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Better education will smarten Schenectady

Better education will smarten Schenectady

*Better education will smarten Schenectady *Save free college for those more deserving *Fight for yo

Better education will smarten Schenectady

When the state Education Department released 2015 graduation rates on Monday [Jan. 11], your readers would have noted the Schenectady City School District’s graduation rate of 56 percent, unchanged from 2014.

Schenectady’s abysmal performance highlights the failure of public education in general and Schenectady in particular. It’s disgraceful and unacceptable. What do district taxpayers have to show for their school tax dollars? And how will these dropouts manage to get by — with social services and Family Court?

Hopefully, Mayor Gary McCarthy’s newly appointed Smart City Advisory Commission read this same article. Granted, Schenectady needs to improve its services, roads and decaying infrastructure. More importantly, the city needs to improve its social infrastructure. That starts with education, which creates opportunities for economic growth, a more fulfilling life for graduates and a better future for all.

Improving education to boost graduation rates would make the city of Schenectady “smarter.”

Eldon J. Smith, Jr.

Ballston Spa

Save free college for those more deserving

Re Jan. 11 article, “Higher-ed initiative urged in state prisons”: I find it truly appalling that Gov. Cuomo proposes college education for inmates. Isn’t it true that most prisoners couldn’t even make it through grade school, let alone high school, either by their own failure, their parents’ failure, the failure of the education system, or a combination thereof?

Governor, you state that prisons were supposed to be about rehabilitation. Well, that’s not entirely true, and history has taught us that it does not work.

I say, forget history and focus on to here and now. Prisons now offer myriad programs aimed at rehabilitation, such as Industries, Education and Vocational Training, Adult Continuing Education Classes, Literacy Programs, English as a Second Language Program, Federal Prison Industries (job training), occupational education programs, parenting programs and many, many more.

Has it worked? Nope. Statistics show that the majority of criminals are repeat offenders. In my opinion, before we jump to college education for inmates, perhaps we should consider programs such as Moral Recognition Therapy, Reasoning and Rehabilitation, Cognitive Restructuring, Surgical Treatment for Sex Offenders, Drug Courts and Drug Treatment in the Community, and Incarceration-based Drug Treatment.

But, if you’re still hell-bent on giving away college educations, governor, why not give it to citizens more deserving.

Mary Jo Venditti


Fight for your rights in order to keep them

A few years ago, a family friend did my family history. I was amazed by the amount of history that is tied to my family, over 300 years worth. My combined families helped settle New England. They all came here for any number of reasons; either to seek their fortune, to escape persecution, or to simply make a clean start. But any way that you look at it, they came here for their families.

Many of them fought in the Revolution against a tyrannical king so that they could be free. They put their lives on the line for the freedoms that we marginalize and squander today. Either we are seeking to restrict our freedom of speech so that it can spare someone’s feelings or we intend to take away somebody’s Second Amendment rights so that we can feel safer. Pretty soon, we will be calling for lawmakers to get rid of that pesky document we call the Constitution so that we can make up the laws as we go along.

It may sound like I’m crazy for saying something like that, but look at where we are today. We have college students claiming that they want free speech in one breath and want to classify certain words as hate speech in the next breath. Here’s a question, snowflakes: Who gets to determine what is hate speech? The groups that you claim to represent or the actual people that it would affect? I bet I know the answer to that question.

Then you have people claiming that if we restrict what weapons people can buy, then it would get rid of all crime, and life would be all peaches and sunshine. I would seriously like to try to smoke what they are smoking because it obviously causes people to hallucinate to the point where you don’t know what’s real and what’s fake.

Getting rid of guns will solve nothing. Three hundred million guns in the general population and you think that if you stop gun sales, it will stop criminals from getting them. All they have to do is steal guns from registered, responsible owners to get another gun and the cycle continues.

On top of all that, do you actually believe a convicted felon actually strolls into a gun store and buys a gun? It’s why they call them "illegal guns." They buy them illegally.

So why do we have rights if you have people saying that we shouldn’t have them? It’s the ones saying we shouldn’t have them that benefit the most from those rights being taken away. When you hear of somebody wanting to take your rights away, ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?”

I’m sure that my ancestors, if they were alive today, would fight another revolution if they saw what I see everyday.

Duane Watkins


Lunn Cooperative lives up to its name

How refreshing to attend a meeting where people speak kindly, listen intently, and offer helpful suggestions to each other.

You know right away I am not speaking of any meeting of our legislative bodies or a Trump campaign event.

No. I am referring to the Lunn Cooperative. The Lunn Cooperative is a resource center for Schenectady County non-profit agencies, providing a forum for the sharing of information, resources, education and support. I have attended several of these events where people gather to learn new techniques to carry on their work.

What type of work, you might ask? The type of work that makes our communities stronger, more connected, and better places to live. The type of work we should insist our elected officials follow. What organizations send their representatives to these meetings? Habitat for Humanity, A Different Way In, Center for Community Justice, Schenectady Home Furnishings, Fostering Futures, Junior League of Saratoga County and the Hamilton Hill Art Center. All of these groups consist of people who are compelled to make a difference. To attend these meetings is almost therapeutic compared to the language and aggression we hear daily on our airwaves or social media devices.

If you get a chance, go online and check out their schedule. You might learn things and meet people who inspire you. You might pick up ideas not only for your organization, but for your life.

Janice Walz


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