03/17/14 6:00am
03/17/2014 6:00 AM

This week marked the third anniversary of the start of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Long Island anti-nuclear activists are still taking a deep breath and expressing thanks a similar catastrophe didn’t happen here. “Fukushima shows how we dodged a bullet,” said Jane Alcorn of Wading River, former coordinator of Citizens Lobby Opposing Shoreham.

grossman_karl150

It’s hard to believe the harebrained scheme now, but the Shoreham nuclear plant was to be the first of seven to 11 nuclear power plants the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) wanted to construct. LILCO sought three nuclear plants at its Shoreham site — “Shoreham 1” was fully built when stopped — four at Jamesport and several plants in between, some on Long Island Sound. LILCO also considered building a nuclear plant in Bridgehampton.

The East End of Long Island would have had a nuclear complex similar to that in Fukushima. Daiichi is the Japanese word for “one,” thus Fukushima Daiichi involves one set of six nuclear plants. Four miles south is Fukushima Daini with four nuclear plants.

(more…)

03/08/14 8:15am
03/08/2014 8:15 AM

Eric Lopez sang at last spring’s graduation ceremony at Shoreham-Wading River. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

WADING RIVER, SHOREHAM

I wonder if everyone who has been thinking spring has affected the outcome of this latest snowstorm, which was downgraded from one foot of snow to one to two inches. The weather these days has been so unpredictable.  (more…)

02/04/2014 9:27 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Steven Cohen.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Steven Cohen.

UPDATE

The Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education unanimously approved the new contract for superintendent Steven Cohen.

ORIGINAL STORY

Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen is expected to be appointed to a new three-year term at tonight’s Board of Education meeting.  (more…)

12/10/13 12:00pm

The Shoreham-Wading River Central School District is releasing its students from class 90 minutes earlier today due to inclement weather, Superintendent Steven Cohen said Tuesday.

Both Shoreham-Wading River Central School District and Riverhead Central School District have cancelled all after-school activities today due to the dangerous conditions.

The Riverhead School Board is still scheduled to meet tonight at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

11/27/13 9:00am
11/27/2013 9:00 AM
RACHEL YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen.

RACHEL YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen.

The New York State Board of Regents insists the state’s public school students are not “College and Career Ready.” They claim that public school students are not prepared for the rigors of college reading or mathematics. And, since these skills are thought somehow to be crucial to getting a good-paying job, New York’s public school students who do poorly in mathematics and reading are believed to be in danger of becoming unemployable (or at least underemployed).

However, what seems like a simple, straightforward notion — that high school graduates ought to be ready for college and the world of work — turns out to be something quite different. And by that, I mean the announced public school goal of graduating students “College and Career Ready” is yet another sleight of hand from the Board of Regents.

First, consider exactly how the Board of Regents defines “College and Career Ready.”

If a student passes an algebra test in 8th or 9th grade at a level that correlates to a C in freshman mathematics in college, and if that same student passes an English test in 11th grade at a level correlated with a C in freshman English in college, along with earning 22 credits in high school and passing three other Regents exams, then she or he is set and ready to go to college and into the world of work.

No music, art, advanced study in much of anything; no community service, no sports, no occupational training; no independent work in any academic or other creative field is required. In addition, to do well on these tests, it is not necessary to read entire novels or histories or write papers of any length or complexity. It is not necessary to develop a love of anything or demonstrate an ability to think on one’s own feet.

Second, note that 16 of the 17 Board of Regents members, in addition to the commissioner of education himself, send their children to private schools — ones that have not embraced the reforms the Board of Regents and the commissioner claim are needed to make students “College and Career Ready.” I mention this fact because its relevance becomes obvious once one understands what “College and Career Ready” means for the children of our educational leaders. You see, the colleges that the children of Regents and commissioners of education are expected to attend, places like Harvard University, define “College and Career Ready” differently.

To be “College Ready” at Harvard (and at other selective private universities to which Regents send their children) an 18-year old must have a “good high school education,” one that “do[es] more than prepare you for the next level of  education.” A “good” high school education “should prepare you to take advantage of future learning opportunities of all kinds.” Specifically, graduating high school “college ready” to enter Harvard requires “close and extensive reading of the classics of world literature,” four years of a single foreign language, three years of American history, European history and one other advanced history course, four years of mathematics including at least pre-calculus or statistics, advanced physics, chemistry and biology and one other science at an advanced level and “frequent practice in the writing of expository prose.” Art and music, though not mentioned specifically, are not to be understood as incidental to proper preparation for college.

So it turns out that “College and Career Ready” means two different things depending on whether you are a public school student in New York or a student at an expensive private school. “College and Career Ready” for public school kids means achieving at a decidedly mediocre level when compared to the expectations the Regents have for their own children. Perhaps that’s one reason they would never send them to schools that are benefiting from their wonderful reforms.

For “College and Career Ready,” once one digs a bit below the surface, suggests readying public school students for work that does not demand advanced learning in anything and is not oriented toward preparing students to “take advantage of future learning opportunities of all kinds.” No, these loftier expectations, and the courses and other resources needed to achieve them, are to be reserved for students not subject to the glories of the Regents Reform Agenda, students whose parents have the money and connections to keep them out of the public school system.

Most new jobs created in our economy are low-paying service jobs. We should be concerned that “College and Career Ready” actually refers to a curriculum that guides public school students to these jobs, leaving the few good jobs to students who receive a private high school education that prepares them to “take advantage of future learning opportunities of all kinds.”

Make no mistake about it, “College and Career Ready” is code for education apartheid. Do not let your children breathe the stale air of low expectations, reduced exposure to the arts and music, limited engagement with sophisticated science and little, if any, prolonged, deep and thoughtful contact with great literature.

“College and Career Ready” is a trap. Don’t fall for it. Your kids deserve better. Just like theirs.

Steven R. Cohen, Ph.D., is superintendent of schools for Shoreham-Wading River School District.

09/24/2013 12:02 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River High School.

The Shoreham-Wading River school board will vote on a resolution calling on state and federal officials to end the over-reliance on standardized testing at tonight’s Board of Education meeting. The board is also expected to vote on a resolution asking state and federal officials to re-examine New York state’s accountability systems.

Recently, both the Riverhead and Southold school boards took similar action.

The Shoreham school board is also expected to discuss a security improvement proposal at tonight’s meeting. In January, the district hired two security guards after a SWR parent raised concerns at an open forum on district security, Superintendent Steven Cohen said at the time. A head security guard was also chosen this winter to review the district’s security policies and improve them.

Tonight’s board meeting takes place at 8 p.m. in the high school library.

ryoung@timesreview.com

SWR School Board Agenda 09/24/13

09/24/13 10:50am
COURTESY PHOTO | Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić speaks on Monday at Wardenclyffe.

COURTESY PHOTO | Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić speaks on Monday at Wardenclyffe.

After purchasing the site of Nikola Tesla’s final laboratory in May following a viral online fundraiser, a Shoreham nonprofit welcomed the President of Serbia to unveil a statue dedicated to the Serbian scientist on Monday.

President Tomislav Nikolić – in the country as the United Nations General Assembly met on Monday – offered the statue as a gift from his country. The bronze sculpture which stands on a granite base, crafted by Serbian artist Nikola Jankovic, faces Route 25A at the lab’s site in Shoreham, known as Wardenclyffe, depicting Tesla looking down at his hands.

Jane Alcorn, president of the nonprofit which owns the land, said on Tuesday that the event was “astounding,” drawing close to 300 people including local – and with Nikolic on site, international – politicians alike. Music was played during the ceremony by members of Shoreham-Wading River High School, a Serbian violinist, as well.

“They are very proud of their most famous son,” Alcorn said.

Leading up to the May purchase of Wardenclyffe, web comic Matt Inman, who was also present at Monday’s ceremony, spearheaded a campaign to help the nonprofit raise the funds necessary to purchase the 15.6-acre site. Nearly $1.4 million was raised, and in May, Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe bought the land for $850,000, nearly half of the original asking price.

Alcorn said today that moving forward, the nonprofit is working on rehabbing the buildings and long-term, they hope to partner with Stony Brook University to offer science courses on site. The organization has said in the past that in order to achieve its long-term goals, as much as $10 million could need to be raised.

jpinciaro@timesreview.com

Watch a video of Monday’s event, courtesy of RememberTesla.com, below

Video streaming by Ustream

08/20/13 12:00pm
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO  |  Jack Costas (Center) discusses the new requirements to have proposition construction worked approved by the state at Tuesday night's meeting.

PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River school board is expected to discuss a proposed reorganization plan Tuesday night.

The Shoreham-Wading River school board is expected to continue its discussion tonight of  a plan to reorganize the district’s elementary schools.

The proposal would divide students, with all kindergarteners going to Briarcliff school, grades 1-3 attending school at Miller Avenue and grades 4 and 5 moving to the Wading River school. The proposal is known as the “Princeton Plan.”

In addition, the school board is expected to replace William Bushman, assistant superintendent for human resources, with current assistant superintendent Lou Curra on an interim basis.

Last Tuesday, the Smithtown school board appointed Mr. Bushman as the district’s new assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services.

Scroll down to view the complete agenda. Check back later for an update.

Shoreham-Wading River school board meeting agenda, Aug. 20, 2013