January 28, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: Jan. 28, 2013


---- — CHEERS to those parents and teachers who try so hard to make Regents time as relaxing and successful as possible for nervous or underachieving takers of the sometimes dreaded exams. Regents time just ended, and many of the high-school students in New York have been dealing with the stresses and indelible marks on their records that accompany taking the statewide tests. For generations, New York high-schoolers have been exposed to this pressure, which curiously settles only on them. Students in other states don’t take Regents exams. In fact, New Yorkers who go to college in other states are sometimes left to wonder why they even had to take the tests as other states don’t reward or punish students for Regents results. This is not to say there is no purpose served by this batch of standardized exams. It undoubtedly fulfills some kind of educational rating system to know how this student on Long Island fared vis a vis that student in Buffalo. The tests surely guarantee that key information isn’t neglected from the curriculum. Teachers are far more opposed to the national standardized tests that have been put in place for grades high school and below that have redefined coursework and how it’s taught on a daily basis. But, back to the Regents: While students unquestionably feel anxieties about their exams, we know many compassionate teachers and encouraging parents were there to help with the academic preparations and with the emotional approach to this important phase of education. For some students, this is more critical than for others — some just don’t do as well on tests as their capabilities would indicate. So, for all of those teachers and parents, thanks for your concern. Let’s hope all of the kids performed to the very top of their potential.

JEERS to the troublemakers who have been stealing the American flag from Trinity Park in Plattsburgh. The problem was brought to our attention by

a local veteran, Lee Wagner of Rouses Point, who was wondering recently why the flag at the park hadn’t been lowered after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. The governor had ordered flags at half-staff after that tragedy, as he does periodically for the death of a New York soldier or police officer or other occasions calling for solemnity. Wagner started asking around and found out that the flag there isn’t lowered anymore because it has been stolen so many times that it was becoming costly to replace. Wagner, who served in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1974, thought that was a sad situation. So do we.

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