Duanesburg did students disservice axing hard chem class
In the March 18 Gazette article, “Class cancellation upsets students,” Duanesburg Superintendent Christine Crowley justified the collective decision by the principal, superintendent and board to cancel an introductory organic chemistry course by claiming the “course material was too advanced for high school students.” Really?
The students Mrs. Crowley underestimates are among the top 10 percent of the Class of 2013, all of which were passing the course! Intelligent and ambitious students pursuing careers in chemical engineering, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, biomedical sciences/pre-med and nursing at some of the most exclusive colleges and universities in the area — including SUNYIT [State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome], SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Binghamton, Union, Albany College of Pharmacy, RPI, Clarkson, U.S. Military Academy and NYU, just to name a few.
Despite [school board] President Bob Fiorni’s personal assurances that the cancellation was “not an attempt, by any means, to hide or bury any information,” he has failed to articulate a rational and coherent explanation why first-semester grades for the course, which closed on Jan. 25 and were submitted to colleges Feb. 15, were retroactively changed from numerical to pass/fail grades on or about Feb. 28, with the academic transcripts re-issued to the colleges and universities. As parent Jay Tanzman aptly summarized, “there’s more going on than meets the eye.”
At the same meeting the course was canceled, the state Education Department gave a presentation on the challenges of preparing students for the dynamic global economy of the 21st century, where communication, analytical and problem-solving skills will be the currency of personal success. A college preparatory course for gifted and talented seniors would certainly satisfy NYSED’s objectives.
Sadly, Board President Fiorni, Superintendent Crowley and high school Principal Beth DeLuke have alternative plans to ensure Duanesburg students’ future success with far easier academic offerings and more aesthetically pleasing grading options.
Brian I. Bliss, Ph.D.
The writer is a professional organic chemist who volunteered as teacher Cathleen Gordon’s assistant for the class.
SHS guidance counselor was right about students
I have to agree with [Schenectady High School] guidance counselor Megan Quivey regarding the students at her school [March 20 letter].
I recently had the pleasure of attending a performance of “Superior Donuts” put on by drama students there. They were a wonderful group of teenagers, and any school would be proud to have them.
I realize there are some problem students at the high school, but they are certainly not the majority. I agree with Ms. Quivey that it does get old hearing people make comments about our kids as if the high school were on a par with a maximum-security prison.
And, by the way, if you haven’t been to a performance of the Blue Roses Theatre Company at the school, you should go. They are doing “A Chorus Line” April 30 through May 4. It may change your negative perception of our students.
How can prepubescent kid want a sex change?
Protecting our children from abuse is very much an important social and political issue.
That is why I was shocked to hear Katie Couric (on her TV show) saying, “Meet Coy Mathis, a transgender girl, who at only 6, is fighting alongside her parents for the right to be fully recognized as a girl in school. Katie will explore how medical advances are being used earlier and more safely to change the biological process of puberty.” In addition, the parents are taking legal action after their local school district opted to prohibit their daughter from using the girls’ room.
I am disturbed at several levels over this. How does a 6-year-old have the maturity to understand their sexuality when they haven’t reached puberty? Why would parents intentionally drug and mutilate their children? Isn’t this child abuse?
Second, what about the psychological aspect of believing you are female when physically you are a male? This is a disconnection from reality. Why would parents support such delusional behavior in their children?
Third is the promotion of mixed genders in accommodating these children. Extrapolating out, will there be males in the female shower rooms? Why should 99 percent of people have their privacy invaded for 1 percent of the population?
I am concerned that we will accept such behavior for such radical ideas, yet child protective services will take children away for far more minor offenses. It seems we are turning a blind eye to such bizarre behaviors because it is politically incorrect to hold the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community accountable for its behavior.
To top it off, there is proposed legislation in New York that would make challenging this behavior hate speech! I encourage our politicians to think carefully about the implications of such legislation. Are we to put children or political correctness first?
‘La-la land’ another name for Schenectady
Schenectady is beating a dead horse with its rental inspection law, and landlords live in the United States — not in “la-la land,” as claimed in the Gazette’s March 16 editorial.
In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, despite a city claiming that these inspections are for health and safety conditions, warrantless inspections of rental units are unconstitutional and violate landlords’ Fourth Amendment rights. Since 1981, New York courts have consistently ruled that cities and towns cannot compel landlords to submit to inspecting their rental units, and cannot penalize landlords for refusing to do so.
The Schenectady rental law discriminates between its landlords, as it does not require the inspection of rented single-family homes, owner-occupied two-family houses or properties rented to Section 8 tenants. The law, however, is targeting a group of landlords, requiring the search of their tenants’ bedrooms and closets, making public their insurance records and their tenants’ names, all in violation of the landlords’ and tenants’ privacy rights.
Schenectady was built for over 100,000 residents and has plenty of housing for the 64,000 people living here now. Furthermore, the city is continuously issuing permits to builders who are building new apartments.
Potential tenants have many apartments to choose from, but the city is ironically assuming that tenants have no choice but to live in substandard conditions.
Mohamed A. Hafez
The writer is a landlord.
Schumer’s cruise ship protection bill absurd
Our self-promoting Sen. Chuck Schumer now wants a bill of rights for cruise passengers as a result of the recent cruise ship problems.
Again, Schumer is writing a check with his mouth that taxpayers will have to cover with increased fares and higher taxes to cover the huge bureaucracy that government would create to administer the program.
Stop it, Chuck! Let the market resolve this problem. Consumers can make their own decision [whether] to patronize this company or the industry in general. The cruise lines are responsible to determine what concessions, if any, should be offered to the affected passengers. The legal system will determine what penalties, if any, will apply via suits filed by the passengers. We do not need more laws, more government and higher costs for everyone.
Chuck Schumer should focus on reducing government rather than promoting ridiculous new laws that hurt everyone except him and his cohorts!
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