Partnerships needed to help poor families

*Partnerships needed to help poor families *Need better rationale for climate policies *No rational
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Partnerships needed to help poor families

Thank you Kathleen Moore and The Gazette for your March 22 story about poverty among the families of very young children and its impact on school performance. Your article provides a tremendous start in making the public more aware of a situation that working families face each day. However, the manner in which the article ends leaves one with the impression that everyone in need is receiving funding. Unfortunately, this is not entirely accurate.

Today’s parents face a daunting gauntlet when attempting to qualify for child care subsidies, which is why the key issues in any conversation regarding childhood poverty and its impact on child care are a lack of adequate, stable funding sources and inconsistent, “dynamic” eligibility rules.

The current system’s constantly changing landscape of eligibility and funding sources, in part, prevents or at least makes it very difficult for organizations like the Schenectady Day Nursery (SDN) to provide continuity of care to children of poverty. Continuity of care is an integral part of allowing parents and children to begin to flourish in their respective work and school environments. Parents and children need to know they can count on a consistent level of support.

Early education and the security of a familiar nurturing environment should not be sacrificed for the children’s sake. Progressive approaches must include solutions: encouragement, mentors, and interim scholarship funds to preserve child care.

At SDN we have renewed our commitment to quality child care by reviewing existing programs and have recently adopted QUALITYstarsNY, a project of the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), whose mission is to provide strategic direction and advice on early childhood issues, as our standard.

Kathleen Moore’s article crystallizes the need for robust partnerships across the community. To increase the ability to reach more families and children, it is absolutely necessary that agencies work together.

I think the conversation should be continued — as I am sure that our executive director and other members of the SDN board have much more detail to contribute to the conversation at large.

I would like to invite the reporter, members from the Department of Social Services Workforce Development program, board members, past and current, to join in a roundtable discussion to address the societal need to keep parents in the work force and to keep day care affordable. SDN has understood for over a century that lack of accessible child care only hampers community growth.

Thank you for shedding additional light on these important issues.

Natasha A Yates

Schenectady

The writer is president of the Schenectady Nursery Board of Managers.

Need better rationale for climate policies

Some comments about Glen Sanders’ March 27 letter, in which he argues that climate deniers would promote renewable energy if it weren’t for the Koch brothers-supplied blinders.

Since everyone knows that the Earth has experienced repeated warmings and coolings, no one takes issue with the notion of climate change. What is at issue is the notion of basing public policy on arguments so weak that those who advance them feel the need to discourage public discussion by pairing weak arguments with strong insults.

As an example of a weak argument, consider Mr. Sanders’ contention that investing $44 trillion in a worldwide energy program will generate $70 trillion of net bill savings by 2050. This is meant to imply that columnist David Harsanyi’s assertion that reducing greenhouse gases will be expensive is misleading.

Consider the cost of the necessary military force that will be needed to extract the funds from the taxpayers for such a program and its administrative cost.

As for the accuracy of a forecast that extends 35 years into the future, I suggest that our inability to foresee the rise of ISIS casts doubt on our long-range ability.

Fred Barney

Albany

No rational argument against legalized pot

Re March 29 letter, “Legalized marijuana making U.S. weaker”: I could not find a rational argument against growing cannabis in Sid Gordon’s recent letter.

In places like Colorado and Washington, D.C., it’s now legal for responsible adults to put a few cannabis seeds in soil and to care for such plants until they reach the mature flower stage.

“We have to get those that vote for all the bad stuff … out of office,” Mr. Gordon argued in response to that news. But he ignored how recreational “marijuana” was legalized by solid majorities of voters, not elected officials, in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington and the District of Columbia.

Several more state ballot measures are expected to pass in 2016. Will the anti-marijuana crowd then start arguing for mass deportations of voters?

Elected leaders in dozens of states, including New York, have recognized the medical necessity of cannabis. Many doctors are calling for research of the plant compounds that relieve symptoms of serious ailments like cancer, multiple sclerosis, post traumatic stress disorder and seizure disorders afflicting children.

In fact, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing for big changes in federal marijuana law as a co-sponsor of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act.

I am grateful every time voters or lawmakers disregard the anti-marijuana hype and legalize more cultivation of these plants. Arresting cannabis growers totally contradicts the most basic principles — personal liberty and free enterprise, etc. — that we embrace as citizens of the United States.

LAWRENCE GOODWIN

Milton

Hard to justify state budget decisions

Re April 5 editorial, “Cuomo, Legislature need better budget strategies”: It is easy to understand but difficult to justify the New York State budget. Tax breaks for yacht buyers for boats over $230,000. No problem. Higher minimum wage for a single mom going to work from a homeless shelter. Wow, what a giveaway. Can’t do that.

Government not in the sunshine for ethics reform? Absolutely. Slam teachers and students with senseless and endless tests. Good to go. Problems are all their fault anyway. Gunfire and knife fights in school yards? Principals beaten senseless trying to do their job? Blame teachers and administrators. Give them even more tests. And more tests for students between gunshots and stab wounds.

So how do we understand this? Very, very easy. This government is run by yacht buyers who send their kids to private school.

Thomas S. Revitt

Schenectady

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