Use wall money to rebuild Texas

I believe we should spend no money for any type of border wall. Those funds should go to help our fellow citizens in Texas and Louisiana in their time of need [“Challenges await Congress,” News, Sept. 4].

Also, Congress should take absolutely no action on tax reform until the complete release of the last 10 years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, including all schedules.

Jeffrey Myles Klein, Centereach

The benefits of education

Lane Filler’s column “Try killing them with kindness first” [Opinion, Aug. 23] suggested buying off the warring parties in Afghanistan with American largesse. He said it would be much cheaper, and maybe more effective, than financing an endless war of killing.

Why not apply this logic to America’s most devastated communities at home — the ones that are crime-ridden, drug-infested, blighted and destroyed.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Reasons for these conditions are desperation, lack of opportunity, few or poor job options and inferior education. These often result in incarceration for the men in the community. They get out and can’t get a job, can’t vote and then endure an endless cycle. They are lost to their families and society.

In New York, it costs something like $60,000 a year to keep a man in the prison system. It would cost about $5,000 a year to send him to a community college, where he could learn a valuable technical trade. Now he would have value to society.

This could happen with thousands of people in thousands of places. And slowly communities would change.

Bill Bernstein, Dix Hills

Editor’s note: The writer is a former professor of history and government at SUNY Canton.

LIRR diesel fumes endanger health

Patchogue is not the only town that has an issue with idling Long Island Rail Road diesel trains [“Shake, rattle and rail,” News, Aug. 21]. Speonk, Babylon, Port Jefferson, Greenport, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Jamaica and other areas are also affected by the noise and exhaust.

For more than eight years, I have campaigned without success to push the LIRR to reduce the impact of the noise and emissions from its diesel locomotives.

I have communicated with several state officials, and each time the LIRR has provided a lame reason, citing Public Authorities Law Section 1266 (8) for not stopping unnecessary idling of its diesel fleet. Basically, this law gives the LIRR the right to ignore local codes and regulations.

The World Health Organization states that diesel emissions cause lung cancer. It’s time to stop this runaway train and demand that the LIRR spend whatever is necessary to eliminate the noise and toxic fumes of its diesel fleet. This would improve the quality of life for everyone in its service area.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Bob Lorelli, Speonk

Teach students to deal with test stress

While Newsday’s editorial “The problem when test results provide few answers” [Aug. 27] identified the problem and consequences of the opt-out testing movement, it came up short on offering solutions.

Much has been done on the state level to quell some of the concerns of teachers unions, teachers and parents regarding this controversial matter. Using test results to differentiate and measure degrees of teacher effectiveness is clearly contrary to any union’s philosophy of “one for all and all for one.”

In addition, teachers show real concern regarding accountability and how it will affect tenure, teaching assignments and even compensation. Understandably, the unions’ and teachers’ concerns are embedded in a tradition and culture that will take time to change. Their voices must be heard as consensus is built toward a resolution.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

More difficult to understand are the parents who keep their children from taking annual standardized state tests. While I’m sure they mean well, they might be doing their children a disservice. We hear about the unnecessary stress of test-taking, for example, but there is an alternative. Parents should work with school officials to help students manage stressors. Stressors, at all ages, are a real part of life and dealing with them helps us grow and mature.

Philip Cicero, North Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired superintendent of schools.