Casino would hurt Schenectady, nearby towns
I agree with Jessie Malecki's May 2 comments on a casino in Schenectady regarding building in a flood zone. Also, with the traffic from GE and Golub and other local companies, the traffic will be a nightmare.
I believe it will bring in more crime, easy pickings for more muggings, more drunk driving incidents and more gambling problems. I heard they want to build condos and apartments there and possibly build the casino there. Who would want to live next-door to a casino? And the view from the road -- a parking lot.
I moved to Glenville because it was quiet there. Now with all the development, the traffic is terrible. The development consists of cheap chain stores and chain restaurants. When the people of Glenville said they missed the Old Homestead, the town decided to put in an Applebees, which is a far cry from a family-owned restaurant.
If I wanted to live in a city, I would live in one. The suburban atmosphere is being ruined. The town doesn't really care what the people want. They do what they want.
Teacher assessment exam was premature
Your May 5 editorial regarding the Board of Regents' delay in requiring passage of a new exam for teacher candidates overlooked several important points. The facts are the edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) was rolled out prematurely and with a number of unresolved problems.
First, many of the materials needed to train teacher candidates were not available until last fall and some are still not complete. What good does it do to test students on information they have not been taught?
Your assertion that the edTPA is already being used in 30 states is misleading. Many states are experimenting with edTPA, but only New York and Washington require it for initial teaching certification.
You also failed to note that parents have raised privacy concerns about the videotaping of their children in K-12 classrooms, or that teacher candidates in New York already take three other comprehensive written exams to prove their readiness to teach. Teacher candidates expecting to graduate this month must still pass those rigorous tests.
It is also a fact that no research exists to support claims that the edTPA identifies quality teachers any better than other certification exams. We believe the state Education Department should not use the edTPA, which costs students a minimum of $300, as a high-stake certification requirement before assessing its validity.
The decision to delay the edTPA certification mandate and create a task force to refine the test will allow education professionals and state Education Department jointly to develop a program that will properly prepare students to teach. The faculty involved in teacher education programs must have a voice in determining appropriate assessment and certification tools and developing realistic timetables for implementing them.
We are not against developing better performance assessments, but those changes must be made correctly and cooperatively. Now there is time to get it done right.
FREDERICK E. KOWAL
The writer is president of United University Professions.
Free speech comes with consequences
Celebrity chef Paula Deen and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling have been taught an expensive lesson [May 4 Gazette]. The First Amendment right to freedom of speech is not inviolable. It does not free one from consequences.
The exposure of both Deen and Sterling resulted from private conversations that were made public. Were their privacy rights violated? Do they have a case? The futility of pursuing such a claim is clear. The cat's out of the bag.
On a local level, the owners of a food truck whose company name is an ethnic slur directed at Italians were taken to task.
Deen and Sterling's attitudes were expressed covertly, whereas the food truck's owner's was blatantly overt.
Imagine the dire consequences had these people named their business using the "N" word.
Due to publicity generated by some of us who wrote letters and spoke out, photos of the truck, headlining a report that the owners had been banned from selling their wares at the Saratoga Race Course, appeared in The Gazette.
A suit brought by their lawyer against the state, claiming freedom of speech rights, failed. There is no difference between Deen, Sterling and the owners of the truck. Ethnic slurs are not to be tolerated.
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.
Media not doing its job on Benghazi
Your May 6 cartoon digging at Republicans for keeping the Benghazi scandal alive is nothing more then another act to marginalize any and all wrongdoing by Democrats. At some point, The Gazette, as well as other media outlets, need to place right and wrong above ideology.
This administration has counted on its media allies, the limited attention span of the American people and obfuscation to get away with Benghazi and other scandals. Benghazi matters. It seems apparent the president placed that above the lives of Americans he put in Libya.
Were the decisions of inaction based on politics? Is there a cover-up of arms transactions? Were our people denied the security they requested? Could special forces have made a difference? This president's responses are far from believable, particularly since he has a penchant for lying.
The media see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing about an administration that is caught lying to the American people on a daily basis.
You in the media refuse to hold him accountable.
Our Founding Fathers believed a free press, regardless of the potential for abuse, would keep America a free and independent nation.
If Benghazi doesn't matter, then what is the point of the press?
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.