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   Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives

P.0. Box 301, Garden City NY 11530            

516-741-4360  – Email: longislandpeace@gmail.com  – www.longislandpeace.org

 Peace comes dropping slow . . . W.B. Yeats

June 2013

Dear Friends,

 As we work together for peace – for a world without war – the LI Alliance is strongly committed to engaging and supporting the next generation of peacemakers.

Where are the young people? You can find them at Hofstra in the LI Alliance’s new Peace Fellows Program – on our staff with our new Assistant Director Ariel Flajnik – and on our board with our newest board member, Kayla Rivara. Both Ariel and Kayla have just graduated from Hofstra University.

We ask for your support of the LI Alliance Peace Fellows Program initiated as a pilot project in collaboration with Hofstra’s Center for Civic Engagement. Peace Fellows is a semester-long program on peace and nonviolence and alternatives to war and conflict. At weekly discussion meetings, students examine the US Role in a Changing World and participate in advocacy and deliberative dialogue training on the issues of War and Peace, Nuclear Disarmament, Military Budget and National Priorities and Global Climate Change. The students are selected after an application and interview process.

Thanks to the efforts of Mike D’Innocenzo, the LI Alliance has received a grant from the Goldman Foundation for this program. But we need your help to fully fund the Peace Fellows program for the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters. Because of a generous donor, your contribution will be matched. So please give as much as you can to support the Peace Fellows program at this time.

The work ahead is daunting as we advocate for a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons and for cuts in military spending to fund urgent needs in our communities. The Alliance also believes strongly that as the war in Afghanistan comes to an end, we don’t “just get over it”. Instead, let us learn the lessons and the costs of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan – and let us work harder than ever to prevent new wars.

We are extremely excited about the Peace Fellows Program at Hofstra. We have had very positive feedback from the Peace Fellows in the pilot project this spring and also from other students who participated in discussions on America’s Role in the World and Global Climate Change. The good news is that some of the Peace Fellows will continue as Alliance interns in the fall.

Thank you for your sustained support of the Alliance and our shared and persistent pursuit of peace.

Peace,

Margaret Melkonian                         Andrea Libresco

Executive Director                            President, Board of Directors

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Here’s my contribution for  Engaging A New Generation of Peacemakers. Please make checks payable to LI Alliance,   P.O. Box 301, Garden City NY 11530

                           $ 500     $200     $100     $50       $25      Other     $______  

Name:

Address:                                                                                        

Email:                                                          Phone:

Comments/Suggestions:



--

Margaret Melkonian, Executive Director
Ariel Flajnik, Assistant Director
Andrea Libresco, Board PresidentL.I. Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives
P.O. Box 301, Garden City NY 11530

HS graduation rates dip on Long Island

High-school graduation rates on Long Island dipped slightly in the state's latest counts, even as statewide rates inched upward.

Across Nassau and Suffolk counties, 87 percent of students graduated on time in June 2011, according to data released Monday by the state Education Department. The regional figure was down slightly from the 87.6 percent reported for the Island's graduates in June 2010 

Meanwhile, the statewide graduation rates rose slightly to 74 percent in June 2011, up from 73.4 percent the previous year. Both Long Island and the state saw slight declines in percentages of graduates deemed fully prepared for college.

Regional school officials shrugged off the latest results, saying the one-year declines were too small to be significant. But there was shock in the Hempstead school district, where the graduation rate plunged to 28 percent in 2011, compared with 46 percent in 2010, according to the state.

"That's unacceptable," said Charles Renfroe, Hempstead's school board president, who added that he was surprised by the latest results and would take them up with district administrators at a meeting Monday night that was scheduled before the state released its figures. "Hope it's a misprint."

Some local improvements

Elsewhere, some local districts saw improvements in percentages of graduates awarded Regents Diplomas with Advanced Designations. Those are regarded by state officials as evidence of college readiness because they require advanced coursework -- such as trigonometry.

"It's a very positive trend line," said Bill Heidenreich, superintendent of the Valley Stream Central High School District, which saw gains.

Percentages of students earning advanced diplomas also jumped in Westhampton Beach, one of a growing number of districts that provides an extra period of math every other day for teens needing help with trigonometry. Christopher Herr, the high school principal, said guidance counselors frequently meet with students and parents to explain the advantages of having advanced math credits on transcripts that are submitted to colleges.

"Students are pushing themselves across the board," Herr said.

Generally, however, percentages of students obtaining advanced diplomas declined both regionally and statewide. On the Island, 49.4 percent of students obtained advanced diplomas in 2011, compared with 50.1 percent the previous year. Statewide, the figure dipped to 30.6 percent to 30.9 percent.

In an apparent reference to recent criticism from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the department noted that a new report published by Education Week magazine ranked New York tied at 10th among states in terms of graduation rates. Those rates were calculated by a research agency associated with the weekly publication.

Cuomo, in contrast, has cited federal statistics ranking New York as 39th in graduation rates as evidence that school reform is needed. The two sets of figures are calculated in different ways and are not directly comparable.

"It's a very positive trend line," said Bill Heidenreich, superintendent of the Valley Stream Central High School District, which saw gains.

Percentages of students earning advanced diplomas also jumped in Westhampton Beach, one of a growing number of districts that provides an extra period of math every other day for teens needing help with trigonometry. Christopher Herr, the high school principal, said guidance counselors frequently meet with students and parents to explain the advantages of having advanced math credits on transcripts that are submitted to colleges.

"Students are pushing themselves across the board," Herr said.

Generally, however, percentages of students obtaining advanced diplomas declined both regionally and statewide. On the Island, 49.4 percent of students obtained advanced diplomas in 2011, compared with 50.1 percent the previous year. Statewide, the figure dipped to 30.6 percent to 30.9 percent.

In an apparent reference to recent criticism from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the department noted that a new report published by Education Week magazine ranked New York tied at 10th among states in terms of graduation rates. Those rates were calculated by a research agency associated with the weekly publication.

Cuomo, in contrast, has cited federal statistics ranking New York as 39th in graduation rates as evidence that school reform is needed. The two sets of figures are calculated in different ways and are not directly comparable.

The governor's office had no comment Monday.

Monday's release by the Education Department said that results for the graduating classes of 2011 and 2010 were not exactly comparable either, because the state had been phasing in a new Integrated Algebra exam covering a year's coursework in math, while phasing out a Math "A" exam covering a year-and-a-half. Educators generally consider the Integrated Algebra exam to be easier than the Math "A" exam.

Reasons unclear

Department spokesman Tom Dunn, when asked why the switch to an exam considered easier would be accompanied by a decline in results, said he could not go beyond the explanation provided in the agency's original release.

A growing number of the Island's educators have concluded that the state should report results not only on Regents exams and other state tests, but also on Advanced Placement tests and International Baccalaureate exams that are used increasingly in local high schools.

The AP and IB tests, produced by nonprofit agencies, are of college-level difficulty, and results on those exams are reported in some other states, such as Florida and Illinois.

Lorna Lewis, the East Williston schools chief, called for reporting of AP and IB results in testimony Monday at a State Senate hearing, saying that would be better than producing new tests planned by the state as a way to evaluate teachers.

"It's just universally accepted that, for students taking the AP and IB courses, they're just more college-ready," said Lewis. She is co-chairwoman of a curriculum committee for the State Council of School Superintendents.

 

 

 

 

School segregation on LI twice U.S. average

The rate of school segregation on Long Island is "double the national average" and, in Nassau County, it is triple, according to a new study.

The Long Island Index study, released Thursday, found segregation in the Island's schools largely occurs between school districts, mirroring the region's segregated housing patterns.

Long Island ranks 10th in the nation in residential segregation between blacks and whites, which affects the racial and ethnic makeup of its school districts, the study said. The study also found black-white segregation in the Island's schools was greatest, though Hispanic-white segregation was growing with the increasing Hispanic population.

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"Since school district boundaries mimic housing patterns, it is well known that Long Island's schools are highly segregated," wrote Douglas Ready, an education professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, which did the index study.

He said the study explored the "extent to which racial and ethnic groups are [or are not] equally distributed across schools." It concluded segregation wasn't a big factor between schools in the same district, but that "entire school districts were segregated from each other," at about 90 percent.

Ann Golob, director of the Long Island Index, said in an interview Thursday she found the data "shocking." The Long Island Index publishes reports about various regional issues, such as education.

"We know that things are divided" on Long Island, she said. "When you see the numbers and you realize how much worse we are, how much more extreme we are, it sent shivers down my spine" and pointed to a need for change in how education is provided.

Ready, in an interview, said "big counties" like Miami-Dade in Florida and Fairfax in Virginia have just one school system compared to the Island's 124. "What it means is, where you live in the county doesn't matter [in terms of] what school system you go to. But in Nassau County, if you move half a mile, you can be in two or three different school districts." So when an area is sliced and diced, that's where you will find the most between-district segregation, he said.

On Long Island, he added, "where you live matters more."The executive director of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association declined to comment on the study because members hadn't yet seen it.

Elaine Gross, president of ERASE Racism, a Syosset-based advocacy group, concurring with the index study, added, that the "heart of the problem" was that school districts reflect the Island's residential segregation.

This summer, thousands of these organizing fellows are going to help lead our grassroots organization -- recruiting volunteers and running events to help more people make their voices heard.

It's an amazing experience -- one that could change your life while shaping this country for decades to come.

Apply now to be a summer organizing fellow, or pass this note along to someone you know who might be interested.

If you take a position as a fellow, you'll help more people to step up at the local level, where there are so many opportunities to make so much change. You'll register voters, recruit and train volunteers, run phone banks, have conversations with people on their front porches, and build the relationships that will bring your community together to fight for progress.

There will be difficult days, and long ones, too. But being an organizer is one of the best experiences you can have working in politics.

The people who take on this challenge will not only help move this country forward -- they'll also become the next generation of leaders.

The strength of this organization comes from the people involved. We never could have come this far without folks like you who have a passion for organizing and a commitment to finishing what we started together.

If you're ready to play a critical role in our grassroots campaign, apply now -- or forward this note to someon

e you know who may be interested:
http://my.barackobama.com/Summer-Organizing-Fellow

Thank you,

Michelle

DOROTHY DAY VIDEO

Fr. Jaegerstatter Lesson Plan on Conscientious Objection

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Sumnmer Camp Project for Peace

Organize a campus or church youth peace group here!

"On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence. . . .I say to you, with all the love I have for you, with all the trust I have in young people: do not listen to voices which speak the language of hatred, revenge, retaliation. Do not follow any leaders who train you in the way of inflicting death. . . .Give yourself to the service of life, not the work of death. Violence is the enemy of justice. Only peace can lead the way to true justice." - Pope John Paul II, September 29, 1979

 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis

 

 

 
                                            ~Pope FRANCIS