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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Teaching 4-year-olds to read a great idea; Magid’s plan is not

Teaching 4-year-olds to read a great idea; Magid’s plan is not

*Teaching 4-year-olds to read a great idea; Magid’s plan is not *Political response wrong regardless

Teaching 4-year-olds to read a great idea; Magid’s plan is not

Re April 18 article, “Early reading mentors critical”: As proposed, Alvin Magid’s [plan] for a massive year-in, year-out volunteer reading program centered on Schenectady’s 4-year-olds is totally unrealistic to ready students for kindergarten and develop eventual writing skills.

Magid assumes his proposal to get volunteers to train parents and run reading events throughout the year will provide the ability and motivation for parents to work “the rest of the time” with their children.

Unfortunately, there will always be parents who are unavailable for such a task and others who will not welcome a volunteer in their home or attend a scheduled meeting for this purpose. It is frequently the parents of the neediest children who are on overload to put food on the table and a roof overhead. School readiness is just not on their radar.

A 15-month planning process proposed by Magid is too lengthy. It’s unrealistic to assume that any plans made at the onset of the process and then put on hold for a year or more would still be relevant or applicable at the end of Magid’s time frame.

Magid’s concerns are real and ongoing. However, his proposed remedy would have had a better chance of getting off the ground in an era long past, when parents were more available and had the time and motivation to participate in reading- related activities with their children.

Moses Brand


The writer is a retired school psychologist.

Political response wrong regardless of issue

Re Christopher J. Ognibene’s April 23 letter, saying we shouldn’t have knee-jerk reactions on immigration just because a couple immigrants decided to bomb Boston.

Well, why not? Isn’t this exactly what Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Obama did? Didn’t they, along with others, use the Newtown, Conn. tragedy [to promote] their gun control agenda? The heck with the Constitution, the heck with law-abiding citizens’ rights. If a couple of lunatics with firearms can cause such mayhem, we’d better lock all the firearms up.

Ergo, if a couple of immigrants can cause such terror and suffering, we’d better stop letting them all in. Correct?

As an aside, these bombers were said to have [ignored] existing gun laws. Does anyone think new laws would have stopped them? Federal background checks have been in place for years. These boys were reported to, and questioned by, the FBI, and still fell through the cracks; still obtained firearms.

Let’s think a little deeper about what it means to keep America free before we start slapping rhetoric around and patting each other on the back.

Mickey Marcella


Amsterdam footbridge a total waste of money

I read with disbelief April 21 that the Amsterdam pedestrian bridge is expected to start construction this year. I cannot believe that U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko and elected city officials could think that this project will turn around the city’s downtown.

With an almost-$17 trillion federal deficit, this earmark by Rep. Tonko should make every taxpayer angry for something that is really no benefit to 99.9 percent of the people of Amsterdam and surrounding areas.

The pedestrian bridge will be 475 feet long and will be constructed in curving design. The Gazette story stated that “a ripple design along the deck area will mimic the view on the water and incorporate two circular plazas which will provide a bird’s eye of boats passing below, and an open space in the center will be large enough to accommodate performances.”

It doesn’t take a smart person to figure out that the pedestrian bridge is a waste on money. The project should be stopped and the money given back or used for something meaningful.

Jay Janczak

Ballston Spa

Leave Sch’dy schools’ fine music program be

On April 9, I had the good fortune to attend the third annual Schenectady High School Music Faculty concert at Central Park International Magnet School. What a terrific performance!

While listening to the varied and creative entertainment, I couldn’t help but be reminded how privileged Schenectady is to have some of the most talented musicians in the Capital Region teaching our kids music every day.

In fact, it is not uncommon to see many of our faculty performing in a variety of bands and ensembles in many venues throughout the region. I’m still amazed to think that my two children had the privilege of having these talented professionals guide them.

Music was an integral part of their educations, and they continue to participate in musical activities while attending Union College. The musical training they received in Schenectady played a vital role in their success, and continues to help them achieve at the highest level.

Sadly, the music programs are once again under fire from the dreaded budget axe. It appears that the cuts will undermine one of the greatest strengths of the school district.

Have we forgotten that we earned state recognition from the Alliance for Arts and Education and state School Board Association in 2007, and a national award from the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education in 2008?

How can we look on those accomplishments with pride while simultaneously cutting the programs that led to the awards?

Every child in Schenectady deserves the same chance to succeed that my children had. The cuts may seem like a short-term solution to a budget problem, but our children, and ultimately our city, will pay the price down the road.

Steven WEIsSE


Sch’dy a good place to live, and getting better

We were saddened to see a less-than-flattering report on the city’s April 15 program for Realtors at Proctors [“Area real estate agents not sold on city’s pitch”, April 16]. The program focused on efforts within the city to build on the [effort] to make a fine historic city an even more attractive housing option.

The Greater Capital Association of Realtors recognizes and commends the city for its efforts at improving the quality of life within the city, and with it the opportunities for prospective buyers to make Schenectady their housing choice as it addresses the problems it has.

But what major city doesn’t have very similar problems? Recognizing any problems is the first step to correcting these problems, and Schenectady is long past recognition and well into the problem-solving stage.

Under the leadership of Mayor Gary McCarthy, supported by many real estate agents who live and/or practice there, the city has shown very positive progress over the past several years.

Are real estate taxes high? Sure, but they are high everywhere in the region. And we would suggest that if you look at the cost of housing, factor in what you get for your housing dollar, and add in the real estate taxes you will see there is wonderful housing value within the city. And the city’s schools are showing continuing improvement as we move forward.

Miguel Berger

James A. Ader


The writers are, respectively, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Capital Association of Realtors, Inc.

Media hype in Boston pumped up public fear

Boston strong or Boston scared? The media certainly wanted the latter.

As usual, many TV news reporters made complete fools of themselves in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, getting facts wrong, speculating irresponsibly when they had to mark time when there were no new developments, running clips of earlier events that only served to confuse viewers interested in getting new information, and bringing in so-called “terrorism experts” who often said the most laughably obvious things about what was going on or what was not going on or what might be about to happen.

The principal goals: To pump up ratings and ratchet up fear.

Many of these screen-hogging idiots were doing the terrorists’ work for them by encouraging people to be paralyzed by fright.

Sam Ludu


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