2005-03-11 / Letters

Letters

American Injustices

Dear Editor,

Where are the admonitions from the American pulpit that “Thou shalt not steal other people’s oil wells”, and “Thou shalt not murder in order to steal other people’s oil wells”, and “Thou shalt not brutalize and puppetize smaller nations”?

If there is justice in the universe, hypocrite America is due for a hard hit.

STEPHEN WOHL

Simplistic Assessments

By Wave Editor

Dear Editor,

According to Howard Schwach, managing editor of “The Wave” (Friday, February 25, 2005), parents who prefer to give their children what he calls “religious education” are “not only hurting their kids, they are hurting America as well.” With this point delivered, Mr. Schwach failed to elaborate the type of “hurt” that is inflicted nor did he theorize on the extent of this “hurt” on American society.

From his letter, Mr. Schwach is obviously not a proponent of the “religious education” many parents choose for their children. He verbalizes his belief that the public schools provide a “better academic education” for our children and that “the kids might be forced to go to public school and really learn something.” Mr. Schwach also laments that “religious schools” foster a sense of “separation” and that when children are “separated and are taught to believe that they are somehow better because of that separation, the seeds of hatred and distrust are sowed.”

Being a “religious educator” for 29 years, I do know that although our students have not had the advantages of many of the educational innovations and publicly funded improvements in the classrooms that have been afforded to public school students, our “religious educated” students have succeeded and have become very productive and responsible citizens as have their “non-religious educated” counterparts. Writing from the managing editor’s desk should require that Mr. Schwach be a responsible journalist and refrain from making erroneous statements insinuating that children who receive “religious education” are not “provided a better academic education” (although published results of various city and statewide testing do not support Mr. Schwach’s assertion) and that these same “religious educated” children show insensitivity to children who are “different” (although national coverage of the many confrontations between American youths do not support his myopic judgment).

I have chosen to send my son to a “religious education” establishment and I am very proud of being a “religious education” professional. I have experienced many personal and professional successes as both mom and teacher and will never regret having chosen the “religious education” route for my son as a student and for myself as an educator. Having the belief that a strong America is as strong as the children we educate, I recognize the need for the availability of a “multi-educational system.” We, as a society, benefit from the productive exchange of professional ideas and suggestions among the teaching professionals and we must acknowledge the intellectually based competitive spirit that exists among all professionals. The similarities and differences that exist among our professionals in all types of educational institutions help to creatively and intellectually stimulate the educational experiences and challenges of our American youth in American past, present and future.

It has also been my experience as a mother and a high school teacher that young people will tend to “bother” other kids “on the block.” Most of the children walking through the neighborhoods know who the “different” kids are. It is not because of the school a child attends that brands him/her as “different,” but rather, whether or not someone on the block knows the “kid,” recognizes the “kid” or even likes the “kid.” A child’s environment becomes comfortable for him/her because of the familiar surroundings and recognizable faces he/she encounters daily.

For Mr. Schwach to suggest that “religious education” may encourage “constant tension” and “minor violence” among “kids” is misleading journalism. As a member of the teaching profession, Mr. Schwach should be astute enough to know that a complex and national problem such as “tension” and “minor violence” among children who are not accepting of others because of “differences,” cannot be minimized and should not be blamed on any alternative school system. Mr. Schwach must acknowledge the fact that his explanation for the “seeds of hatred and distrust” emanating from the “separation” he believes exists in the “religious education” system is not just erroneous, it may be seen as somewhat dangerous in its simplicity.

The availability of choices in educating our nation’s children is what affords and fosters the concept of Democracy with a “capital D.”

KATHLEEN SMILARDI

Thank You All

Dear Editor,

What an amazing day we all had! How lucky were we to have such beautiful weather? How lucky to have such wonderful friends?

We can’t thank you enough for all you did to make this day such a great success. The plunge is getting bigger and better because of you.

Words can not express how much it means to us and how thankful we are for all the work you have put in to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Our Annie has not had a very good year, but you really have given us back our hopes and dreams that there will be an end to this devastating disease.

You can go online to emstv.com/ plunge to see some pictures. We are hoping for next year’s date to be February 11, 2006. We hope to see you all there.

May all the love you’ve sent to us come back to you tenfold. Thank you, God bless you and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers the whole year through.

JOHN, THERESA, ANNIE, KATE, MEAGAN AND CLAIRE MCMAHON

Ira Feldman Is Right

Dear Editor;

Kudos to Ira Feldman for having said a mouthful. Your response to Mr. Mirsky’s frightening letter on the privatization of Social Security was a master presentation.

Knowing you very well, I know that your assertions were true and sincere. You wouldn’t have inked them without an accurate searching and researching, that is your character, your personality. Yes, Ira, The Social Security Program is the nation’s sacred cow, the most sacred one and as such it should be untouchable. Many people in authority claim that the program is NOT solvent at all and, if it is not “broken”, why fix it. If it needs to be enhanced, it should be done in an earnest way, in a way to help it deliver sure financial help to the beneficiaries, as it was intended when it was enacted in 1935; it shouldn’t be a kicking political ball for the advance of some politician or a Wall Street magnate. It shouldn’t be a gambling roulette. We should not be stuck in front of a television and watch, with anxiety, the financial market go up and down and try to guess the amount of a check, if any, we would be getting next month. Social Security was not intended to be so. As said many times, Social Security is the best investment a person can make in life and nobody, yes nobody, should take that away from him. Beneficiaries of that program should know that on the third day of the month the check is there, untouched,  in the bank. That is a peace of mind.

Ira, your suggestion to enhance  the program is well taken; it would improve it and make it workable for many years to come, with a good chance to even  lower the retiring age and increase the benefit with a stroke of a pen. Their idea of a trillion dollar investment to convert the program or part of it to privatization will never work; it would be another of Washington’s  big  waste of the taxpayer’s money. That astronomical  sum of money would be better off if invested in programs in  need of help today, such as the schools,  prescription  drugs, crime and others. Who doesn’t remember the years 1999-2000-1-2 when, due the financial market’s fall, many people’s 401(k)s were whipped out overnight? One (but not unique) is the vivid example of the Lucent Technologies. When in between 1999 and 2001 the company fell apart, its stock went from $64 to .58, all the employees’  401(k)s invested in the company’ s stock were wiped out overnight (for some  the loss was over $250,000).

The company then stopped subsidizing the employees’ health insurance premium, pushing the monthly payment from $42 to $516, and, if that were enough, the company ended its death benefit, (a benefit, equal to a retiree’s annual salary at retirement and payable to the spouse if the retiree dies first, an average value of $50,000). Some of Lucent’s employees are now washing golf carts (at $7.50 an hour) instead of driving them. 

Who doesn’t remember  Black Friday when  many  jobs were  lost overnight, due the big financial market’ s crush? Have we such  a short memory?

Had our Social Security accumulated benefit  been in privatization at that time, today  we would be collecting welfare checks, or washing golf carts, instead of Social Security checks. After losing a good chunk of our 401(k) and IRA (the program),  the Social Security was there, standing like a bastion, helping us  save our  families, houses and  faces.

Do you really want go back to those days of anxiety? Haven’ t we learned anything from the catastrophe  created by the privatization in other countries? Or, for that  matter,  from the phony Wall Street index? (they could create a financial crises at will,  just to help their causes or camouflage one of their ill conceived pet programs). Do we really want to go back to the 2000-1-2  with our hard earned Social Security’s benefits in privatization, at the  mercy of a well orchestrated yo-yo financial market? I personally don’ t think so. In final analysis, leave the sacred cow alone. Ira, I thank you for enlightening the subject of the Social Security privatization.

ANGELO GUARINO

Pleasing To The Eye

Dear Editor:

On Sunday, February 27, my wife and I, accompanied by friends, decided to see the “Radicals” exhibition at the Museum of the City of NY. It was a most interesting and informative exhibition, and I highly recommend it.

Upon leaving the museum we decided to cross Fifth Avenue and take a look at the orange drapes, I mean the saffron gates, which has had so much hype. We entered Central Park via the Conservatory Gardens, which are as beautiful in winter as they are in summer — another recommendation — and proceeded to take a leisurely walk along the paths under the drapes — I mean gates. It was a cool day with a slight breeze, but the sun was bright and cheery so that it was not too uncomfortable a walk.

The first thing that caught my eye was the interplay of tree shadows forming a busy pattern on the white snow. The shadows followed the contours of the open fields of the park and the contrast between the deep shadows and the white snow, against the background of dark boulders, was a real photo opportunity. To our right was a small frozen lake with its smooth surface of glistening ice, which also seemed like a good scene to photograph. But unfortunately there were too many people walking back and forth so I could not get a good shot at it. After walking a short distance up the path I noticed what appeared to be a strange pile of snow just in front of the base of a tree. It seemed unnatural and I felt I had to get a closer look at it. It turned out to be a small snowman. It was about a foot in height and it was constructed of three snowballs. Two stones marked its eyes. I thought, “Probably the work of some kid,” and I photographed it.

The leafless, bare trees were also pleasing to the eye and even without leaves the trees made a striking appearance, especially against the bright sky. There was one tree in particular that drew my attention to it. I stood directly next to it, camera pointing up, and snapped a picture of its spiraling, twisting trunk. A few more photos of the park’s landscape completed our visit and we left the park after taking one more, short walk through the Conservatory.

Although our walk was brief we all agreed it was worth the visit to the park. The only thing that disturbed me was the feeling that I was walking under pants, shirts, and underwear hanging from clotheslines and an uncanny urge to constantly blow my nose.

STEPHEN YAEGER

No Longer True

Dear Editor;

A recent column of The Progressive, Paul Culotta gives an example of the education of immigrants that would make them good candidates for president.

Sadly, the example he gave is no longer true. His parents, and my grandparents, went to school, learned English, and learned civics. They had to do so to be able to take the test for citizenship in English. Today, immigrants do not have to know enough English to take the test.

That is why we have requirements for voting information to be printed in Spanish and other languages.

Schools teach children in what is euphemistically called bilingual but do not really teach English. I have been in public schools in Brooklyn where it took me 15 minutes to find an employee who spoke enough English to tell me where the General Office was. There are sections where only Spanish is spoken, Russian, various Asian languages, etc.

Stores only have signs in those languages. Hospitals are castigated because they do not always have someone available to communicate with a foreign language-speaking patient.

Along with the lack of a common language, we are approaching a time when we will have enclaves of second and third generation citizens who not only do not speak the same language but read only newspapers which are tuned to the culture of the country where their immigrant parents came from. These areas will soon be demanding that their cultures be honored over the traditions of America and eventually insist on autonomy and different governments. We will end up with sections who no longer consider themselves part of the United States. While not perfect, it is the best thing we have had going for us since 1778.

SARA S. BERGER

 

Embarrassed At BCHS

Dear Editor;

I am a veteran teacher who has worked in many of NYC’S toughest high schools. I can tell you firsthand the Beach Channel student is not very different from the average high school student. However, what sets Beach Channel apart is the fact that unfortunately we have staff members who do not always have BC’S best interest at heart.

Since Dr. Morris arrived at Beach Channel there has been a contingent of people who have put their own self-interest above the Beach Channel community. These individuals have shown defiance in various ways, the most despicable of which has been encouraging students to lash out, act out and walk out of class to protest Dr. Morris’ arrival.

Many of these incidents of disruptive behavior have already been chronicled in NYC’s major newspapers such as the Daily News, and the NY Post. Using these students in that way shows how extreme these individuals are willing to go to reach their desired objective.

All this does is damage Beach Channel’s reputation in the eyes of the Rockaway community. This also damages our students who feel embarrassed to go here. Some students are even more damaged by the false notion that abhorrent behavior will be tolerated. WHAT A SHAME.

NAME WITHHELD

UPON REQUEST

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