On March 7th, I submitted to Newsday the following letter to the editor in response to the really wonderful writeup about our wrestling team and their coach, Paul Schmidt, that appeared on March 2nd. Since I have not yet heard from Newsday, I can only assume that the editors have chosen not to print the letter. I am, therefore, posting it here:
To The Editor,
The Nassau Community College wrestling team deserved the wonderful writeup you gave them on March 2nd; and coach Paul Schmidt got it right when he credited NCC’s “true academic foundation” as an important factor in his program’s success. In two other recent examples of student success built on that foundation, the NCC Speech and Debate Team was named the top community college team in the Northeast for the 12th year in a row, and thirteen of our students received the 2013 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.
These accomplishments belong, of course, first and foremost, to the students who achieved them. The “academic foundation” on which those achievements are built, however, would not exist if NCC’s full-time faculty, in all the areas of the college where we work, did not embody this institution’s commitment to nurturing an engaged and active citizenry–not meeting whatever benchmark-of-the-moment policymakers have decided represents an appropriate return on investment.
A well-rounded public education has been the single most powerful democratizing force in the United States for at least the past 150 years. Since the college’s founding 50 years ago, NCC’s full-time faculty have been proud to participate in that tradition, helping Nassau County residents claim an education and a future that might not otherwise have been open to them. The successes of the students on our wrestling and debate teams, as well as those who received the Chancellor’s Award, are only the most recent examples of the value this college and its full-time faculty bring to Nassau County. We celebrate their achievement and the bright future they are creating for themselves.
Richard Jeffrey Newman, Communications Coordinator
Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers
One Education Drive, Room F-3293
Garden City NY 11530