FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JUNE 8, 2017 • THE QUEENS COURIER 27 oped A LOOK BACK June 8 marks Brooklyn-Queens Day, also known to generations of Queens residents as Anniversary Day. For years, the holiday was observed by Sunday school programs across both boroughs with parades. We’re showing you this week a picture from the 2008 Anniversary Day parade along Catalpa Avenue in Ridgewood. The parade, however, was canceled in 2010 due to dwindling participation. Send us your historic photos of Queens by email to email@example.com, or mail printed pictures to A Look Back, Queens Courier and Ridgewood Times, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All mailed pictures will be carefully returned to you. letters & comments CIVIC’S PLAN TO EASE SCHOOL OVERCROWDING Th e drive to reclaim P.S. 130 back for the use by local children continues. Th is school, geographically in District 26, is currently used by mostly District 25 students enrolled in a special program of science and technology. In the meantime, students who live within walking distance of this school are basically shut out and are transported to other overcrowded schools in District 26. Th is September, grades 4 and 5 will be added to the P.S. 130 program. Th e school is currently operating over capacity. Where will they be putting these additional students? In the meantime, a new school, P.S. 376, will be opening on the former Keil property this fall. But the plan is only to start out with kindergarten classes at this huge building. Th e following school year, another grade will be added, and so on, until grades K through 5 are in the building during the 2022-2023 school year. Is this an effi cient way to utilize this building when most elementary schools in District 26 are bursting at the seams? Th e solution that the Auburndale Improvement Association is suggesting is to transfer the current P.S. 130 program to the new school, where there will be adequate room for all of the grades, K-5. Perhaps there will be room for some District 26 students to also attend the excellent program being off ered. Th en return P.S. 130 for use by the local neighborhood children who will be able to walk to their school. Th is will decrease enrollment in overcrowded P.S. 31, 159 and 162, which currently are feeder schools for those children who would normally be attending P.S. 130. Terri Pouymari and Henry Euler, Auburndale Improvement Association A HISTORIC MOMENT FOR FAST FOOD WORKERS Th e recent historic signing of the Fast Food Worker Empowerment Act is the culmination of years of rallies and protests, testimonies and meetings, petitions and emails, all proclaiming that the voice of the people will not be ignored. Our city is standing up for the countless individuals working in the fast-food industry by ensuring they will have more reliable schedules that enable them to take care of their children, continue their education, work other jobs, and plan their lives. No longer will workers suff er mandatory so-called “clopening” shift s which do not allow for enough time to sleep. No longer will employees lose opportunities to temporary staff or new hires. Th e Workmen’s Circle’s progressive Jewish community has been fi ghting for workers’ and immigrants’ rights since our founding more than 100 years ago, and we are particularly proud of the part of this groundbreaking legislation that will allow workers to form their own nonprofits to educate colleagues about their rights and advocate for changes in their communities. Th is legislation is vitally important to the future of our city. Ann Toback, Executive Director, Th e Workmen’s Circle City’s high school grads aren’t always college ready BY COUNCILMAN RORY I. LANCMAN In the weeks to come, thousands of New York City high school seniors will don a cap and gown, and walk across the stage to receive their high school diplomas. It will be a special moment for students, their families and their teachers; for many, it will be the start of the next chapter in their lives. A high school diploma is more than just a piece of paper. It is a symbol of a student’s achievement and hard work in the past, and should be a springboard forward into the future, whether it is in pursuit of higher education or employment in the workforce. Th e unfortunate reality today, however, is that too many New York City public schools are failing to adequately prepare high school students with the skills they need to be successful in the next stage of their lives. Th e de Blasio administration reported in February that nearly two-thirds of all 2016 high school graduates were not “college ready” — meaning that the student would require remedial work upon entering college. What is the value of a high school diploma if more than half of New York City high school students are not ready for college? Not much. A report from Comptroller Scott Stringer last year highlighted New York City’s college readiness problem. According to the fi ndings, college readiness rates declined at nearly 16 percent of all city high schools from 2011-2015. All told, New York City high school graduates are faced with two divergent realities: one where a high school diploma is the ticket to opportunity, and the other where a high school diploma is the equivalent of funny money. In the greatest city in the world, it is a moral outrage that our graduation rate (72 percent) is nearly double our college readiness rate (37 percent). Th ose numbers tell me that our city is failing too many of its young people. Either we are not empowering them with the skills they need, or we are nonsensically pushing them along to a higher level, when they have not yet demonstrated suffi cient understanding of previous subject matter. Neither is acceptable. No matter what spin City Hall tries put on it, the lack of college readiness in New York City is an urgent crisis that will have a lasting eff ect on our city’s economic future. New York City today is in the midst of a daunting aff ordability crisis that makes it diffi cult for people to make ends meet and support their families. Combating this aff ordability crisis in the long term depends on our city having quality education system that empowers every young person with the critical skills required to fi ll good-paying jobs, instead of leaving large swaths of students behind. Not only will closing the closing the college readiness gap lift New Yorkers out of poverty, but it will strengthen our economy with a workforce that is truly second to none. Th e jobs of tomorrow rely on how we educate our young people today. It is the future innovators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who will comprise the foundation of our economy and create jobs for their fellow New Yorkers. Addressing our college readiness crisis will not be easy, but it is a challenge we must face head on. Lancman represents the 24th Council District based in Hillcrest.
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