Letters (September 17-24)

mail-letter-sqDisgusted!

I use the word disgusted because it seems to fit perfectly when thinking about the Saugerties primary that took place on September 10. As a member of the Republican Committee I’m disgusted with our fellow Saugerties Republicans.

How is it that you vote against your values? You as Republicans had a choice to vote for the Republican candidate Santos Lopez or the Conservative candidate with the Republican support Angie Minew, and instead you wrote in Chris Allen. The Democratic candidate!

How does this happen? I think about this and begin to wonder. How? The only thing I can possibly come up with is that the system and the current politicians are corrupt. Because it certainly isn’t what Chris Allen does for Republicans. The politicians in Saugerties make back-door deals! You vote this way and I’ll promise you this in return. It’s plain disgusting. Here’s a question for all Republicans in Saugerties who supported the Democratic candidate. Where are your values? Did you sell them for something better? Did you trade them for a shiny diamond?

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I need to know because as a Republican my values and what I believe in are not for sale or trade! I wonder how you sleep at night knowing you went against everything you believe in.

“Disgusted” is the only word that fits.

Raymond C. Minew
Saugerties

 

Family overcomes powerlessness

Twice each year Family of Woodstock’s hotline offers its amazing training for volunteers. It’s that opportunity time again, with a twist! Family’s hotline volunteer training starts in late September and along with the essential listening and crisis intervention training for our phone and walk-in center volunteers we are adding a new piece– and a new service. It’s time to start opening our eyes to the huge number of people who text as their major form of communication.

Text crisis lines are new, and have been incredibly busy and effective in the past two years. Family will launch TextMeBack in early 2016, but we need our volunteers trained and working now.

If you think about how you might be more useful in our community and don’t know how, become a Family volunteer. If you want to truly listen to others with your mind and your heart, please call today to sign up for the next Family of Woodstock Volunteer Training!

Training covers the essentials of our new text line as well as the core of Family’s hotline and walk-in services . Modules include domestic violence, child abuse, mental health and substance abuse, adolescent issues, suicide and homelessness. You will learn active, compassionate listening skills and ways to connect with people in need.

Family offers a way to overcome the feeling of powerlessness we feel when we read the news. It is as simple as answering a phone call or text message at the moment someone reaches out. It is as direct as offering a cup of coffee and a bag of food to someone who is hungry. It takes skill and the amazing depth of resources Family has gathered over its 45 year history.

Call 679-2485 to find out more and schedule an interview. Bring a friend. I’ve been doing this for 35 years, and it’s still a treasured part of my life.

Susan Goldman
Woodstock

 

Overcome unresponsiveness

Simple enforcement of the municipal and safety codes would have had Clovelea made inaccessible to vandals and the elements decades ago. Institutional negligence and timidity is, however, the norm in the village. Question it and you’re branded a nuisance and a meddler.

So much is being done on the grass-roots level now to mollify this unresponsive attitude simply because so many know how bad this makes us appear to the larger world. The frustrated Mr. Moskowitz is right in asking for the help of the community. Our historic structures and districts are only protected by the attention of the community because those with official positions are so incapable of performing their duties.

Michael Sullivan Smith
Saugerties

 

Common Core bitter pill 

The Common Core curriculum that fails to adequately serve nearly two-thirds of children has been forced upon parents and teachers alike by appointees with absolutely zero accountability to the people whose future they are experimenting with.

Make no mistake that Common Core is an experiment, the extension of a case study in cost management called uniformity. It’s what allows the cost -cutting American businesses to pick up shop and transfer their operations to the lowest-cost locale; it’s what social engineers with aspirations for the next round of Great Society welfare programs salivate over when they scrub the tax numbers looking for money to divert to their peculiar social agendas.

These planners are bent on crafting a fungible, one-size- fits-all education, administered by technicians rather than teachers, in classrooms with “Ask Google” apps instead of books. Busting up teachers’ unions on the supply side and strangling off enrollment by destroying parent satisfaction on the demand side are the two prongs in a war on American education currently being fought. Parents, teachers and students are on the one side and un-elected bureaucrats on the other. Charter schools fit nicely into this model as a floodgate to pick up the slack from hamstrung public schools, but depending on the motivation and competence of the charter sponsor, that options often falls short as well.

The Reform Party of New York, originally conceived as the “Stop Common Core Party” by Rob Astorino, recognizes that the debacle of Common Core owes its roots to the insulation of decision-makers and centralized planners from the collective superior wisdom that happens when you enable individual choice. With individual teacher’s judgment replaced by rules and regulations down to the finest detail including how many seconds a child should be given to do X, Y, or Z, the renowned mechanism called the free market withers and dies.

All the highly vetted, glossy, statistics about education’s best practices cannot seem to account for the fact that the old way of doing things produced octogenarians who can still balance their check books or, in more than a few cases figure out interest and principal on a loan using nothing but a pencil and the back of an envelope. The old ways produced brilliant minds ranging from Thomas J. Watson (founder of IBM) to James Watson (co-discoverer of DNA). The new way of doing things teaches kids to rely on “the system” instead of learning to rely on what they know (substantial things that incidentally, used to be taught as matters of fact in school).

As for the subject of history, let’s just say that the new way of teaching “process” over “substance” is the revisionists’ dream when it comes to re-casting who were the good guys and who were the bad guys of our national history. Parents are told, “Don’t worry that it doesn’t look like the math/ science/ history you know…when the answer comes out the other end, it will be right.”

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Unfortunately the answer the kids are producing often is not right. Parents are told that its just a matter of time and fine tuning the curriculum machine, but children are not widgets, nor are they working prototypes of a hypothetical perfect “B” student who passes every subject, but excels at none with groundbreaking incite.

The aggregation of judgment that has guided our country since its founding, the democratic voice of people, knows better than to trust the future of our children to education policy wonks pondering how to get more for less in their ivy tower sanctuaries.

That is why I will proudly be running for town supervisor on the Reform Party line. As a conservative I believe even more generally that government should not dictate the finest grain of detail how we live our lives-from how much gas per mile our cars are allowed to use, to how many times a person’s weight must divide into their height before they are prodded into “weight re-education” and given a prescription of potentially deadly side effect diet pills.

Make no mistake; the potentially deadly side-effects of Common Core are there: namely, diversion of focus from teacher –student relationships to standardized testing results, the alienation of parent-voters, and the stifling of excellence in pursuit of a standard, reproducible result. An essential step in shutting down government encroachment into the most mundane details of private life is to shut down Common Core.

Gaetana Ciarlante
Candidate for Saugerties town supervisor
Conservative Party and Reform Party
Saugerties