January 11, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Jan. 11, 2013


---- — Reducing comment

TO THE EDITOR: Our City Common Council has taken an approach to not listen to people that they have chosen to represent.

The comment that if people want to be heard they will attend another meeting saddens me that anyone would say such a thing over a concern. Because maybe the question arose throughout the meeting, and if a person came late maybe there is a reason. They simply cannot make it on time and never will be able to. So does not that mean we just ignore their concerns?

From what I have read, the answer is yes. Maybe you can get an answer or a comment from one of our council members when you have passion about an issue, and I quote, “You can come to a meeting, but we have ways to deal with people like you.” Not really sure what that meant, but I do know after that comment and reading the article that it meant they really don’t like to deal with the real issues if they don’t have to or that they simply don’t like confrontation.

If such is the case, then the answer is not to cancel important parts of a meeting or just follow the rules of order and allow the people you are supposed to represent to voice their concerns.

I truly believe that was the reason you all were elected: to accept the good conversation along with the bad.




Education reform

TO THE EDITOR: It is important to note that a summation of the report of a commission on improving education, recently submitted to the governor, appears on the very last news page of the Thursday, Jan. 3, edition of the Press Republican, just before the want ads.

Interestingly, the summary suggests that the commission and others were concerned about “culture in the country” and they suggested Finland as an exemplary example. They also point to Finland, a widely publicized leader in math and science scores, as having recruited into teaching the top 10 percent of college graduates.

The commission report recommends that another test must be developed for determining admission into the teaching arena and that a longer school day and year will help bring about improvements in public education.

What the commission report did not say is far more important than what was apparently said. Unlike the state of New York, Finland does not have standardized testing. They have less time in school than we do. They don’t try to prepare all students for college (whatever that means). They have more hands-on learning opportunities than anything suggested by the one-size-fits-all approach to curriculum and testing that we use in this state.

Unlike our schools, Finnish schools appear to be run on sound principles of learning.

Ask teachers how they feel about the current school culture established by the New York State Board of Regents and see if they think it is likely to encourage recruitment of any teacher, let alone the most talented ones.

Ask yourselves why the commission report did not make a full comparison between Finnish schools and those in New York state.


Professor of education, emeritus