Magid’s reading plan could work wonders for Schenectady, worth a try

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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Magid’s reading plan could work wonders for Sch’dy, worth a try

Reading Moses Brand’s April 26 letter (“Teaching 4-year-olds to read a great idea; Magid’s plan is not”), I found myself alternating between anger and disbelief.

Brand asserts that Al Magid’s plan for a comprehensive volunteer reading program, focused on Schenectady’s 4-year-olds, is “totally unrealistic” because some parents will not welcome a volunteer into their home or attend meetings, while others are simply “on overload ... and school readiness is just not on their radar.”

He further states that Magid’s plan might have worked “in an era long past ... when parents had the time and motivation to participate in reading-related activities with their children.”

How could a school psychologist, whose mission is to encourage and guide students through myriad adolescent emotional, personal and family problems, possibly have such a completely negative, stunningly hopeless attitude? It’s one thing to see the glass as only half full, it’s quite another to not even see the glass.

My feeling is that Magid’s volunteer reading proposal, and his personal commitment, is ground-breaking and heroic. With community support and backing, it could be life-changing for many children. He has tackled head-on the single most formidable — and avoided — problem causing student failure today, i.e., the lack of inner-city parental involvement.

Granted, no program can magically transform the inner-city culture of crime, drugs and parental neglect. But Magid’s proposal has wonderful possibilities; it could drastically change the lives of some children and give hope to their parents. I believe some parents may respond beautifully to a little assistance, a gentle push and some real encouragement by caring volunteers, who might just breathe fresh life into households trapped in the hopelessness expressed by Mr. Brand. How refreshing!

Vince Dacquisto

Niskayuna

The writer is a retired teacher.

Old enough to fight; why not old enough to drink?

Your April 24 editorial, Sobering truth behind underage booze sting,” seemed to omit some important details about the lives of young Americans.

People between 18 and 20 years old are eligible to vote. They can sign up for military duty and serve in war zones. Many are eager to start college or careers. In short, every person in that age group is legally an adult — they are not “kids,” as the editorial stated.

They are soldiers who could possibly lose limbs or die for this country; but by law, they cannot return home to relax over drinks in bars and restaurants. They’re smart people who go to college to be free of parental rules; and that often involves consuming large amounts of beer, wine or liquor with their new friends on campus.

Sure, young adults are prone to abuse alcohol and drive drunk. But the same goes for just as many, if not more, older people.

Also, while the store clerks reportedly sold alcohol to “underage buyers” (who worked for the police), these were nothing but victimless crimes. Now, the 12 adults arrested in the sting may suffer through months of unemployment and legal problems.

The story left me wondering if our current underage laws should be repealed, like Prohibition itself.

LAWRENCE GOODWIN

Amsterdam

Politicians dancing to the gun manufacturers’ tune

Shame on those who claim [politicians] want our support during elections. Those who favor gun regulations outnumber those who do not. The excuses from legislators are pathetic.

I wonder how those same [legislators] would feel if there were no regulations for automobiles and drivers? They feed on fear to support greed.

The gun manufacturers love it. They are the ones who are afraid. They fear discussions might call for regulations that would limit profits.

Lois M. Dodge

Schenectady

Pols play fast and loose with taxpayers’ money

Re April 21 article, “Pedestrian bridge envisioned as park over Mohawk”: $16.5 million for a bridge to where? $85 million for the rehab of a football stadium [April 7 Gazette]?

Will we ever stop electing idiots to public office?

Fred Maurer

Burnt Hills

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comments

May 1, 2013
7:31 a.m.
rjk1915 says...

There is a very simple answer to the argument that age requiremnts for becoming a drunk or a soldier should be identical. The job qualifications are not the same for both.

May 1, 2013
10:26 a.m.
Will1960 says...

rjk1915 is absolutely correct in that the criteria to determine society's drinking age should not be measured by other factors which are unrelated to someone's ability to handle alcohol. The myelin sheath of the human brain isn't fully developed until one reaches the age of 22. Drinking alcohol before that development is complete can have a life-altering impact on a young drinker. So if we actually were serious about basing our drinking policy on hard science, 22 is the age which the drinking limit should be set. Whether someone is sold enough vote or enlist and serve in the military has no real bearing on the physical harm alcohol can cause a young person.

May 2, 2013
3:36 p.m.
robbump says...

Regarding ages to drink, drive, fight and vote:
The author correctly states: "People between 18 and 20 years old are eligible to vote.".
But the problem is, THEY DON'T.
You can bet that if people in that age range put pressure on legislators, the young people could get things changed. As someone who grew up with an 18 year old drinking age, I understand your angst; but it is people of your age who have to grow a political force to bring it about. People of my age don't really care. We CAN drink.

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