of what they do except fighting fires. But not everyone can do fire, rescue or medical treatments, but communities still need other volunteers.. What we actually do is assist first responders as a support group providing water & food services, assist in medical triage & care, set up & manage ARC (American Red Cross) & FEMA & Department of Health (federal, state & local) PODs (Point of Distribution Centers & shelters) as we did for Super Storm Sandy. ! Most people don’t know CERT’s ran most disaster shelters & PODs for people & pets & manned OEM phone systems directing first responder services on LI during Super Storm Sandy & looked for no accolades. I am, as well as others, a firm believer that citizens cannot depend on government to save them during a disaster event or other crisis’s. This why we (CERT) teach communities how to mitigate &/or survive on their own during natural disasters, help assist the elderly & disabled neighbors during these same types of disasters. Nassau County CERT has 4-6 six week Basic CERT Training classes each year. In the beginning government said everyone should have 3 days food & water supplies, after some other disasters that were increased to 7-10 days. Now, because of Super Storm Sandy, those safety resources were increased to 2 weeks or more. The basic training is free and you either can become a active CERT volunteer or just learn to create an operate CERT trained individuals for your residential block or community by teaching other what & how to prepare for the next disaster. CERT practices what they are taught every year. As a certified basic CERT’s you can participate in a yearly field exercise with other fellow CERT’s & learn team operations and hone your skills. This year I was the Incident Commander, a first time for me to exercise command skills, for one such Regional Field Exercise (Nassau, Suffolk & NYC) held at North Woodmere Park in Valley Stream! We are now running a campaign to enroll several thousand new CERT volunteers to assist with future disasters or assist their own communities as CERT trained individuals. Please contact your local OEM/CERT office for more information. Nassau County OEM/CERT can be contacted at: www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/OEM/CC/CERT