Letters (6/28-7/05)

Geniuses

You would not believe how many people I have had discussions with lately who knew everything.

Howard Harris
Bearsville

 

American Plutocracy

I’m so tired of hearing people say they hate the news and never watch it. I was at the gym, and just moments before hearing this comment, in a smaller room with its own TV, I had been watching the news. I saw hedge-fund manager Eric Hovde, Republican candidate for the Wisconsin Senate, saying to a reporter “Stop always writing about, ‘Oh the person

couldn’t get, you know, their food stamps or this or that.’ You know, I saw something the other day — it’s like another sob story, and I’m like, ‘But what about what’s happening to the country (referring to the national debt) and the country as a whole?’ That’s going to devastate everybody.”

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Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but it’s not just a coincidence that civics is no longer taught in our schools, that whether you voteRepublican or Democrat, you can’t vote out the Federal Reserve, that now only five huge corporations control the majority of U.S. media and that our new homeland security police force is being equipped like alien invaders. While you’re not watching the news, your democracy has become a plutocracy, and your American dream has become a nightmare.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” — Albert Einstein

Amanda Montgomery
Woodstock

 

Kingston Elementary Closures Premature

Right sizing the Kingston City School District through restructuring seems a worthy endeavor for reducing our expenses. And, while the painful process of closing schools may be necessary to accomplish this I find a 2013-2014 target date for additional elementary school closures to be premature.

A capital improvement plan for a major revamp of the high school campus being brought to the school board’s table in the very near future raises questions regarding a reduction in the capacity of buildings and grounds and disruptions to the learning environment.

What percentage of the buildings will be out of commission and for how long during this overhaul? How many students will be displaced and where will we put them?

I attended KHS during major renovations in the 1960’s and I will tell you I did not find the noise, the dust and the split sessions conducive to my education.

One of the goals of the improvement plan is to reconfigure the campus into smaller, more personal learning communities, modeled on what has been implemented in the Schenectady Schools, another city district serving a student population similar in size to Kingston. (See: https://www.schenectday.k12.ny.us )

With Superintendent Padalino, pointing out the need to minimize disruptions we should draw on another strategy Schenectady has implemented. They have returned all of their sixth grades and, in some cases, their 7th and 8th grades to their elementary schools. This was done because, “Studies have proven that other K-6 and K-8 schools across the country have had success decreasing discipline problems, improving attendance and improving test scores and grades.”

(See: www.aasa.org/SchoolAdministratorArticle.aspx?id=10396)

K-6 and K-8 models were not developed as options in the Kingston District restructuring plan. I find this to be short sighted. It would be wise and prudent for our school board to develop and consider these models before any more of our districts schools are closed.

Susan Wick
Saint Remy

 

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