2006-10-13 / Columnists


There is a disquieting phenomenon in our schools that needs to be addressed. The reading scores recently released by the Department of Education once again show an amazing amount of student slippage in the ability to read between the ages of 10 and 13. Educators once blamed that slippage on the fact that kids were moving from the friendly venue of a single-teacher elementary school into the often rough and tumble multi-teacher world of middle school. Programs were devised to ameliorate that move from small to big, but they finally gave up and moved back to the K-8 schools, which substantially deletes middle school for most students in Rockaway. Judging by the recent scores, however, that movement does not seem to be any more successful in doing away with the slippage that the one that preceded it. Take, for example, PS 43 in Edgemere. More than 70 percent of the students in the fifth grade in that school read on grade level. The same kids, however, moving up a grade show that only 37.1 are reading on grade level. Is the sixth grade so much harder? Is the test bad? Have the kids simply given up? We don't have the answer, but this is certainly an area that has to be addressed.

Hey, we would love the city to pay us to put out the garbage regularly, to recycle according to the law, to take our kids to the doctor, to make sure they go to school, to not beat them on a regular basis and to make sure they do their homework. Those are the kinds of things that Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to pay the "underprivileged" for doing. He thinks that paying them for a while to do the right thing will lead them to do the right thing without getting paid. He is wrong. Paying people for doing the right thing just leads to those people demanding money for doing other right things and then, to dropping the proper behavior when the money dries up. This social engineering concept was tried in education years ago and it was found that it had no long-term benefits.

The Graybeards, a Belle Harbor-based not-for-profit charity organization, is compiling a list of names and addresses for local men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan - with the goal of getting care packages in the mail as soon as possible. They can be reached at (877) GRAYBEARDS or by email at SStathis@Graybeards .com

The ice hockey rink at the new sports complex in Floyd Bennett Field was opened last Friday with great fanfare. Congressman Anthony Weiner, long a proponent of the complex, which was built by Aviator Sports and Recreation, hosted the event, which was attended by Olympic Bronze Medal figure skater Timothy Goebel and other luminaries from the sports and political world. Aviator's 170,000 square foot facility across the Marine Parkway Bridge has a large field house with hardwood basketball courts, to regulation NHL-sized ice hockey rinks, a large gymnastics facility, a dance-training center, a fitness center and two outdoor fields for football and soccer. This facility, it is hoped, may one day rival Chelsea Piers as the city's premier sports complex.

Those tasty treats that were served at the opening of the new Addabbo Family Health Center at 6200 Beach Channel Drive last Sunday were from Marcia's Sweets, the home-based dessert business run by Arverne resident Marcia Loyd. Loyd told The Wave she was very proud that her desserts - everything from carrot cake to rum brownies - were served on each floor of the new healthcare facility and were enjoyed by more than 200 guests.

The fact that the Department of Transportation (DOT) painted lots of zebra stripes on Shore Front Parkway without putting up any signs that designate what those stripes mean for residents has led to lots of tickets, and perhaps that's just what the city agency was looking for. Those who park on the lines, even though parking was allowed there in the past, get $115 tickets. One man who brought in his three tickets said that he got them when the bumper of his car was over the stripes, but not the wheels. Those tickets, he said, cost him only $45 each. The corner of Beach 84 Street and Shore Front parkway, nearby St. Rose of Lima Church, seems to have become an NYPD hunting ground, the man says.

The obituary for Bernadette Owens, which appeared in the September 29 issue of The Wave, incorrectly stated that her mother, Doris Foreman, predeceased her. The erroneous information was provided by Jeremiah C. Gaffney's Funeral Home. The Wave regrets the error.

Governor Pataki has stepped out of character to approve a bill that would substantially impede a project to bring more electrical capacity to New York City. The new law restricts the use of eminent domain to build high-voltage transmission lines, particularly the 190-mile long line that would run from Utica in upper New York State, through the Hudson Valley and into Long Island and the city. Pataki has always been in favor of using eminent domain for power lines and other public projects. The proposed project could save Con Ed and LIPA customers tens of thousands of dollars over the next several years if the line is built. There are those, particularly in city government, who say that the bill is politically motivated, designed to harm downstate Democrats in the coming election.

The Parks Department will host a "It's My Bark Day," tomorrow, Saturday October 14, at Beach 103 Street and Shore Front Parkway. The day will feature doggie costume contests, pet treat giveaways, a dog obstacle course on the beach and pet adoptions. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Department of Education announced that it will soon give a standard citywide test in order to insure a wide range of students get into the public school gifted programs like Region Five's Scholar's Academy. "Gifted programs throughout the city have long been criticized for favoring middle class children," one school official said. "this test should insure a wide range of students in the programs." This is a distinct change from the past when each individual district had the right to set up its own gifted and talented programs.

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