Boyle-ing Points by Kevin Boyle
Remember when Ronald Reagan turned to Walter Mondale and said, There goes Howie Schwach again?
One thing about Howie, esteemed editor of the oldest weekly newspaper in New York, you can always count on him to knock parochial school education. No point in getting sore at him, though—you can also count on him to contradict himself and conveniently disregard some obvious points.
In last week’s From the Editor’s Desk Howie said "Something is rotten at PS 114, but that has been true for many years. The favoritism and cronyism that went on for years in terms of teacher assignment and student placement is an old story. It was a dark "secret" that was known by all, but never addressed…."
He wraps up his column by noting low test scores at St. Mary Star of the Sea, and how PS 114 has an edge on St. Francis de Sales. "Perhaps parents should start to take a look at scores and the price they are paying for parochial school education, not only in monetary terms, but in educational terms as well."
Uh, Howie, didn’t you just finish saying things are rotten at PS 114? And haven’t they been for years? Let me get this straight, you said, "A small group of teachers, parents and grandparents including a school board member, have run that school for years, riding roughshod over teachers, administrators, district officials and everybody else." But parents should forget that, right? Because PS 114 did well on the standardized tests, parents should send their kids there. And, what if kids don’t get those preferred classes? Do they do as well on those tests as the kids not so lucky to draw the good teachers?
Yes, Howie, perhaps parents should look at the scores. They should really look at the Grand Canyon difference between PS 225 and St. Camillus. (Don’t know if things are rotten at PS 225 but the test scores are).
In fact, St. Camillus blows away PS 114, too. According to the numbers I read in the Daily News, 95% of St. Camillus kids met the state requirements in math. Keep this a secret: the percentage of kids in PS 114 was 66.7 percent. Whoops.
And what happens to kids after they leave PS 114? Do they forget how to read? Seems the cheap education at Junior High 180 is just that. That’s the school where an abysmal 17 percent of the students meet the state reading requirements. The math side is just as ugly: a paltry 16 percent pass math.
If Howie were to take a stab at objectivity he’d come to a simple conclusion: PS 114 is a good school but it’s an anomaly (there’s a reading test word for you) on this peninsula. And beware a trend; among grade schools PS 114 is continuing a slide. Last year it was ranked 26, this year 37. (Let the investigation begin)!
Good ol’ Howie also wrote: "Many parochial schools (including Jewish schools) failed to do as well as their public school neighbors." Uh, Howie, is that the case in Rockaway where we happen to live? PS 225 was ranked 568 (12 % passed math; 24% passed English) and PS 183 came in at 506. I’m thinking those schools might not support your claim.
The simple truth is, the scores of the public schools in Rockaway are horrible, scandalous, and unspeakable (though I’ll speak about ‘em). Saluting the achievements of PS 114 is a bit like asking Mrs. Lincoln, aside from that assassination business, how was the play?
Me? I don’t know which is better. I just know Howie’s arguments are more Swiss cheese than Swiss watch. And from what I can tell, I say forget the public vs. parochial debate: let’s just make sure we turn our kids into Asians.
Where are the Fishheads? It’s been waaaay too long since ScrumDown News graced the pages of this weekly. It was good to see Rugby Bob, looking like he stepped out of a revolutionary war picture, his head wrapped in bandages, last week at a Riis Park match. It was a bit shocking, however, to see him grovel so shamelessly about getting into the Graybeard basketball league---the same league he had maligned countless times in weekly diatribes. He’d malign the league and defame me---and quite frankly, I miss the abuse. I sure wish one of the Johnsons (that’s not a euphemism), Bob or George, would pick up the pen again. With the Sevens Tournament on the horizon some of us are starved for Rugby news. If not the Johnsons, Oakie could fill in or John McCann or somebody.
***How’s this community board? Tear down the A elevated tracks and run new reliable buses along a wide, newly paved road. That would go a long way in beautifying the east end of the peninsula. Left as is, the elevated track will always be an eyesore.
***Anybody see 60 Minutes the other night? There was a segment about this town in Belgium that has welcomed the mentally ill for years. Don’t know why they had to go all the way to Belgium. (Right here you’ve got 116 street, CYO and Little League).
***Some one said those houses across from Beach Channel aren’t so bad, they have chandeliers. Yeah, and the Birdman of Alcatraz had pets.
***The Bishop Kearney basketball team dedicated its season to Kathy and Christopher Lawler who were killed in the crash of Flight 587. The squad not only won the New York State "C" Championship in convincing fashion but Katelyn Lawler was named MVP. That’s just great.
***Now if you morph Steve Stathis and Kevin Dolan who do you get? Tom Ridge, Homeland Security boss.
***And it’s been pointed out to me that Rick Horan might very well be Rick Rockwell (Who wants to Marry a Millionaire).
***If you’d like something to get in the column, just say so. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***If you want to write about PS 114 send it to Howie!
***They tell me you don’t have to be a member of the Graybeards to wear a Graybeard shirt. Buy one---it’ll support a good cause.