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Joanna has no idea what ‘tenure’ means

To the editor,

Joanna DelBuono (“Not for Nuthin”), your view on teacher tenure does not show any true understanding of what tenure is (“Mayor Mike hits another homer,” Jan. 19).

Tenure provides protection against arbitrary and capricious actions. It does not keep teachers from being fired. It provides safeguards to keep principals from firing teachers due to personal feelings, nepotism, and the like. Tenure requires principals to show proof that teachers are ineffective or not worthy of their positions.

What if the shoe were on the other foot? How would you feel if the newspaper you wrote for fired you because of an unjust reason? In Texas last year, a teacher was fired for doing a lousy job teaching Spanish. I guess it was the teacher’s fault because they did not speak Spanish, but had to teach it because that was what the principal assigned her to do. That’s what happens when there are no tenure protections. This is just one sample, of which you could find thousands.

The only reason Mayor Bloomberg wants to get rid of tenure is to get rid of teachers who earn more money because of their many years of teaching. If you want to discuss a travesty, look at the way principals are selected today for their managerial skills — “principals” who never taught, and must rely on assistants because they are unable to recognize effective teaching and have no idea how to improve teaching.

Mayor Bloomberg likes to call himself the “education mayor.” In my 40 years of teaching, I have never felt so undervalued, and most of my colleagues feel the same way. What he has done in education is disgusting. I recommend you read both sides in the future.

Bruce Herman

Marine Park

To the editor,

Joanna DelBuono, education is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it pains me to see how uneducated you are on the topic of teacher tenure. Like Mayor Bloomberg, you are under the impression that tenure means that teachers get a free ride, that teachers don’t have to do what is expected of them, and that an incompetent teacher gets to keep their job — all of which is untrue.

Your column does address one truth, “It is the teacher that stands in front of the class everyday.” Teachers are at the front lines when it comes to educating our children. They see the obstacles faced everyday, such as lack of supplies, lack of technology, lack of parent involvement, lack of student skills, lack of space and lack of respect.

Why is education the only field that is allowed to be headed by non-educators — remember Cathie Black? Would we intrust a hospital to be headed by an editor?

If Bloomberg really wants to help our children, then maybe he should speak with teachers. And for those bad teachers you refer to, ask yourself how they were allowed to be tenured. It was because a supervisor didn’t do his or her job!

Tiffany Rios

To the editor,

Gov. Cuomo has recommended an evaluation system for teachers. Why is it that every politician forgets that teachers can do just so much.

It is up to the parents to reinforce what the teachers do. It is up to the parents to be part of their child’s education. It is up to the parents to be sure that their child’s homework and studying are completed. There should be an evaluation system for the parents as well. Without the parent’s participation, the a teacher’s chances of success are greatly diminished.

Ronald Cohen

Gravesend

To the editor,

I heard the following commercial on radio: “Our members do an excellent job, despite working longer hours and being subject to increased violence.” The commercial came from Norman Seabrook of the Correction Officers Union.

This message could have easily come from teachers in the public school system.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

To the editor,

Mayor Bloomberg seems to think the reason for failing schools and students are the teachers. I disagree. There are good, bad and some in between, but I would think that most of the 75,000 teachers in the city are above average. Of the 33 failing schools, how many are in predominately minority areas where there are one-parent households, where they either don’t have the time or the inclination to give their child the proper tutelage to succeed in school? The teacher sets the basis for learning, and the rest is up to the student and parents or guardian to continue the education process by following up with the child’s progress.

I would venture to guess that in most cases children are basically on their own when it comes to their studies and homework, and their parents are totally unaware of their academics.

Parents should be asked when was the last time you checked your child’s homework? When was the last open school meeting you attended? When was the last time you returned a teachers phone call?

It’s not all the teacher’s fault little Johnny is failing, and it’s not all little Johnny’s fault either. Some of the fault lies with parents.

Cronin Miller

Midwood

Lou’s Greenfield ‘pow’

To the editor,

Being the target of public criticism is a fair and expected reality of holding elected office. However, to paraphrase the late great Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, while people are entitled to their own opinions they are not entitled to their own facts.

Please allow me to set the record straight regarding Lou Powsner’s recent inaccurate claims that I have ignored the Bensonhurst portion of my district (“Gerrymandered Bensonhurst lacks leadership,” Speak Out, online, Jan. 10). The fact is that nothing could be further from the truth. No matter how you measure it — meetings attended, constituent cases handled, local group funded or services provided — I have worked hard each and every day to deliver for every corner of the 44th District, including the portion of Bensonhurst that I am privileged to represent.

In the less than two years I have held office, I have allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to numerous Bensonhurst civic, community, cultural, educational and athletic organizations which play a vital role in making it a great place to live. Either a representative or I have attended countless important civic meetings in the community, including every single community board meeting since I was elected to office. In addition, I have fought on behalf of Bensonhurst residents on issues such as keeping our senior centers open and maintaining our quality of life. In fact, I am currently leading the fight to increase the parking spaces in the development of a nine-story medical office on 61st Street and Bay Parkway. Finally, my office has resolved hundreds of constituent complaints, ranging from potholes that need to be filled to government agencies that are not responsive. One such complaint is the one that was filed by Lou Powsner.

As my office has told him on numerous occasions, we have been promised by the Department of Transportation that the stretch of road from McDonald Avenue to Ocean Parkway on Avenue P will be repaved when the repaving season starts again in the spring.

The fact is that I have worked hard on behalf of the people of Bensonhurst every day since taking office, and that work is reflected throughout my district.

Councilman David Greenfield (D–Bensonhurst-Midwood)

‘Correct’ Stan

To the editor,

Stanley Gershbein (“It’s Only My Opinion”) is totally correct — Occupy Wall Street protesters should be concerned with their elected officials (“1, 2, 4, what are they fighting for?” Dec. 5, online). They should leave Zuccotti Park and seek the right help that we all need, and go to Capitol Hill where the true power lives and lies.

Also, Ernesto Cavalier of Marine Park is so right (“No to N-word,” Letters to the Editor,” Jan. 19).

Jay Z should be cleaning up his rappin’ now that his daughter has arrived. Before this blessed event, he was setting a bad example for the younger fans who don’t need to use and sing the slurs to make a point for a cool few million!

Baby Daddy has to use other good sounds now besides Blue Ivy’s cooing!

Francine Danza

Mill Basin

Larry’s ‘wrong’

To the editor,

Larry Penner has it wrong (“Nadler’s blues,” Letters to the Editor, Dec. 22). He complains that Occupy Wall Street cost millions of taxpayer dollars in overtime for cops, and that their reassignment may have caused more crime.

The police over-reacted. The protesters were not violent, and only a small number of cops were needed. They were in riot gear, but the protesters didn’t riot. They were peaceful.

The Constitution says that we have the right to peacefully assemble to address grievances. According to the recent census, half of all Americans live in poverty or are scraping by. Income disparity is real!

Jerome Frank

Coney Island

Food ‘stamp’

To the editor,

I can’t for the life of me understand why some people still support food stamps finger imaging, even though it is such a waste of tax dollars that 48 states either never tried it or, eliminated it, as Texas recently did (“Stamp out fraud with finger printing,” Not for Nuthin’ by Joanna DelBuono, Jan. 12).

Mountains of evidence indicates that the other 48 states are equally — or more — effective at preventing fraud and eliminating duplicate cases in the Food Stamp Program through far less costly and intrusive measures. I’d love to hear why you insist on wasting tax dollars on a less effective system.

Even the New York Post has admitted that some applicants are forced go to a city office just to provide a finger image. You forgot to mention that the wait time at these offices is usually hours. Even though some offices are open on Saturday, some food stamps recipients in the city work one or two jobs, sometimes six days a week. Why in the world do you want people to have to take off work — often losing wages — to engage in a political Kabuki dance of spending hours to provide a finger image that doesn’t detect fraud any better than processes in other states that don’t require office visits?

I thought conservatives were for less government intrusion into people’s lives — or is that dictum waived for poor people? There is a fraud-detection process encouraged by United States Department of Agriculture (and supported by advocates such as myself) that the city has failed to use. Commissioner Doar recently admitted in a City Council hearing that the city apparently has not taken the agency’s advice to match New York’s food stamps benefits roles versus neighboring states for potential duplicates. So the city has clung to an expensive system that doesn’t work and has not taken a simple, cheap step that does work.

That provides further proof that this is not truly about fraud-prevention, but is actually about demonizing poor people.

Joel Berg

The writer is executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

Hate bias

To the editor,

I was wondering what determines a hate crime in New York “Bias hate paint,” Jan. 18). Does the criteria differ from one neighborhood to another — or one race or another?

I ask this because the Police Department recently claimed that car burnings and the swastikas, and “kill the Jews graffiti” all around the Jewish area of Midwood didn’t appear to be a hate crime.

What then would? I’m afraid to ask.

Maureen Parker

Sheepshead Bay

Blue tone

To the editor,

I guess Anthony Malkin, the owner of the Empire State Building, has more respect for the New York Giants than he has for Mother Theresa. He wouldn’t put the blue lights on to honor her 100th birthday, but he had no problem putting on the blue lights for a football team.

Sure hope God is a Giants fan for his sake.

Peter Orsi

Marine Park

Golden irony

To the editor,

Gov. Cuomo delivered a strong and inspired State of the State address, recapping the significant successes of his first year in office and outlining a vision for the future of New York that all New Yorkers can support.

It hit all the right notes on issues that matter to our neighborhood — reviving our economy, strengthening our schools, reinvesting in our transportation system, and giving New Yorkers the honest and transparent government they deserve. But, state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) strangely chose to criticize the governor for being weak on public safety, despite the fact that Cuomo has proposed expanding the DNA database to cover all crimes, among other initiatives.

Sen. Golden’s criticism is ironic because he was curiously absent from the Senate chamber last year during a vote on a critical bill that would have helped our police officers investigate incidents of gun violence — clearly a top issue of public safety.

We can’t settle for just one good year in Albany. There’s still a lot to be done to fix the political dysfunction of the past decade. Our elected officials should be working with Gov. Cuomo to get New York back on track, instead of offering empty criticisms.

Andrew Gounardes

Bay Ridge

‘Rainbow’ family

To the editor,

The Rainbow Heights Club in Flatbush is a great place for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community living with mental illness.

It’s the best day treatment program I’ve ever been to with intelligent, socially mature and sexually tolerant individuals.

I feel very comfortable and relaxed there without feeling as if I have to conform to anything. I like the staff and members who are exceptional and a pleasure to be around.

This is the closest I’ve ever come to being “outside” the mental health system.

Sebastian Casalenova

Bath Beach

‘I don’t’

To the editor,

The concept of holy matrimony was sacred and meaningful years ago. Now, it’s no more than over-rated crock!

These days, there are simply too many cases of infidelity, resulting in painful divorces within six months to a year — tops. In startling contrast, same-sex marriages tend to last longer than heterosexual ones because those couples can relate better to each other on both an intimate and a social level.

As for the issue of reproduction — our planet has enough occupants already!

Sebastian Casalenova

Bath Beach

Quinn-tessential pork

To the editor,

To the victor goes the spoils! The practice, started by her predecessors, continues with City Council Speaker Christine Quin.

She issued checks for 50 percent of each member’s annual awarded lulus of between $4,000 to $28,000 per year, on top of a $112,000 base salary, to her loyal members for chairing a Council Committee or subcommittee. The base salary plus lulu is three times what average constituents earns for a job officially classified as part time.

Hard working municipal civil servant employees and most ordinary New Yorkers would never see such treats from their respective employers. Perhaps Quinn will host a ceremony when issuing the remaining balance of lulus in July to coincide with the completion of the renovated City Council chambers.

Construction began in 2007 with an original cost estimate below $50 million and a completion date of 2009. In 2008, the first of a series of cost overruns raised the price tag to $65 million. The bills for both a final price tag of $123.8 million and completion date of July 2012 along with all the lulus are paid by your hard earned tax dollars.

Council members have staff to also drive them around town and private parking privileges at City Hall. I wonder how many ever considered using mass transit for commuting to work, such as millions of their constituents do on a daily basis? Do any of them have a Metro Card and use it on a regular basis? Check out the parking lot at City Hall when the council is in session and see for yourself.

Nine percent of eight million New Yorkers are still out of work, and there are many public-minded citizens, besides the current 51 members, with the knowledge and wisdom to perform their jobs at a fraction of the cost. Many would gladly serve and show up for work full time without all the perks of office for $112,000 per year — minus all the traditional insiders lulus or other benefits ordinary New Yorkers can only dream about.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

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