Wanting to change one’s gender shouldn’t be viewed as abnormal
In a March 24 letter (“How can prepubscent kid want a sex change?”), I was struck by the confusion, fear and total mischaracterization of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act [GENDA]. Issues of gender identity and expression are poorly understood in the mainstream culture.
As a mother who is well past middle age, I grew up in a time when even talking about anything “different” from the norm was put in the closet, pushed under the rug and mostly kept silent.
Gender identity describes one’s deeply felt sense of who you are, and gender expression is how we communicate that identity to each other. For those of us who are not transgender, myself included, it can be hard to grasp that someone’s assigned sex (that is, whether they were assigned male or female at birth) can be different from how a person feels inside. Though hard to grasp, this is the case for transgender people.
GENDA should be passed in New York state. Our state’s human rights laws currently make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, race, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, sex and other categories. This act would extend the law to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression as well.
Humans are complex beings. We shouldn’t fear this complexity, but embrace it. As a society, we need to affirm the dignity and worth of all human beings. And, yes, we need to protect our children. Sometimes that means protecting their gender identity and expression.
Rev. Roberta Place
Intelligence test illogical, knowing English isn’t
The only part of Robin Schnell’s April 1 letter that makes sense is, “If we could have a knowledgeable electorate, it would be a good thing.”
Her suggestion that [knowing] the language of a foreign land should be a prerequisite for elected officials before they can vote on matters, or that citizens’ knowledge should be tested before [letting them] vote, shows a complete lack of logic.
I may be wrong, but I believe the oath for American citizenship is given only in English. Not Mandarin, Farsi or another language. I also believe that currently, the right to vote is reserved for legal citizens — not illegal immigrants. Therefore, the idea that people understand English, and/or must prove citizenship before being allowed to vote, is both sensible and necessary.
David R. Dillenbeck
We need educated kids but won’t pay the price
There is an ironic and sad relationship between two headlines in the April 2 edition of The Daily Gazette.
On Page A1, we find the headline “Schools called key to growth,” citing the need for the schools, in this case the colleges, to be the important pipeline of local talent needed to fill jobs required by our local innovative industries.
On Page B2, we find “District seeking reading volunteers,” in which [Schenectady] Superintendent Laurence Spring describes how the school district can hire only 56 of the 74 reading specialists needed to teach the many children reading below grade level.
Public schools are where the pipeline of local talent begins. With inadequate resources, public schools cannot be expected to provide students who will become the educated college students the public and industry would like.
Superintendent Spring and others have fought a hard battle to correct the situation that caused this situation — the inadequate funding provided by the state, especially for schools with the greatest needs and poorest financial resources.
Many years ago, the courts ruled on this inequality and required the state, which is responsible for educating its citizens, to increase and redistribute its funding. This has only been done in small, inadequate doses — as in the present state budget.
We talk of the need for well-educated young people to provide the type of citizens and workers our society needs, but we continue to provide inadequate resources to reach that goal.
Math, English tests too long for young students
In the Gazette’s April 7 article [“Hard lessons”] on the upcoming tests in grades 3-8 to assess students’ math and English skills in relation to Common Core standards, you neglected to mention how long students will have to sit for these exams.
The exams are each three days long, with all students in grades 3-8 sitting for a minimum of two hours each day for three days in a row in two successive weeks, as the testing weeks are scheduled back to back.
Many students have time adaptations, which will mean they are in the testing situation for as long as four hours per day, six out of 10 weekdays over a two-week period.
Both common sense and research tell us it is not effective to make young children sit through hours and hours of testing. Children 8 to 12 years old should not be sitting for exams that take longer than the bar exam.
The writer is a Capital Region teacher.
So much for the slingshot, spear
Re April 8 letter, “Modern deer hunting not enough of a challenge,” by Dave Leonard: Not sure of the point of the letter.
However, according to New York state gun law, the type of slingshot that would be suitable for deer hunting as he suggests is illegal.
I’m not too sure about the status of spears. I think they are still legal. Don’t tell the governor.
William J. Kowalski
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