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Guest Commentary

Defending the necessary news

Is the object you are now holding in your hands (or reading online) about to disappear?

I refer to the newspaper, and I ask because I care deeply about the answer.

My entire career was spent in newspapers — as a reporter, an editor and a publisher — when the industry was still thriving as the dominant force in public information and advertising. Now, looking back from a retirement perch, I see this institution declining day by day and wonder what this foretells.

2014: An anniversary to remember

A hundred years ago come September, the last living passenger pigeon on earth, nicknamed “Martha,” died in the Cincinnati Zoo. That would be heart-rending enough, as is the loss of any species or type, including, in late 2013, the confirmed extinction of the western black rhino.

Prosecutors shouldn’t be hiding crime’s records

Danbury prosecutor Stephen Sedensky and Michelle Cruz, a former prosecutor and State Victim Advocate, have recently been talking up the need to protect Newtown survivors from sights or sounds that bring back the events of that horrifying day.

Thoughts on Common Core curriculum

Providing a quality education for our children has always been a top priority of mine. With this comes a strong personal belief that the strength of our education system cannot be measured by test results alone. The future of job creation and economic growth here in the Hudson Valley lies in the innovative ideas and creativity of our next generation. The next medical advancement or technology boom is not going to emerge from standardized testing or standardized teaching. In fact, history has shown that our greatest innovations come from those who refuse to think in standardized terms.

They can’t or they don’t

Teaching a class of 25 eighth-graders, it is not easy to focus on individual students. The course material moves at a fast pace, each student is assigned a number and their weekly averages for English are calculated and posted on a bulletin board. My job, as it was described to me at this school in Lebanon, is to give the best quality instruction I can, within the time frame, with the assigned course material, on the appropriate day. Each week is scheduled based on an outline of the material that should be covered. If concepts are missed I re-teach them. If students fail, I assign a make-up.

An open letter to my Region One rep

Dear Andrea,

Congratulations on your election to the Region One Board of Education. I’m happy to leave that troubled organization in your capable hands and I know you’ll be a strong voice for Falls Village and the region. There’s so much work to do! I offer this To Do (and Not to Do) List as a starting point.

u u u

$10 goes a long way in math class with innovative program

At the beginning of this school year, the Algebra A class at Webutuck High School embarked on a new type of math project. The project was called, “Small Change for a Big Change.” The project tied into the new Common Core Learning Standards. It began when the Webutuck PTA and the Vidal family (daughter, Michelle, is in the class) agreed to donate a total of $280 for the project. The Salisbury Bank in Millerton then searched a few days for the most crisp $10 dollar bills. Each of the 28 students in the class received one of those $10 bills on Sept. 24.

Fourteen boys need to have the chance to become men

It was an absolutely beautiful Saturday morning. I was bagging up leaves when my awesome and pregnant wife ran out to give me a Gatorade. It was about 55 degrees, the wind was blowing, and right when the first sip of that lemon-lime Gatorade hit my lips my wife said, “Is there anything else better than this?” I instantly said, “Yes!”

Standards scream, ‘Become better readers with two simple letters: I.R.’

With the New York State Common Core in full swing at Eugene Brooks Intermediate School in the seventh- and eighth-grade English and math classes, it is imperative to evaluate simple skills.

A path to compassion: embracing the Golden Rule

Compassion is one of the natural resources that our world is running out of. Acts of kindness seem rare. Words that begin with the root “com,” which means “together,” seem quaint and outdated: community, compromise, communion, communal. Even “commerce,” which carries a definition of “social relations, exchange of views, intellectual or spiritual interchange,” is no longer heard this way.