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Speak Out

The place to speak your mind on everything from politics to potholes.

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Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
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anahita2 May 07, 2014 at 10:01 AM
Hi, I agree absolutely with everything you have said! Maybe you need to become a politician inRead Moreeduca tion and influence the curriculum that way. With respect to Science, there are several opportunities at SHS and I encourage you to contact Dr Fontan the school Liaison. She is working hard with the science teachers to make real changes! It's actually a really exciting time for SHS, maybe not well publicized on your monitors! There are many ways to get involved through research projects. As a mentor at your school and an Environmental Scientist, I also believe, the ES course ought to be provided earlier starting in Freshman year. I would be happy to talk to you about my job and skills and to explore project ideas. How can we facilitate this?
Maroon and Gold Mom May 07, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Dear Summit concerned student: Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your Summit education. As a Read Moreparent of students in the Summit School system, it’s interesting to hear other young people’s views of their situation. By the way, Summit’s Language Arts/ English teachers should be commended---you wrote a very well organized, thoughtful, and persuasive essay! Great work. You have expressed age- and situation-appropriate perspectives---but may I say that your complaints are rich people’s problems. If we all spent time in schools that educate students from predominantly lower socioeconomic households, perhaps we’d gain a bit more perspective about what the other 99% of the U.S. population is experiencing. I’m hopeful that as you gain more life experience, you will likely change your views about several of the arguments you make in your letter, particularly the importance of a liberal arts education. I’m happy to learn from you (and through my own children’s experiences) that the students of Summit High School are being taught to THINK and ANALYZE problems, or as you put it beautifully... “But what we do graduate with is: A very thorough understanding of the Holocaust, how to solve math problems that aren’t applicable to the real world, the absolute basics of physics and a thorough understanding of texts from ‘the cannon’. What you describe above are skills that are applicable across many careers and life stages. Your opinions as a teenager will change as you enter new life stages, but right now you are being fundamentally trained to THINK! If a student’s goal is to learn a vocation or to be trained in a profession, perhaps they should eschew the AP and honors courses at SHS and enroll in the local vocational program (which is woefully overlooked in terms of resources and community support). If it’s too late to change one’s high school track, perhaps one may want to consider withdrawing their college applications from those expensive ivy league schools and instead apply to a good engineering program at a public university. As for the college search and application process, if nothing else, I hope Summit students realize that they are very fortunate because their education has provided them with MANY alternatives. There are many great schools with much to offer. Perhaps students feel pressure because they are limiting themselves to a short list of schools with marquis value. Broaden your search and the pressure should ease. Talk to successful people you know and more often than not they went to a mid-tier college or university. Yes, your parents had a different college search and application experience than you because we weren’t all trying to get into a small group of eight (prestigious) schools. My advice to Summit High School students is: take a deep breath and be grateful for all the opportunities you have! Best of luck to you! Maroon and Gold Mom
Maroon and Gold Mom May 07, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Dear Summit concerned student: Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your Summit education. As aRead Morep arent of students in the Summit School system, it’s interesting to hear other young people’s views of their situation. By the way, Summit’s Language Arts/ English teachers should be commended---you wrote a very well organized, thoughtful, and persuasive essay! Great work. You have expressed age- and situation-appropriate perspectives---but may I say that your complaints are rich people’s problems. If we all spent time in schools that educate students from predominantly lower socioeconomic households, perhaps we’d gain a bit more perspective about what the other 99% of the U.S. population is experiencing. I’m hopeful that as you gain more life experience, you will likely change your views about several of the arguments you make in your letter, particularly the importance of a liberal arts education. I’m happy to learn from you (and through my own children’s experiences) that the students of Summit High School are being taught to THINK and ANALYZE problems, or as you put it beautifully... “But what we do graduate with is: A very thorough understanding of the Holocaust, how to solve math problems that aren’t applicable to the real world, the absolute basics of physics and a thorough understanding of texts from ‘the cannon’. What you describe above are skills that are applicable across many careers and life stages. Your opinions as a teenager will change as you enter new life stages, but right now you are being fundamentally trained to THINK! If a student’s goal is to learn a vocation or to be trained in a profession, perhaps they should eschew the AP and honors courses at SHS and enroll in the local vocational program (which is woefully overlooked in terms of resources and community support). If it’s too late to change one’s high school track, perhaps one may want to consider withdrawing their college applications from those expensive ivy league schools and instead apply to a good engineering program at a public university. As for the college search and application process, if nothing else, I hope Summit students realize that they are very fortunate because their education has provided them with MANY alternatives. There are many great schools with much to offer. Perhaps students feel pressure because they are limiting themselves to a short list of schools with marquee value. Broaden your search and the pressure should ease. Talk to successful people you know and more often than not they went to a mid-tier college or university. Yes, your parents had a different college search and application experience than you because we weren’t all trying to get into a small group of eight (prestigious) schools. My advice to Summit High School students is: take a deep breath and be grateful for all the opportunities you have! Best of luck to you! Maroon and Gold Mom
Robert Steelman June 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM
Henry, you are certainly not alone in promoting fear. Sure we can fear that Summit is in danger ofRead Morel osing its charming residential neighborhoods to redevelopment. I’m more fearful that the community may lose its ability to think clearly about replacing obsolete property uses and buildings. What are the facts or at least where is the critical thinking that is needed to intelligently replace what is worn out and has fallen into disrepair? Our preservationists are doing the public no good when they become absurdist and alarmist. Summit is a built out community with very few redevelopment opportunities. Summit will never be Edison, Jersey City or Hoboken. It is physically impossible. Residential neighborhoods are not under siege. The residential areas that border commercial, institutional or multifamily zones will have new uses and they will likely be somewhat larger due to real world economic reasons. There is no slippery slope or tipping point that one more redevelopment project will break the community. The greatest danger brought on by fear mongering is we divert time and money away from thinking up really good redevelopment plans and supporting the private development interests we need to make investment in renewing parts of this community that need it. I’m for preserving common sense.
henry bassman June 13, 2014 at 08:55 PM
Mr. Steelman, I respect your right to expressing your opinion but you are using some tactics toRead Moreboth distort my comments and to mislead people on others. First, calling me a fear monger is insulting and inaccurate. Here are some of the ways your reasoning is unsound. You imply that the old, tudor Oratory School building is obsolete and in disrepair because it is old. Using your logic regarding "obsolete property" one would consider the White House, the Woolworth Building and the Smithsonian Institution candidates for demolition. If an older building is in disrepair, then it is because the owners neglected it. To ask that an older and neglected building be demolished so a newer and larger one can replace it is like the proverbial murderer of his father and mother throwing himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. If a building is allowed to deteriorate through lack of maintenance then the owners should be punished, not the neighbors. You maintain that "Summit will never be Edison, Jersey City or Hoboken." a future that I never envisioned. My example for a future of an overbuilt community would be Tarrytown, once a beautiful, small city that has been overbuilt and lost its charm. You conclude that "fear mongering" will only "divert time and money away from thinking up really good redevelopment plans and supporting the private development interests. " In this case, I doubt that the proposed Oratory School expansion is a "really good redevelopment plan" and I don't have any concern for "private development interests." In my experience, it is the private developers that come into a town, exploit its popularity, make a buck and move on to the next victim. I hope that is never allowed to happen in Summit.
Robert Steelman June 14, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Henry, Tactics? There’s nothing like reframing the argument in your terms so it works outRead Morebett er for your opinion. Please don’t feel insulted. I'm not sure you've properly linked my statements. However, you may want to consider an apology to businesses you named in the context of “exploitation”. You are a smart man; don’t you hear the fallacy bell go off when someone claims to understand the motives of people they don’t know? The last time I looked, anyone that owns property and operates in a market-based economy that produces jobs and pays for government services through property taxes deserves praise and protection of their rights. As for Tarrytown, let’s not insult them either, they have unique challenges that Summit won’t ever face. The Oratory application like all others deserves a fair and factual hearing free of exaggeration.
Melanie Wilson April 30, 2014 at 04:19 PM
The first meeting is free. Please rsvp to Wilson at msw1230@comcast.net. Check outRead Morewww.believeinsp iregrow.com for more info on the organization.
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