Two court decisions that appear to restore power to the Nassau County police commissioner to discipline officers, including firing them, are welcome indeed ["Power for next top cop," News column, Dec. 17]. This can be considered a win-win situation for many.
It's a win for taxpayers who have wondered why secrecy is allowed in police disciplinary action. It takes those officers who perform in a professional manner out from under the same shadow as those who disgrace themselves and their badge.
It speaks well for a county executive who accepts the challenge of pursuing this change. Many politicians would rather dance around to retain potential votes.
It's a win for the value of a free press -- annoying though it can often be -- which in a situation like this cannot be underestimated.
And it's a win for a skilled union leader with a clear understanding of contracts and the complexity that goes with them.
Along with the ability to retain outside legal services, this should be more than adequate to protect the rights of police union members.
James Kelly, Levittown
Praise for review of Common Core
I'm pleased that the state Board of Regents will review the implementation of the Common Core and the many other new requirements imposed on schools, students and teachers ["Common Core panel named," News, Dec. 20].
The statewide vitriol marking the public's concern with the Common Core stems from rushed implementation, test-score manipulation, and the overly ambitious amount of change mandated without buy-in or trust from those who actually have to make the changes work in schools. No one can possibly believe that provoking anxiety and chaos in schools -- even if unintentionally -- is an effective management strategy for productive reform.
I want to thank those Regents who voiced concerns about Common Core implementation, including Roger Tilles and Geraldine Chapey, and those state legislators, including Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), who are sponsoring legislation that would press for better implementation of Common Core and teacher evaluation mandates.
If education standards are truly to be raised, we must build trust among educators, parents, students and Education Department leaders. This takes time and open, respectful communication.
Ken Lindblom, Shoreham
Editor's note: The writer is the director of English teacher education at Stony Brook University.