01 May, 2012

The Ends Don't Justify the Means..

The graduation rate of New York students has been lower than desired for several years now. The latest plan from the Board of Regents may solve the problem on paper.. but it will do more harm than good.

Years ago, New York high school students had 2 options or tracks to choose from when planning out their education, a local curriculum, or the state wide Regents. The Regents diploma was more in depth, and therefore, it signified a more thorough education.

Later, the Regents option became the only choice. This requires a set of state wide standardized exams. This isn't a bad idea.. make NY graduates smarter.. better qualified students makes them better suited for the workforce.

The problem is, not all students are up to the higher standards the Regents exams set.

What is the BoR's idea to fix the falling grades? Lower the standards. When I was in high school, a passing grade was 70% during the year, and 65% on the Regents. learn almost 2/3 of the material.. that was good enough. Now 65 is for over achievers. 55% is now the passing grade. A proposal to let students borrow points from 1 test they did well on and apply them to another they did less well on.

Another thing holding back graduates is the Global Studies exam. It is the most failed of the Regents exams. How do you solve that? Don't make them take it.. The proposal is to let students take an extra math or science exam, or some vocational training.

Lowering the standards is not the answer. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. If they don't teach it, how can we learn it?

30 April, 2012

Thank You Curt Styres

Curt Styres has taken a lot of heat from fans since buying the Rochester Knighthawks in 2008 over player moves.

I am not as versed in player history as some of the more hardcore fans, but I have been on board with most of them. The move that stands out as one I don't know that I agree with is the release of long time local boy Chris Schiller, only a few weeks after he was immortalized in bobblehead form.

Many people point to the record year that John Grant had this season as his trade to Colorado as the worst move, but with Pat O'toole's age about to match his jersey (39), a trade for the defending goaltender of the year Matt Vinc was the right move at the time.

A couple of draft day trades sent more fan favorites away for draft picks left many fans scratching their heads. It looked like if you weren't from the Res, you were expendable. Johnny Powless' 50 points as a rookie helped to quell upset of Shawn Evans trade.

This isn't to say he had total disregard for the fans. On the contrary, he has done a lot to try to keep fans happy. These ideas didn't always hit the mark (i.e. Newman bobbleheads?? really? I hope that 92.5 WBEE paid the lions share of the cost..), but an announcement on the team's Facebook page yesterday was another example of Curt nailing it. It isn't quite the same thing he did May 1st 2008, (when he chartered 5 buses and sent around 200 fans to a playoff game in the World's Most Famous Arena, MSG), but it is on that track. The team announced that all season ticket holders would be getting their regular seats free for Friday's home playoff game. Any non STH can get tickets for $10.

This weekend, I am going to feel a bit dirty rooting for the Bandits so we can watch a 2nd home playoff game next weekend.

Thanks again Curt!

29 April, 2012

Clean Sweep

This weekend, the city of Rochester hosted the first weekend of a recurring event to clean up the city. They call it Clean Sweep. They get a bunch of people together, give them matching tee-shirts and send them out to clean up the streets of Rochester.

It is billed as a way to show pride in the city. 

On the contrary, the fact that they have to do it each year, and that they don't have to have a Clean Sweep Fairport, or a Clean Sweep Chili leads me to believe that it does the opposite. If people had pride in the city, they wouldn't need to bring a bunch of do-gooders from the suburbs to pick up trash in the ghettos. 

By hosting this event every year, by spending city tax dollars on matching tee-shirts and coffee and doughnuts, they are adding another level of welfare to the city. If you don't have to work, and you get free money.. free health care.. free cell phones etc.. now you don't even have to clean up your neighborhoods. Just wait until the spring, there will be plenty of people from other neighborhoods and the suburbs clad in matching shirts picking up your trash.
Wow.. its been almost 2yrs since my last post.. I know that I have said this before.. but i am going to try to be better at updating this.. I think that I may branch out and not have as many political posts.. there is enough out there.. 

I think that I am going to start with a movie review. I recently saw a movie that many of you may not have heard of.. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I had passes to an advance screening of this movie. To be honest, it is probably the only way I would have seen it. I am really glad that I did go. It has a strong cast, sharp, witty writing. 

In a nutshell, a group of retirees from England move to a hotel in India that is billed as a luxury retirement community. When they get there, they find it to be less than that. They then learn to cope with the changes in their lives.. one is a recent widow.. one is newly retired.. 

Do yourself a favor, check it out.