2001-06-02 / Letters

Shut Up Howie!

Shut Up Howie!

Dear Editor;

Do you know how embarrassing it was to pick up the New York Newsday, the Sunday, May 13, 2001 issue, and see the headlines, "Middle School Disorder", which depicted MS 53, in Far Rockaway, as one of the most violent schools in New York City?

This is already a problem to readers, when the school is a part of the community, however it is more disturbing when one of the main editors of the local newspaper, The Wave, is a member of the staff of MS 53! You have been on the teaching staff for years, and to add insult to injury you write "School Scope" each week to supposedly inform the members of the community about what is best for the city schools.

For many years you have put down parochial schools and praised public schools. Yes, public schools have more money for resources and programs, but what good are these things if our children are afraid to attend school. Children who want to learn are hindered from doing so because of fear and distraction.

I have read articles where you put down the parents who chose to send their children to Catholic, Hebrew or any other private institution of learning. What I want to know from you, Howie, is why have you been so hard on parents leaving Rockaway for safer options, or going to the local parochial schools, when you as a staff member of MS 53 have lingered in this horrific school for years?

I have heard about the gifted program at MS 53, but a school warehousing hundreds of children is no where near successful when a program of 30-60 children are being underserved and others are lost or out of control. I write this to you because I had to pull my child out of public school years ago, for the same reasons that were reported in the Newsday article.

I am angry because I work each day, pay my taxes and must spend extra money to keep my child safe from violence and apathetic teachers. I know the parents are a huge factor in the school system, but what the educators need to do is omit the parents from the equation and find a way to manage the children while they are in the care of the school.

Monsignor Guy Puglisi of Brooklyn gave us a simple solution to the middle school situation. He expressed the fact that the manner in which the public school system breaks up the middle schools was tried and did not work. This seems to be the problem with public schools. If a situation does not work, it continues on and languishes for years. It makes one wonder what idiots are running the public school system.

For years you have been badmouthing parochial schools as places where only good students go and the troublemakers get kicked out! These schools do have a choice, but the child is given the opportunity to learn in a disciplined environment. The children in these schools are easy to deal with because they want direction, discipline and nurturing. If kids are in an environment where teachers and administrators care about them, they are less likely to become apathetic or fearful and the school will succeed.

Public school teachers lose faith and throw up their hands because the chaos in the schools is phenomenal! Moreover, I cannot understand how one of the strongest unions, the United Federation of Teachers, can be forced to teach in schools where children are herded together like cattle.

I have spent countless amounts of money for education on my two children, and with one child done with college, and the other with a few years to go, I can honestly say that I am glad I made the sacrifice when I hear all the horror stories about public schools like MS 53.

Even if you can get a better education in a few public schools, I am not risking my child’s safety in these out of control schools. Howie, you and the other educators need to stop throwing your hands up in defeat; stop pointing fingers and demand that the conditions in these schools be rectified.

Do not let the dysfunctional home life of these kids prevent you from helping these children. Let the teacher’s kind words and soft, understanding smile be the first greeting a child sees each morning. If school is a refuge for children, and not an extension of the dysfunctional home, the children can feel safe and flourish in their education.

MARY EILAND


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