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Marty Brooks responds to readers Inquiry

>Dear Ms. Edwards:

Thanks for this note. I’d like to make a few comments about the link you attached. The math wars, like the whole language wars of the past decade, are based on a false dichotomy: traditional education v. progressive education. Good instruction focuses on the needs of the child – every child, one by one – and no one approach meets the needs of all children.

The math issue is interesting in that the battle seems to be pitched around algorithmic fluency v. conceptual understanding. They are not mutually exclusive. Both are essential for mathematical literacy. Students who learn algorithms procedurally without conceptual understanding aren’t truly fluent because although they are able to answer questions correctly on tests (when the questions are posed in the precise format the students are used to seeing), they often have difficulty knowing whether to (and how to) apply that algorithm to new and different situations. Teaching for conceptual understanding helps children develop efficient strategies for computing. Understanding the concept that underlies the algorithm helps students know how and when to apply it, helping them to become more proficient in solving new, differently presented problems and/or more complex problems.

Programs don’t teach children, teachers do. Good teachers vary their instruction – and their materials – based on student response.

Respectfully,

Marty Brooks

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Ridgewood News Purposeful Misrepresentations ?

>Submitted to The Ridgewood News

To the editor:

While it is fair to say that most editors save their opinion for the
editorial pages, clearly some do not. Your article on a recently
filed civil rights lawsuit to stem the purposeful discrimination that
was proliferated against our then 12-year old daughter lacked
credibility. It provided far too many errors, of omission and
commission, which, despite efforts to suppress them, nonetheless rose
to the surface as misrepresented facts collided uncomfortably with
uninformed opinion.

This begs the question: how many times is the editor of the Ridgewood
News allowed to bend the truth without having her credibility broken?
One, five, nine? In the above mentioned article, no less than seven
errors emanated from the first few paragraphs of a hate-filled rant
against our efforts to protect rights to which all are entitled.

Some of these falsehoods even prompted one letter writer to shrill
shamelessly that we should “move” out of town, a town to which I first
moved in 1969. Since when is defending a civil right the source of
such pointed venom? Or are the “rules” just different in Ridgewood?

What concerns me, however, is that the nature and subjectivity of
these errors appear designed to be purposefully mean-spirited. One is
left to wonder at the editor’s true purpose in making them. Take for
instance the following (for clarification, I use italics for what was
stated in the original article):

“…Caitlin Alvaro had asked to play on her brother’s fifth and sixth
grade recreation-league team..”

Our daughter never asked to be on her brother’s team. She asked to be
included in the draft of boys for her grade’s recreation basketball
league, to be drafted for any team like any other player. Though she
completed the evaluation, she was later denied participation and was
removed from the draft by the Biddy organization. After the New
Jersey Division of Civil Rights became involved, Biddy eventually
assigned her to the team on which our son also played, though they
continued to deny her permission to play.

“Despite what her father said was a skillful performance in her
evaluation…”

Caitlin’s father never said such a thing. It was merely noted in the
complaint that she had successfully sunk all five of the required
baskets during that particular evaluation. It is solely the editor’s
opinion that this constituted a “skillful performance.”

“…two sides reached a settlement requiring Ridgewood Biddy
Basketball…”

There was not a settlement, monetary or otherwise, but an agreement by
Biddy to obey the law. This took place between the NJDCR and the
Ridgewood Biddy Inc. The Alvaro’s were neither present nor asked to
participate in this conference. The Ridgewood School district, a
party to the complaint, did not attend, thereby maintaining an active complaint
against them with the NJDCR. Biddy honored this agreement and so is not
a party named in this lawsuit. They allowed Caitlin to play in the
boy’s league the next two years. Her team reached the championship
game the first year, and she was honored by her teammates with the
selection to play on the all-star team this year. Teammates and other
players were always exemplary in their manner towards her.

“…Alvaro is seeking unspecified monetary compensation…pain and
suffering, while watching those games from the bench.”

Having a player sit on the bench is not against the law, nor is it a
reason for seeking compensation. That the editor would make such a
statement is totally ludicrous and misleading.

“…a history of adversarial relations with the school district.”

This characterization by the editor is selectively pejorative. It is
possible to disagree and not be adversarial; only the ignorant to presume
otherwise. District and Village officials have always and continue to
extend the utmost courtesy to our family. We return this treatment
likewise.

“…taking legal action against the board for sponsoring what they
felt was an invasive survey.”

Though later “clarified” by the editor, the purpose of this knowingly
false statement was reprehensible. Seven parents filed complaints
against the school board for the survey and three filed a federal lawsuit. Were
they also “adversarial?” My contribution was to work tirelessly toward
getting a law passed in New Jersey to prevent such an encroachment on
parental rights. The far superior and more appropriate “norms” survey
recently given in the High School was a welcome result of such
efforts.

“…include resistance to renovations at Orchard Elementary School.”

Also knowingly untrue. Our disagreement was not with renovations,
which we welcomed, but with the building of a new addition on top of
the basketball courts which parents had recently provided for our
children with money from their own pockets. What the editor did not
reveal to her readers was that I sat in her office and she looked over
our 200 signatures from parents who signed a petition asking to change
the addition’s location. She knew this was a majority position– two hundred
signatures from a population of fewer than 350 students. Her efforts to
mislead and characterize this as “adversarial” by means of singular
intent are shockingly dishonest.

So, how many times may an editor bend the truth before her
credibility is broken? Only her publisher knows.

Frances Edwards
Ridgewood

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

>


ABOUT SAINT PATRICKSaint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a “most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God.”

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been – the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the “Holy Wells” that still bear this name.

There are several accounts of Saint Patrick’s death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the “evil eye.” Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city

Why Saint Patrick’s Day?
Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.

So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.

In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick’s Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, “wearing of the green,” music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green! ( http://www.st-patricks-day.com/about_saintpatrick.asp )

photo’s by ArtChick Photo’s shot at Irish Eyes on Ridgewood Ave

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The Town Garage, 120 Franklin Avenue; the eye of the storm . . .

>
The current hot discussion topic among those who monitor Village Hall happenings is how an out of town firm was able purchase the Town Garage property from right out under the noses of Village Council members. Village ownership of the subject property (see posted photo) is seen as key to the successful construction of a municipal parking garage.

Reportedly, Village officials had offered previous owner Richard Agnello more than the $1.265 million sale price. However, it is being reported that Mr. Agnello refused to sell until the Village found a suitable location nearby for him to relocate his motor vehicle repair facility.

So the fly would like to know: 1) How was the Wells partnership able to buy the property for less than what Village officials had offered Mr. Agnello? 2) Will Mr. Agnello be closing up shop, or has the Wells partnership found a location for him to move his operation to? And, 3) What prompted the Wells partnership to purchase a piece of property destined for involvement in eminent domain proceedings?

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More Vox populi :Ridgewood is starting to look like NYC in the 1970’s

Ridgewood is starting to look like NYC in the 1970’s. Out of control spending, rogue employees and elected officials, failing education system and lack of maintenance in the town.

NYC cut police officers and firefighters also in a effort to cut spending. The results of that remains in the minds of those who had to travel to NYC to work during those frightening years. Crime rose 60% in just 2 years. Burned buildings were everywhere. Even today the city still hasn’t recovered from the population loss from those years. It took a good 15 years and federal help for the city to control its spending. They realized the problem lied in poor spending habits, non-working employees and outside political influences.

Im not saying Ridgewood is going be as bad as NYC was, but it could very well be a smaller version of it. Do the residents a favor, instead of cutting essential services such as Police, Fire, EMS, Sanitation and other quality of life services, look at things that we either don’t need or need to cut back on. Example: Rear yard garbage pickup. We also need to stop several projects that we CANT afford. Example: Parking Garage, Bank Ban. I would much rather have a second firehouse instead, i like my house not charred.

If you look at how the finical collapse of NYC started, you will see a smaller but similar problem that Ridgewood has today. But lets not make the same mistakes they made when stabilizing the budget.

GigaGolf, Inc.

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Wreck-O-vation or Renovation?

Ridgewood _Train_station_theridgewoodblog


NJ Transit has announced their intention to make Ridgewood’s train station
fully compliant with provisions of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) by
installing high level, wheelchair accessible platforms. Ramps and/or
elevators will be constructed to facilitate platform access from street
level. The platforms will be approximately 700 feet long, and equipped with
canopies to provide shelter in inclement weather. The canopies will also
house lighting, closed circuit television cameras, and loudspeaker paging
equipment.

At the suggestion of Village Council members, NJ Transit has proposed
constructing the platforms and canopies at a location that would shift train
embarkation and disembarkation to a point beginning at, or beyond, Franklin
Avenue and heading magnetic north. That is, the southernmost end of the
platforms would be located at Franklin Avenue (or north of Franklin Avenue);
their northernmost end would be approximately 700 feet further up the
tracks. Constructing the platforms and canopies at this location would
ensure that the vista between North Broad Street and the Garber/Wilsey
Square areas would not be blocked by the high level platforms and canopies.
In conjunction with completion of the ADA related renovation project, NJ
Transit will shift disembarkation for homeward bound commuters to the train
doors facing Pease Library (instead of those facing North Broad Street).
Commuters will exit onto a high level platform, and then make their way to
staircases or elevators, then through pedestrian underpasses to North Broad
Street. Staircase and underpass access will also be provided to the
existing commuter lot opposite Garber Square.

Is protecting the vista between North Broad Street and Garber/Wilsey Square
important enough that commuters won’t mind such a significant shift in the
point at which they will be getting on and off their trains? Also, will
there be evening delays associated with a trainload of commuters trying to
access a limited number of staircases from the high level platform to
pedestrian underpasses? What do you think?

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Breaking News North Jersey Media Outed on the Ridgewood Blog

>the Ridgewood Blog has learned from a poster that someone using the North Jersey Media (ISP) has been posting comments on the Ridgewood Blog …..hummmm

Anonymous has left a new comment on your postReaders Comment on the Ridgewood News Editorial“: There is one or two anonymous posters on this blog who work for the North Jersey Media Group…I find that very interesting…

Anonymous has left a new comment on your postReaders Comment on the Ridgewood News Editorial“: Reverse DNS LookupResults204.91.248.42 resolves to”mail4.northjersey.com”Top Level Domain: “northjersey.com”Johnny, one thing you should know: nothing on the net is confidential…

Its seems that more then “anti goverment grumblers” read the Ridgewood Blog

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The RRC Blog rides to my rescue

>http://www.ridgewoodrepublicanclub.org/weblog/index.php

The Ridgewood News, a smaller, less important rag of the leftist North Jersey Media Group, declared war on the Ridgewood Blog (www.theRidgewoodBlog.blogspot.com) today. Dismissing the proprietor of that website and it’s posters as a bunch of anti government grumblers, the Ridgewood News promoted its own version of a blog. The promotion of their own blog underlines the real reason for the attack. The Ridgewood News is losing circulation to the bloggers and ad dollars are very dependent on circulation numbers. And another problem that is worrisome to the Ridgewood News is the fact that the Ridgewood Blog scooped them on a number of issues. The blog uses the input of the entire community instead of a small set of reporters looking for a story (and usually missing the elephant in the room). Having those types of resources is priceless and the paper knows it.The Ridgewood News editorial writer delighted in the fact that the Ridgewood Blog was banned from the computers of village hall. They pointed out that this did not surprise them as the blog used “anonymous” postings from people. Sadly, the paper missed the point again. Anonymous or not, a lot of people are upset with the way the village is being handled. Dismissing the posters as a bunch of anonymous crack pots misses the real story. Oh and by the way, the editorial in the Ridgewood News was unsigned.So the battle is joined. On the one hand is old media, with an ever shrinking stream of revenue and readers on one side, and new media emerging and engaging the public in a way that the news papers could never do. The real issue here is control of information. The Ridgewood News is no longer the only game in town. And if it keeps this attitude up, it won’t be in town much longer.