Not for Nuthin,’ but Jo-Jo’s in a class of her own!

To the editor,

Joanna DelBuono, you are banging your head against the wall (“Tenure Schmenur, something’s gotta give,” Not for Nuthin’, Feb. 8).

Nothing will change. The U.F.T. defends it’s “flunking teachers” to the hilt. They claim teachers are a powerful voting block. I disagree. Most teachers do not leave their school, then go to another school to vote. The union has every City Council politician in its hip pocket. It says jump and the council says, how high?

I do not believe in merit pay. Teachers, good or bad, are paid the same good salary. That has to change. Get rid of the bad teachers.

When I went to school, teachers dressed properly, no T-shirts, no dungarees, no ponytails down their backside. Teachers accumulated their sick days. Most young teachers now abuse their privilege.

Pope John XXIII often said, “Teaching is the noblest of professions.” Let us support Mayor Bloomberg in this effort and bring back the respect the profession once had.

Keep up your great writing. Maybe someday, lightning will strike.

Ugo Rosiello

Mill Basin

• • •

To the editor,

DelBuono’s column rehashes all the negative comments clueless non-educators have been saying for years. She makes a short token comment about “all the deserving hardworking teachers out there,” but follows it with more teacher bashing, complaining that teachers are “whining.” She obviously has never spent time in a classroom attempting to teach unfocused, disinterested students the basic skills. Try it sometime, Joanna. You might find yourself “whining” before too long.

No decent teacher who is dedicated to the students, wants an incompetent person teaching them. Let’s give the good teachers the credit for having the common sense to want their profession and their students’ education to be of the highest caliber. To side with the mayor and the governor is to put herself in the company of two insensitive politicians who also never spent a day teaching in the classroom. Don’t let parents off so easily. A teacher has a child for a relatively short period of time. If that child does not receive parental support, much of the skills and material taught in the classroom falls by the wayside.

How about highlighting the achievements of teachers who have succeeded in fulfilling their education goals? It’s too easy to follow others in the media who like to jump on the anti-union, anti-teacher bandwagon. Next time think before you write.

Joan Muscianisi

Old Mill Basin

• • •

To the editor:

I taught in elementary school for 35 years with consistently excellent ratings, am a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and am a Nationally Board Certified teacher. I feel eminently qualified to answer

Joanna DelBuono’s column.

Where did she get the idea that teachers work for six-and-a-half hours a day, and that’s it? I first got home and worked for an additional three to four hours on the next day’s lesson plans. During all those so-called vacation days, I read up on the latest education trends, and attended mandatory classes to improve my skills. I was certainly not alone in these additional work hours.

Most teachers are dedicated, caring professionals, and I am tired of people like you calling us whiners. You seem to love using hackneyed phrases, so here’s one for your collection: Until you walk a mile in my shoes, don’t judge me.” Until you have to deal with disinterested parents, who deliberately give you a non-working telephone number so you don’t bother them with details about

their children, don’t judge us. Until you deal with the disrespect on the part of the children, which is encouraged by the parents’ attitude that their child can do no wrong, don’t judge us. Until you have to deal with an administration which in many cases is unprepared to administer, don’t judge us. And until you are prepared to teach nothing but test-taking skills, which is mandated by today’s culture of “testing instead of creativity in teaching,” don’t judge us.

Learning used to be fun, and that’s what you remember from your childhood. That’s not the way it is allowed to be today. Making a blanket statement like “teachers are providing sub-par educations,” is inane. Yes, there are bad teachers and they deserve to be fired when justified, tenured or not. There are bad people in every profession, but don’t denigrate the huge majority of teachers who do their very best under the worst of circumstances.

Harriet Litvack


• • •

To the editor,

You are one of many who have fallen for Mayor Bloomberg’s New York City School System. The disaster of our schools under this mayor is worse than Gen. Sherman’s destructive march throughout Georgia during the Civil War.

Please obtain a license and start teaching in one of our many Schools Under Registration Review schools. Enjoy the pleasure of being cursed at, desks flying, urination and defecation in the radiators and stairwells, the constant fighting, disruptive children who are terribly misplaced, parents who refuse to sign for special education placement, uncaring and inept administrators, and parents who will fight you at every step of the way. You have fallen under the spell of Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to destroy the U.F.T. Without tenure, teachers would be at the mercy of some vicious principals. During my 33 years in the public school system, I taught in a school where the new principal announced that she would drive every Jewish teacher out from the building. She eventually did and no one did a thing about it. If a principal disagrees with a teacher’s pedagogical philosophy, that principal will seek to drive the teacher out. Tenure is not a life-time guarantee. Tenured teachers may be removed through the 320-A process.

The media doesn’t complain about the need for 600 schools, excessed teachers being used as substitutes, outrageous class sizes, principals from the Leadership Academy who never taught, but are rating teachers.

I taught in District 17 for 19 years before transferring to District 21 in 1988. I was there until my retirement in 2001. Were you aware that for many years there were never any vacancies in Districts 21 and 22? This was reported on the official U.F.T. transfer list. This finally had to stop when transferring to maintain racial balance came in. Despite the fact that Districts 21 and 22 refused to list their vacancies, there were such vacancies as retiring teachers were being honored by the districts each June. Now, with U.F.T. seniority transfer a thing of the past, thanks to Bloomberg, we have the same favoritism, nepotism, cronyism again.

Let’s report the other side of education. Let’s tell the truth about what is going on. Let’s discuss the double standard that exists among supervisors and teachers. Why have the last several chancellors needed waivers to secure their positions? A teacher doesn’t have this luxury.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

• • •

To the editor,

Your column had many inaccuracies. The most glaring one referred to the ”…average days worked in a year for educators being 180. And, the fact that it’s not even a full eight-hour day. With lunch, study, and break periods, the average teacher teaches about a six and one-half hour day.”

Let me set you straight. Ten years ago, my son, who was living me at the time, became a teacher. He came home from school after teaching, went into his room, and I did not see him re-appear until at least 8 pm. Unfortunately, most people don’t see what goes on behind the scenes, including lesson planning, test grading, researching ways to make the lesson more interesting, and grading homework. So, when teachers leave the building after their “six and one -half hour day,” they go home and do at least another four hours of preparation.

In your “mea culpa” to all the deserving, hardworking teachers out there,” you still state that “you are amply compensated so stop whining.” Bad comment! Teachers who used to have respect from families of students, because of comments like yours, no longer gain that respect. I do admit, there are some teachers who do not put as much into their teaching as they should, however, don’t let the ones who do, take in all the negativity you are spewing.

My son, and teachers I’ve worked with, are deserving of much more than they are receiving, but the main thing is their job does not stop when they go home.

Rita Leslie

Sheepshead Bay

Buggin’ out

To the editor,

Carmine Santa Maria, I enjoy reading your columns (“Big Screecher”), and try not miss any.

You are really a down-to-earth columnist. I can’t leave out Shavana Abruzzo (“A Britisher’s View”), Stanley Gershbein (“It’s Only My Opinion”) and Joanna DelBuono (“Not for Nuthin’”).

Bed bugs are not a subject anyone feels comfortable with (“Carmine’s had it with bedbugs! Not that he’s actually had them,” online, Jan. 28). As you said, they don’t affect people who are not very neat or people who check their homes with a white glove for cleanliness. They do not discriminate between wealthy and poor.

My son and I are self-employed pest control operators, and we’ve spent more than $3,000 on one piece of equipment alone and sent our employees to learn about these invaders of our castles. Carmine, bedbugs are picked up in hotels, school clothes closets, trains, sardine-packed subway cars and on aircraft seats. I’ve been in this business since 1968 and until a few years ago had never heard of them.

Prior to the scourge of bedbugs, we thought illnesses such as breast cancer were caused by pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency began removing two or three basic pesticides, leaving us with one basic insecticide — pyrethroid, a natural plant derivative. We normally spray moldings behind and under furniture and appliances in a steady, uninterrupted stream, so as the insect goes from place to place, it will pick up the material and slowly die.

The Department of Environmental Protection says only spray a little here or a little there, leading to an incomplete job in my opinion. We also place materials in the walls, under dressers, behind drawers, mirrors, picture frames, under chairs and any place where even one bedbug can hide. We try to get them all — one miss and all for nothing.

At the end of the year, we send a list to Albany of every home, business, institution and other locations that we’ve sprayed, along with their addresses, amount of spray used, percentage of mixture used, and other particulars — or else we receive a heavy fine. With all of this, there is still no proof that pesticides cause breast cancer. Wow!

Mike Baglivo


News muse

To the editor,

The New York Times just raised its price from $2.00 to $2.50. Several years ago, it received favorable eminent domain, zoning, regulatory and tax relief to assist in covering relocation costs to its new mid-town Manhattan offices. The New York State Empire State Development Corporation also granted it a $1.25 million grant to pay for expansion of its Queens printing facility.

As a teenager in the 1960’s, I can still remember being able to buy four newspapers for less than a dollar — and getting change back. I still remember the original daily Long Island Press and Long Island Star Journal, which suspended publication decades ago. There were actually 12 daily newspapers published in the Big Apple prior to the city’s 1962 newspaper strike, which resulted in the closing or consolidation of several papers.

At the end of the day, increasing newsstand prices, shrinking content, reduction in actual newsprint size or favorable government subsidies will not be the determining factor for the survival of all daily newspapers. We live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available for any citizen to access. Most American cities and suburbs, however, are sadly down to one local daily or weekly newspaper.

Most papers have to deal with continued increasing costs and competitors from surrounding suburbs and across the nation, including all-news radio stations, local independent news broadcasts and cable news stations. Many get breaking news from the Internet. This is stale when reaching print the next day. Also, new immigrants support their own media.

These financial challenges have resulted in less resources being devoted to investigative reporting, and a greater reliance on wire service stories. As a result, original newspaper content continues to diminish, putting more pressure on reporters and making it more difficult to provide real detailed coverage of local news.

Neighborhood weekly newspapers, including this one, provide the type of coverage usually overlooked by other media. In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone — regardless of cost.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

‘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

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

Shedding light

To the editor

There is a dangerous traffic light on the corner of Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue in Manhattan Beach. It blinks red on one side and yellow on the other. Drivers never know when to go or stop. It is controllable by a button to allow pedestrians cross for about five seconds. There have been numerous accidents at the corner, and last year a young boy was killed by a speeding bus.

Speed bumps and cameras will not correct this situation, and according to the Department of Transportation, it is the worst traffic light in Brooklyn.

Norman Smith

Manhattan Beach

True blue freedom

To the editor,

American empires were built with blood, sweat, tears and fossil fuels! Freedom must be guarded and protected or it ebbs away like the tide.

The best sailors and soldiers on the planet have overthrown tyrants, liberated the oppressed, rescued the lost and kept the American way of life alive. The Rev. John WInthrop’s vision in 1630 was “a shining city on a hill” that the entire world could see as a beacon of light and liberty.

When 55 delegates met in Philadelphia in June 1787, they were charged with the task of improving upon the Articles of Confederation that garnered 13 wayward and capricious colonies for 11 years. A compromise, known as the Virginia Plan, would help found a nation, and draft the U.S Constitution, our second document.

Today, the American left and Socialist renegades have pushed our Constitution aside. President Obama decided to attack Libya without the approval or consent of Congress. Instead, he went to the U.N. Security Council to announce his half-baked plan. Are Libyans freer today or better off? The flagpole at the Benghazi courthouse sports the al Qaeda black flag that says in Arabic, “There is no God but Allah.”

Tod Davis

Marine Park

Education 101

To the editor,

You have never run articles lauding teachers, especially those teaching in difficult schools.

You have never spoken about the problems of class sizes, the need for the 600 school concept for disruptive children, the fact that we have principals from the Leadership Academy rating teachers when they themselves have never taught, uncooperative parents ready to battle the teacher at every step, and the city’s refusal to use excessed teachers to teach classes so as to lower class sizes. Instead, these duly licensed teachers have been relegated to substitute status. I haven’t heard you mention that the while the mayor proposes merit pay, there is no money to lower class size.

You are quick to point out that certain teachers assaulted students, but you never report when a teacher is assaulted on a daily basis by a student. The number of teachers are out due to being assaulted on the job is shocking.

I never hear you write about the fact that teachers spend their own money for supplies since the latter is lacking in so many schools. I never hear you praising teachers for coming in earlier to decorate their rooms in August, when school is not officially in session. You never mention the dedicated men and women who work with children after the school day, or those who make home visits on their own time to the homes of problem students.

All your paper does is knock teachers. Why do you refuse to look at the other side of education? Why is it always the teachers fault?

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

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