Letter: Yet another test for new teachers

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As of May 1, teachers in training or those from other states seeking New York State certification will be tested using the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment, also known as edTPA. It is a model developed to provide a gauge of teacher readiness that few educators, administrators or higher-education personnel know much about.

With the edTPA, the state Education Department has found yet another vehicle for assessment. The department has been notorious for rolling out mandates before investigating methodology, exploring research and giving institutions of learning the time to prepare for new expectations.

Some critics believe that the edTPA misses the mark. Yet despite the criticism, this will soon become part of teacher preparation.

Is it possible that there is an ulterior motive to impose draconian measures without proper preparation? Are they trying to prove that the education system is failing, including colleges that train teachers? Are they trying to feed more money to companies with ties to education?

Joseph Coladonato, Bellmore

Editor's note: The writer is a teacher in the East Williston school district.

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'New' LIRR trains are now filthy

I was so happy when the Long Island Rail Road got new trains in 1999. They were a long time coming, and they were beautiful. It was about time we New Yorkers had something new and clean.

One of the few things I dislike about being a New Yorker is sometimes we are forced to endure filth. My last few trips on LIRR trains, I realized I was sitting in filth. Not filth from the inconsiderate people who disrespect our trains, but filth from lack of maintenance.

I know the LIRR has very expensive union help, and I know it's a powerful union, but someone has to clean and maintain these trains. Why did they let these trains fall into such disrepair in such a short time?

Thomas Gregoretti, Oceanside

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Ferries could offer LI alternative

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When I read about the potential strike by Long Island Rail Road workers, I wonder why we don't consider a transportation alternative: ferries ["Rail union rips MTA on talks," News, Feb. 22].

Most people on Long Island live less than five miles from navigable water. Ferries don't need rails, roads or thousands of employees. They are maneuverable and fast, and they work in blackouts and floods. In fact, they are working right now in the middle of this awful winter on the East and Hudson rivers.

A recent 3-year study by the New York Economic Development Corp., a city agency, shows that where there is a ferry port, there is economic revival in the form of jobs, land valuation and community development.

Ferries could also drastically cut down on greenhouse gases, and people enjoy commuting on a ferry over driving or taking the train. In fact, there is federal grant money available for communities to develop ferry ports.

James Warwick, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writer runs an advocacy organization, the Long Island Sound Waterways Association.

Wastewater system tech is unproven

We can agree that nitrates in our surface water are a problem and may be the cause of the brown tide and red tide in our bays ["Push for outfall pipe for Bay Park sewage," News, Jan. 31]. Politicians and environmental groups have proposed that the removal of nitrates from our sanitary systems will mitigate this problem, and are forming a wastewater commission, composed of appointed political members, to force the replacement of all existing sanitary systems within 1,000 feet of the surface waters.

That may sound simple, but on close analysis it is problematic. The removal of existing sanitary systems, especially for older homes, requires excavating and removing nearby trees, and possibly destroying driveways, patios and lawns. There would be about 80,000 homes affected, at a cost of up to $20,000 per home, to comply with these new rules. Most of those homes would be on the East End forks.

Removal of nitrates from individual sanitary systems is a very complex scientific and engineering problem, and at present, there is no proven way to remove nitrates from individual sanitary systems. There are some experimental systems, but they have not demonstrated effectiveness over the long term. You do not want to spend that kind of money and destroy all those yards without a proven long-term solution.

What is needed is a committee of scientists and engineers to resolve the technical and engineering problems first before a law is put into effect.

Joseph Fischetti, Southold

Editor's note: The writer is a civil engineer who designs sanitary systems.

School's a costly babysitting service

So there you have it folks! Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to keep New York City public schools open during the height of the Feb. 13 snowstorm, stating that parents had to go to work and needed a safe place for the kids to stay.

That sounds like the mayor is more concerned about the New York City Babysitting Service than the New York City Department of Education.

I agree with Al Roker. This mayor needs a serious reality check.

Rich Starkey, Wantagh

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