When Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks about education, he cites harsh statistics criticizing the state's graduation rate. Sadly, the governor's selective use of statistics hides more truth than they reveal.
The January 12, 2012 Education Week's "Quality Counts" report ranked New York schools third in the nation after studying education policy efforts, student outcomes, standards, assessments, and accountability. New York met or exceeded the national average for each of the six measurable education indicators.
The "Quality Counts" results are not atypical. A CNBC report recently ranked New York "tops" in the nation based substantially on the state's educated workforce and our education system. And the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search just announced that of the 300 semi-finalists in this year's high school competition, once again more than 100 of them are from New York.
The 2012 eighth annual AP Report to the Nation ranks New York second in the number of graduates taking at least one Advance Placement exam and the number scoring 3 or higher on their AP tests.
New York is a big state and no isolated statistic can accurately depict the strengths or the challenges in this state's very varied schools. When we talk about public schools, let's all try to provide the most accurate accounting.
Holiday help appreciated
Many families and senior citizens in the Westfield area were able to enjoy this holiday season due to the generosity of local people, organizations, and businesses.
Members of the Westfield Union Relief Association requested donations from the community and were amazed at the kindness shown by people this year. Union Relief's mission is "to afford aid and relief to those in need in the community."
Area families in need and seniors were provided with clothing, toys, life's necessities, and food contributed by various individuals and groups.
We were able to serve over 70 families and numerous senior citizens this holiday season due to the big heartedness of the following people, organizations and businesses: Carriage House in Fredonia, Welch's, Cliffstar, Innerlakes Federal Credit Union, Jamestown Area Community Federal Credit Union, Girl Scouts of Westfield, YWCA in Westfield, Kiwanis, Westfield-Mayville Rotary, Westfield First Presbyterian Church, St. Peter's Episcopal Church of Westfield, St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church of Westfield, First United Methodist Church of Westfield, Westfield Teachers, Lakeview Correctional Facility.
Senior Citizens Group, Appleseed Christian Preschool, Sherman School, Dollar General, Brocton Girl Scout Troop, Westfield YWCA Board, Westfield School Dietary Dept., Fairpoint Communication, Key Bank, HSBC Bank, Westfield Family Physicians, Westfield Hospital Employees, Family Dollar, Friday Lunch Ladies, Larry's Cantina, American Legion, North East Foods-Better Baked, WACSO, Saraf's, Loyal Order of Moose 118, Sons of American Legion, Women of the Moose, Village Veterinary Clinic, Monday Night Club.
Rural Ministries, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Salvation Army, Donna Franklin, Beverly Gilmore, Jennifer Harp, Carol Soudan, Karen Williams, Marcia Wethli, Lisa Albanesius, Beth Cluchey, Avery Jones, Cecelia Filikowski, Lori Horn, Janet Greene and Friends, Ann Fago, Kathy Probst, Mary and Albert Sam, LeAnn Childs, Mary Ellen Ross, Jennifer and Blair Koss, Pete and Carol Best, Peg Ransom, Les and Marilyn Fenton, Evelyn Quagliano, Jane Southerland, and Norm and Mary Shopland.
Union Relief could not continue to help families in need without the charitable support of so many people. When the families receive their gifts they know that they are the beneficiaries of the generosity of a caring community. Thank you.
Train station is on right track
I heard that there is a chance that there will once again be a train station in Dunkirk. I hope that this is true. It is a fantastic idea. One long overdue.
Growing up in a post Urban Renewal Dunkirk littered with parking lots and a nearly empty downtown it's still hard to imagine the Dunkirk that used to be; the Dunkirk where my mother grew up in. Over the last 40 years there has never been an open station. If you want to take Amtrak you have to go to either Buffalo or Erie.
There is something magical about taking a trip by train and I feel it will be a big boost for Dunkirk and hopefully for the economy.
There are many Fredonia State students who come from the eastern end of the state - many from New York City. Not to mention residents without cars or anyone who doesn't feel like driving, but want to travel.
If Dunkirk is serious about moving forward, moving into the 21st century then having a train station is a good step in that direction. We are in between Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. We don't need to be so isolated, do we?
To the new mayor and councilmen and women I urge you do all you can to see this through. Don't keep Walter Smith rolling in his grave any longer.