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Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, Oct. 2

Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, Oct. 2

Your Voice

Paraprofessionals deserve a pay hike

Let me start by saying that though my wife works as a paraprofessional in the Schenectady school district, this is my perspective alone and reflective of my thoughts. Superintendent Larry Spring is at it again.
He cannot seem to stop himself from being a disrespectful elitist.
The lesson that the city’s chief educator wants to promote is that people working entry-level jobs that require less education don’t deserve a living wage.
His elitism is so blinding that he seems to have no idea of the scope of responsibilities covered by paraprofessionals throughout a given school day. He doesn’t acknowledge the physical and psychological risk of the position.
Paraprofessionals help to deliver curriculum, develop lessons, are the front line in dealing with behavior management and school safety. My wife had a tooth knocked out and comes home with bruises, bites and scratches weekly, sometimes daily.
She works on projects and is in contact, day and night, with the teacher about classroom issues.
Because the position requires less training and education, Mr. Spring believes these contributions don’t deserve a living wage.
He stated that these lowest paid positions with the worst contracts should have to give something back instead of experiencing the well-deserved increase in pay and benefits.
I agreed with one thing, that more training should be provided, more opportunities to better the education and skills of all district employees. If that happened, perhaps, Mr. Spring would have known the word he was searching for was amenable, not amendable.
James Cimino

No debate among experts on climate

Dr. Walcek’s Aug. 10 letter suggests we should listen to all sides of the climate change debate.
There is no debate. Global climate change is a fact and is ongoing. For example, global land temperatures have increased more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s and mostly since the 1980s (https://tinyurl.com/y6rv28z9). We’ve known the relationship between CO2 and air temperature since Arrhenius quantified it in 1896. We also know the additional CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels (by using the geochemical fingerprint of fossil fuel CO2).
I know the survey Walcek writes of, and the same group published another survey two years later (in 2016) showing 81 percent of American Meteorological Society members understand humans are causing the warming (not a subset this time, total membership).
When only scientists actually studying climate change are surveyed (i.e., experts), this percentage goes up to 97 percent agreeing that  global climate change is human caused (Cook et al. 2013, 2016).
Walcek is right, science isn’t done by consensus. But acceptance of scientific ideas is done by consensus of scientists, and the experts have reached consensus. He knows this.
David Gillikin
The writer is a professor of geology at Union College.

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