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Honor of the pledge goes to District 20 UFT representative

With teaching such a time−honored profession, and with the increasing focus on education to prepare Brooklyn’s youngsters to compete in the 21st century economy, Community Board 10 took the time, at its June meeting, to honor a long−term educator whose current job involves speaking on behalf of the students and those who teach them.

Ellen Driesen, the UFT representative for Community School District 20 −− which oversees schools in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and portions of Borough Park, Sunset Park, Bensonhurst and Kensington −− stepped into the limelight, when the board presented her with its Honor of the Pledge.

CB 10 Chair Dean Rasinya spoke of Driesen’s long dedication to the children of District 20. “She’s not only an advocate for our teachers. She’s a great advocate for our children,” Rasinya stressed.

Driesen, a Bay Ridge resident, took the opportunity to plug District 20 schools. The standardized test scores of students in District 20, Driesen said, had shown increases larger than those enjoyed by the city as a whole.

However, she went on, significant cutbacks in the budget could mean an end to key advantages the district has, such as having coaches who work with teachers to help them hone their teaching skills, as well as after−school programs ranging from homework help to remedial programs to programs in the arts. Driesen said that principals were planning for cuts of approximately four to five percent.

“Kids don’t get fourth grade twice. They get it once. If they miss out on arts that year, they miss out for life,” Driesen told the board.

“We need to keep the programs, the professional development, the high standards, because the children need these things,” she added.

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