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Cheers and jeers

September 1, 2012
The Leader Herald
JEERS — To another designation. Here we go again. State Education Commissioner John King has identified districts and schools in our area that need improvement. We fear most people have become immune to these lists. Schools that are struggling are now labeled “Focus Districts.” Formerly, they were called“Schools in Need of Improvement.” The new list is the first produced under a new federal policy that allows states to be exempt from some provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. A school on the list must develop comprehensive plans to support improvement efforts. We imagine schools already have plans for improving education year in and year out. Hocus pocus, abracadabra. Call it what you want; the problem remains we haven’t found the right potion yet when it comes to making education about teaching and not about where the building ranks. CHEERS — To continual growth. Ribbon cuttings are popular ceremonies. They’re good for public relations. The blue ribbon cut this week by Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger and Board of Trustees President James Landrio to officially open the new Union Stations dining area on the campus deserves a cheer. It was one more positive step at our local college. At the same time, doors are opening at the new student housing, Raider Hall, which will become home to 144 students this weekend. We share the pride as our college continues to gain respect. A part of FMCC’s goal is to provide students with an environment that nurtures success and enthusiasm. These latest projects represent a job well done by all involved. JEERS — To an apology. He basically cut a check for more than $100,000 to resolve a sexual harassment case, and when this action was discovered and reported, he apologized. The person we’re talking about is New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who stated, “I take full responsibility in not insisting that all cases go to the ethics committee.” The settlement was for a sexual harassment allegation against Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has called for Lopez’s resignation regarding separate allegations, is calling for an investigation by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which was created last year as the first outside watchdog with jurisdiction over the Legislature. In the meantime, the powerful leader of the Assembly is sorry.


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