Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down for 2015

Mattituck baseball

Here’s what our editorial board liked and didn’t like this year.

thumbs upMattituck baseball wins state title

Sirens blared early in the overnight hours on June 14 as firetrucks headed toward Mattituck High School. There was no cause for alarm, but rather a joyous celebration as the state champion baseball team from Mattituck arrived home from Binghamton.

The escort from the Mattituck Fire Department brought the players back to the high school, where “We Are the Champions” played as they stepped off the bus. Earlier in the day, the Tuckers completed an incredible run for the program’s first state championship with wins in the semifinals over Ogdensburg Free Academy and the finals against Livonia.

The Tuckers have been playing baseball since the 1930s, but never before has a team reached the pinnacle as these players did. They compiled a brilliant 27-1 season en route to the title. For the team’s six seniors, it was a perfect ending.

Congrats to the champs.

thumbs downPlease, give them shelter

In January, Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski submitted a formal request for the installation of six new bus shelters along Main Road in Southold Town. Yet in the 10 months since, no additional progress has been made.

The push for more bus shelters has come from a group of local students who make up Project Bus Stop, which launched more than three years ago. The shelters, they say, would prevent bus riders from enduring the elements while waiting long periods of time for public transportation.

Mr. Krupski has said there are “many different layers” to such a project that cause delays. The county had been seeking a contractor to build the shelters, he said, but the project has been held up at the state level.

It’s embarrassing to see bureaucratic snags hold up a project that would improve the quality of life for people who rely on public transportation. It’s disheartening that it comes at the expense of the effort of a group of passionate, dedicated teens.

thumbs upChanges coming to Common Core

Educators had no time or training to help them or their students prepare for the new, more rigorous standards known as Common Core.

While you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who are against challenging our students to rely less on memorization when it comes to math — or think more critically when it comes to English — the rollout of Common Core has been a disaster.

Nearly five years later, a plan to overhaul the system is in the works. And the decision comes not a moment too soon.

One change allows districts to drop the standards without sacrificing federal funding. In New York, the governor’s task force recommends a moratorium on linking teacher evaluations to student test scores until the 2019-20 school year in order to “avoid the errors caused by the prior flawed implementation.”

With the opt-out movement gaining momentum over the last few years, it’s apparent Common Core is in dire need of an overhaul. Our elected officials need to continue taking an active role in reconstructing the educational system — one that doesn’t include high-stakes testing at its core.

thumbs downStill no plastic bag ban

The people spoke this year about their hopes to ban plastic bags on the North Fork. It’s a shame it seems their elected officials aren’t listening.

Southold Town hasn’t moved forward with a proposal, with Supervisor Scott Russell and others on the Town Board fearing the ban would increase costs for small businesses on the North Fork, leaving competition in Riverhead and elsewhere at an advantage. Mr. Russell in particular said it’s a county Legislature matter.

But some in county government later excused not discussing a plastic bag ban because there wasn’t enough political willpower to push it through. This is the same Legislature that made microbeads illegal, regulated selling energy drinks to minors and talked about banning drone use in county parks.

Whether a ban on plastic bags is ultimately implemented or not, the topic bears discussion at the very least.

Photo: High-flying center fielder Joe Tardif launches himself into the air as the Mattituck Tuckers (27-1) celebrate their first state championship in Binghamton. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)