Bad publicity is hurting students and faculty the most
I am a parent of two children who attend the International Charter School of Schenectady (ICSS). I think it’s fair to say that ICSS did not meet all the expectations that were expected of them; but I would like to make it clear that there were some wonderful teachers at that school that went above and beyond what was expected of them.
My children have attended the school for four years now, and I don’t have one negative thing to say about any of the teachers my children have had. I feel that the negative publicity about the teachers has ruined it for all the good teachers we have at the school. One particular teacher who went out of her way for all her students has left the Capital Region to find a teaching job because she felt that no one in the area would think she was a good enough teacher because she has taught at ICSS. This isn’t fair to the teachers who have worked so hard to make sure our children have learned so much. It’s very sad to see so many teachers suffer along with all the kids, who will be affected by this big change.
I would just like to thank all the teachers at ICSS who continued to do the best they could under such hard circumstances. Many teachers could have walked away to look for new jobs, but they stood by the children so they could continue their education for the remainder of the 2007-2008 school year.
Despite recession and cost of war, it’s been good for some
It’s no wonder that we are now facing a recession because of the cost of our war in Iraq. We are borrowing $343 million a day to finance the war and this huge debt is a big drag on our economy and will be a huge burden for our children and grandchildren.
However, our president reassures us that, on the contrary, the war has been good for us — it’s provided jobs! Well, it’s true the war has been good for some of us:
* The oil companies, which are reaping huge profits since the price of a barrel of oil has gone from $25 before the war to over $100 today.
* The contractors, who have cashed in on cost-plus, no-bid contracts.
* Our millionaires and billionaires, who have enjoyed big tax cuts.
Now there’s no money to help the working men and women whose jobs are disappearing. And we cannot afford to provide health insurance for all our children. No money to repair our crumbling infastructure. And what about our returning wounded veterans — will we have the money to provide the care they need and deserve?
Gun advocates take issue with phrase ‘gun freaks’
I must take issue with Carl Strock’s disdainful reference to American firearms owners as “gun freaks” in his March 2 column regarding the death of William F. Buckley.
There’s a clear relationship between the private ownership of firearms and long-term political freedom, even if that relationship is not recognized by Mr. Strock. Even though it’s not well known, it is nonetheless true, that the Battle of Lexington and Concord was fought over British government gun control and civilian disarmament efforts. The “shot heard round the world” was fired in Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, because British soldiers were attempting to confiscate the cannon and musket powder belonging to the colonial militia: armed private citizens.
All governments, always and everywhere, are fearful of a sufficiently armed populace — properly so. An armed populace represents a very real check on government usurpation of power and on violent abuse of authority. As a result, government always creates excuses to disarm its citizens. Once disarmed, the “citizens,” now spineless “sheeple,” can easily be herded, dominated and terrified into doing whatever armed government demands of its defenseless subjects.
President George Washington warned Americans about the base nature of government, saying: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Over time, all governments grow into uncontrolled, corrupt and monstrous tyrannies that abuse the life, liberty and property of their servile citizenry. The history of human governments is the most appalling and tragic saga in all of human experience. Researcher and historian R.J. Rummel has written that in just the 20th century, at least 170 million people — and perhaps as many as 360 million — were systematically and deliberately slaughtered by the armed governments that ruled them. Unfortunately, what has been human experience will be human experience again and again. Given human nature, it is utterly foolish for us to believe that “it can’t happen here.”
The right of Americans to have the means of lawful self-defense against the possibility of tyrannical government was demanded by our forefathers as a condition for accepting the newly proposed U.S. Constitution in 1787. That demand has been enshrined in our Bill of Rights as the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment to the Constitution is simply the codification of our founding father’s experience-based wisdom that when confronted with criminality — especially government criminality — it’s always better to have a gun and not need one, than to need a gun and not have one.
H. Randy Morris
Don’t remove maternity services from St. Clare’s, consolidate them there
James Connolly [CEO of Ellis Hospital] asked for public opinion in developing Schenectady County’s health care system [Feb. 29 Gazette]. So here is mine.
First let me say I will not bore you with the story of how Dr. Cicotta and the staff of St. Clare's saved my life as well as my mother’s when I was born there in 1977. I will not get emotional and tell you how much it meant to me to give birth to my own child at the same hospital where I was born. Instead I will talk about logistics and what it always boils down to — money. Mr. Connolly acknowledged that while Bellevue would remain open temporarily, the buildings on the hospital’s Niskayuna campus are in need of repair. Mr. Connolly has also stated it would be cheaper to build a new women’s and children’s health center on the Ellis campus than to spend money to repair the unit at Bellevue.
He is right about one thing: Bellevue is in poor repair. It would make more sense to use the entire second floor as a women’s/children’s unit. Then St. Clare's would be able to have at least a dozen labor/delivery/recovery rooms as well as a 40-bed post partum unit with all private rooms that already exist in good condition. Which Bellevue has none. St. Clare's has ample room for expanding the maternity services without a lot of financial investment. So please explain to me how it would make economic sense to build a new unit at Ellis while temporarily housing the maternity unit in an antiquated facility that is sub-par to the standard services that already exist at St. Clare's.
Another issue brought up by a nurse at St. Clare's is the Family Practice Residency program. They are, especially at night, covering multiple services. They have to practice in a full-service hospital in order to cover all areas. It would make sense and better use of them to keep services central in one location. The plan also unofficially calls for pediatrics to move to the Ellis campus. Pediatricians will have to see newborns in one location and other children in another. St. Clare’s has the room to keep those services in one location. Neither of the other campuses at present can accommodate this. How foolish to continue to support a third building and under-utilize a perfectly good building that has no mortgage.
Another factor to consider is that many low-income women rely on public transportation or foot power to get around. Imagine the mother with no car, low income and three children of various ages in need of medical care. This makes the plan for the health-care system facilities inconvenient to say the least.
There was public outcry when it was announced to shut down Bellevue. But do we need a hospital that is strictly for women’s health services when we are, according to the Berger Commission, trying to consolidate?
Beyond the economic issue and the almighty dollar there are things that St. Clare's offers that are priceless. For example, every other Wednesday morning there is a breastfeeding support group that offers support and friendship to new moms. There are the birthing and sibling classes that are offered there as well. To me, removing the maternity services from St. Clare's would be as smart as removing the cardiac unit from Ellis.
Well, Mr. Connolly, you wanted some opinions, and now you got one.