‘Special interests’ in Common Core fight are legitimate
Re Oct. 13 article, “State education chief scraps Shen visit”: Sorry [State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.] went through a tough meeting in Poughkeepsie on his PTA tour of New York to answer questions on the Common Core, which led him to cancel the remaining four stops, including one in Shenendehowa. But people have serious questions.
King says he was looking forward to telling parents about Common Core and other reforms, but “unfortunately, the forums sponsored by the PTA have been co-opted by special interests. . .” Well, the “special interests” he is referring to are the parents of the children being subjected to Common Core. Parents, as indicated in the PTA, sponsor of the events!
Dr. King, they aren’t just “special interests,” they should be your primary interest. We have grave concerns about the Common Core and our questions are legitimate. Yet now you have refused to make yourself available to answer them. If you are worried so much about special interests and how they are “dominating” the discussion, you need to turn and look at the corporate entities with a huge financial interest that all want part of the $16 billion Common Core is expected to require for implementation.
The special interests you should question in the Common Core equation include Pearson, the group responsible for all the textbooks, professional development and tests. Or Inbloom, the company responsible for gathering all the data on the children. Or the technology companies, as Common Core will require schools to invest heavily in technology to meet the testing requirements.
The children in our schools are the most important “special interest,” and their parents speak for them. Just because you cancel the opportunities for the parents to speak doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice. We will still demand that you listen because our children’s education is at stake and Common Core has many concerning issues. Parents want you to represent our children first!
Commissioner King, you can run but you shouldn’t hide.
The writer is a former school board member.
Prop 5 environmentally unsound, so vote no
On Nov. 5, voters will be asked whether or not they support Proposition 5, which authorizes a land swap between the state and NYCO Minerals in Essex County. If approved, it would allow NYCO Minerals to mine in a wilderness area adjacent to their current open pit mine in Lewis.
Since 1895, voters have approved exceptions to the Constitution’s “Forever Wild” provision for the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves only 22 times and only for specific purposes that have a net public benefit or value. This proposed exchange with NYCO will be the first time that the voters are faced with an amendment to Forever Wild whose only justification is the convenience and bottom line of a private corporation.
It is easier and cheaper for NYCO to mine our public wilderness next to its current mine than it is to mine the many other lands it owns just a few miles away.
We have hiked on the wilderness threatened with mining and can attest to the fact that it is a majestic, old-growth forest used by many forms of wildlife. It should not be sacrificed to convenience a company that has many alternative ways to secure the minerals it needs. To destroy such a forest with new roads, bulldozers, noise, lights and explosives, without a clear public purpose and benefit, appears to us as senseless and abhorrent.
We urge voters to uphold Forever Wild by voting no on Proposition 5. NYCO is an important employer in the Adirondack Park, but it can afford to spend a little more to unearth minerals on its own lands. And New Yorkers will sleep better at night knowing they have prevented the destruction of this special public environment and maintained the integrity of the world’s only constitutionally protected forest.
The writer is a partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.
Moreland Commission should nail Silver
Great letters in the Gazette by Robert Karandy [Oct. 8] and Neil Nusbaum [Oct. 9]. Hopefully, people who read them will consider their comments.
One career politician who comes to mind is Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Assembly since 1994, who does not believe he should resign for his cover-ups of sexual harassment by Vito Lopez and the secret settlement of $103,000 in taxpayer money to two women victims.
The speaker must be pretty powerful because he still reigns.
Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission is supposed to investigate corruption in government and hopefully improve ethics, maybe starting with Speaker Silver.
Could this be possible?
If only we could start over with Congress...
Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative or independent, Congress is the butt of numerous and well-warranted jokes.
At present, my bet is that most of us would like to see a tabula rasa [blank slate] take place in our capital immediately. Those elected to take the place of the present members of Congress would be held to term limits and subject to the laws followed by those they govern. Such a thing is something devoutly to be wished and all but improbable. However, would it do any good to organize a multimillion-person march sometime soon, demanding accountability from those in the Capitol building?
Americans of all colors, races, ethnic backgrounds, etc., marching arm-in-arm, chanting, “Give us jobs, stop the abuse of entitlements and put our country on the right track!” Wouldn’t that be something?
Allen R. Remaley
Hoffman’s should move Playland next to Guptill’s
Famed newspaper publisher Horace Greeley’s advice to those seeking fortune and fame was “Go west”. Today, my advice to the Hoffman family, which operates Hoffman’s Playland, is to relocate their mini theme park four miles north on Route 9 and team up with the Guptill family, which also operates a wonderful family-oriented business.
As Hoffman’s Playland continues to be surrounded by modern development, it is becoming an island whose time is running out. With each fleeting day of summer-like weather, grandparents, parents and their children worry that these may be their last opportunity to enjoy this true Capital Region icon.
A partnership between these two family-run establishments may just be the ticket for the future. With beautiful acreage, fresh air and facilities adjacent to the Guptill Roller Rink and Coney Express ice cream concession, the ideal location exists just four miles north.
If this idea can become reality, Capital Region children may enjoy the fun for years to come. “All aboard!”
Democrats can’t have it all their own way
Re Teresa Seeger’s Oct. 8 letter, “GOP would take nation in the wrong direction”: She is correct when she says, “We the people elected our president,” but we did not elect a king. This nation’s greatness is because we have checks and balances, so no one person can dictate their power over us.
It is good that everyone has different views and that you can choose a direction for your own life. She goes on to say that the GOP is going in the wrong direction, but she doesn’t or can’t say what direction that is. Just a blanket statement that means nothing.
But then she goes to the old standby: It’s George Bush’s fault. According to her and the Democrats, everything bad for the past 12 years has been Bush’s fault.
And when that doesn’t win the argument, they resort to name-calling. I guess I’m not entitled to my opinion if it’s not their opinion.
The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.
There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.
All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.
Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.
For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.
For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.