Kids need help from home, less coddling

*Kids need help from home, less coddling *Why would Obama not love his country? *Grateful for cancer
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Kids need help from home, less coddling

I have been following most of the debates concerning the “children” in our state of New York, about their education, what’s good, what’s not, who are getting money, etc. Now today [April 8] your editorial [“Raise age of responsibility”] on raising the criminal responsibility age.

Here is my two-cent opinion based on my own life experiences.

No. 1 — about education — wouldn’t everyone agree that with all the millions, billion, over the last 20 years alone, alot of kids are failing — not because of money, but because of their environment or no home environment. Kids having kids, women have four to five kids — no father.

Or men getting as many women pregnant because they think it’s cool. Kids dropping out or taking two to three years extra to barely graduate. Forty percent of youths do not qualify for the military.

It’s not the teachers’ fault in most cases. It’s the fault of the guardians, parents and society making kids not respect law, authority and thinking the world owes them. Not.

We need tough administrators, with backing of parents and society, to teach discipline. If they don’t or won’t learn at home, where will they? We need politicians to speak straight — no spin. That goes for all parties. New Yorkers have only themselves to blame for the condition the state is in.

As for raising criminal age — no. Why, you ask? Just ask all the 17-year-olds who went to war — WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, etc. Does that mean they didn’t know better? No. They were tested mentally, physically. Kids today are far more advanced than kids born in the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s, etc. and technology alone proves that.

No, it all starts in the home and no one is saying that, Mr. Editor. I was brought up to know right from wrong by age 7 and I did. Most kids don’t today, if truth be told.

Albert Marvell

Scotia

Why would Obama not love his country?

Once again I feel compelled to respond to yet another conservative rant.

This time the March 21 letter [“Giuliani had a point on Obama patriotism”] by Don Cazer. Mr. Cazer commented on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s questioning of President Obama’s “love for America.”

Just image a young black man, father absent most of his life, moving frequently to far-flung places, doing well academically to the point of making his way to Harvard. Then going back to Chicago, becoming a community organizer and eventually to the Illinois state Senate, and then against incredible odds in 2008, becoming president of the United States. Oh, my God, the first black president. And he hates America? Wait, let me not overstate as my conservative counterparts do. He doesn’t love America?

The country that elected him the first non-white president? How could he not have love and admiration and find the ultimate acceptance as a minority to the people who voted for him? As for Mr. Cazer’s mention of Mr. Obama’s former mentors, Frank Davis, (the communist) whom he (Obama) met about a dozen times in his youth, who was a poet and political activist who promoted things like universal health care, government stimulus programs, labor unions and the repeal of Jim Crowe laws, which Mr. Cazer labels radical left extremism. Really?

Also, Obama’s association with former Weathermen Underground leader Bill Ayers as a mentor is a fairly hollow allegation, especially seeing that Mr. Ayers is now espousing that Obama be tried for war crimes.

Last, but not least, is Mr. Cazer’s assertion that if Mr. Obama loves America so much, then why was his campaign theme “change?” Does Mr. Cazer believe we, as a country, are perfect? That everything here is as it should be? No room for improvement? It sounds like Mr. Cazer is of the age that he was influenced by the “red menace” in the ‘40s and ‘50s. This kind of thinking is what holds this country back from improving.

The fear that change is bad. That if we were to try something new, that if we were to pick up on some of the good parts of the different “isms,” that we would lose our identity as American. If we don’t try new things and throw out what doesn’t work, how can we ever improve?

In closing, I would like to thank those far-left political extremists: Washington, Jefferson and Adams.

Mark Ruddiman

Schenectady

Grateful for cancer treatment at Ellis

In a time when there are mostly negative comments, I would like to share a positive experience I had at the Oncology Department at Ellis Hospital.

I was diagnosed with cancer of the vocal cords in December 2014 and the surgeon recommended the most conservative treatment, 35 sessions of radiation.

The following day, I was scheduled at Ellis Oncology and soon thereafter, I felt that these professionals had their act together and this was going to work. Initially, I was interviewed by Lois, an RN who explained what was going to happen, how it would happen, the chances for success and alternative treatments available if I desired. Next was Dr. Dolinsky, the doctor in charge who spent the next half hour answering questions, discussing my diagnosis and what effects the treatments would have on the rest of my body.

My first impression: They cared. Two days later at the initial treatment, I met Paul, Julie and Heather, radiation technicians, and would be in their care for the next 35 days, save weekends. They were upbeat, pleasant and each had a wonderful sense of humor, which made this ordeal a lot less stressful than it otherwise would have been.

I never had to wait past my scheduled time for treatment. I was weighed daily and interviewed weekly by the RNs, Lois and Diane, with equally happy personalities and caring manners and by Drs. Dolinsky or Hellman, who monitored and discussed my progress and concerns. Always hot coffee in the waiting area and always answers to any questions.

I consider Ellis Oncology to be a model medical practice and believe each of these professionals bring great credit on themselves, the practice and their profession.

William F McIntosh

Niskayuna

Opting out of math; child taking Regents

My son is an eighth grader in a Schenectady District school. He has been accelerated in math and is currently taking Algebra. He will take regents exam later in the year. We have decided to opt-out of state math testing scheduled for next week because the Regents will be his (and his math teacher’s) measure of success. He is not taking eighth grade math. We believe that the state test is an unnecessary, and, in fact, an unfair barometer of learning, since he has not been taught under the regular eighth grade curriculum. I emailed his principal this morning [April 15].

In a response to my email, I received a form letter stating this: While some parents, for various reasons, do ask to allow their children to “opt out” or refuse to take the standardized tests, New York does not have an “opting out” provision. State testing in ELA [English Language Arts] and math in Grades 3-8 is required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and must be administered by districts pursuant of NCLB and the commissioner’s regulations. Neither federal nor state law provides parents with and “opt out” option. The letter describes five ways testing is beneficial to the district:

1) They are used to assess teachers and students (but in our case, the Regents will do this).

2) They are used to identify areas of student weakness (the Regents does this as well).

3) The testing assures taxpayers that educational funding is being well spent (but so does the Regents).

4) It reflects the learning mastered as defined by the eighth grade common core standards. (In our case, our child was educated under the standards reflected by the Regents.)

5) The district needs to have a 95 percent participation rate to be eligible to receive Title 1 funding. (Perhaps the state should consider the Algebra Regents exam when distributing funding, since this is not an uncommon curricular change at this grade level.)

While normally I would choose to be in compliance with testing (in fact, my son took the ELA exam), math is an entirely different issue, since he is not taking eighth grade math. He is taking a high school course, one year early, and our family believes the Regents are a reasonable assessment.

Karen Kirstein

Schenectady

School Vote Letters

The deadline for submitting letters relating to the May 19 school budget vote and school board elections is Friday, May 8, at 5 p.m.

Categories: Letters to the Editor

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