CHEERS to Dannemora Federal Credit Union for waiving the fee normally imposed on non-members for use of its change-sorting machine in order to help Plattsburgh State students who were raising funds to help Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The students collected more than $500 in coins during a residence-hall drive, and the Credit Union offered some relief of its own by saving the students from having to count and roll all those pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Students are continuing their fundraising with other events throughout the month. Many Plattsburgh State students hail from the storm-struck areas, and it is good to see their efforts to help people in their home communities. It is easy to characterize college-age people as focused only on themselves, but that would be unfair. Many students from area colleges give their time to community service, in this area and at home. We applaud their efforts and that of Dannemora Federal Credit Union for facilitating the fundraising.
JEERS to teachers who gave homework over the Thanksgiving break. It is understandable that teachers would be tempted to do that, what with all the pressure to meet state and federal standards. And now there is this year’s added scrutiny that educators face from the new performance evaluations that are being instituted. It is certainly enough to make even veteran teachers feel like they can’t skip a day of homework, for fear of a lapse in progress that might come back to haunt the school — or the individual teacher. But teachers have always been advocates for the kids, and it’s an important role, just as necessary as helping the class achieve. It was always the teachers who protested against being forced to teach to the test instead of promoting the lesson creativity that gives each child a chance to excel. It was the teachers who tracked down special services for children who needed it. It was the teachers who spent their own money on extra supplies so their classrooms could be lively and stimulating. So we need those same caring teachers to put their foot down to pressure to pack on the homework. A number of parents have told us their children feel overwhelmed by all the tests and homework that they have to deal with. Let’s allow the holidays to be a time to rest, to relax, to enjoy time with family. That way, the students can return to school feeling recharged and ready to absorb some more knowledge.
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