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Letter: Bilingual education is misunderstood

The letters published on Monday made it plain that the public doesn't understand bilingual education ["Separate languages divide the country"].

The aim of bilingual education is to teach in two languages. On Long Island, that means English and the native language of the student. You use the dominant language of the student to maintain his or her skills in subjects such as math, science and social studies, while the student spends much of the school day learning English.

As English skills improve, more instruction can be given in English. Students still supplement classroom teaching by learning English from their peers and the media. The perfect outcome is a student who is literate in both languages. Most students -- and their parents -- are eager to learn English so they can assimilate into life in the United States.

The second letter mentioned a fear that the Regents exams might be given in other languages. According to the state Education Department website, tests are available in nine languages. They were available in several languages when I started teaching in 1974. The available languages change as the student population changes.

My grandparents came from Poland and had to struggle to learn English. Bilingual education is meant to ease that struggle. Having more bilingual people in our population would be an asset in the global economy.

Kathleen Williams-Ging, Huntington Station

Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher with a master's degree is bilingual education.

Make companies pledge allegiance

An editorial about Burger King moving its headquarters out of the United States to avoid taxes pretty well summarized the major problem facing us ["Don't blame Burger King for ducking U.S. taxes," Aug. 27]. The editorial said such moves are justified because corporations are responsible only for getting the maximum return on investment for stockholders.

Since the corporate-friendly U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the rights of people, then corporations should take a pledge of allegiance to the United States, as we all do. That means that having used our infrastructure to build and grow, they wouldn't be able to close a profitable factory because they can make more money by moving the jobs overseas. Our jobs are leaving as the corporations, and the 1 percent that own the vast majority of stock, become wealthier.

Until we force corporations to act in our interest, the gap between superrich and everyone else will just keep growing. This isn't some unintended feature of capitalism; unrestricted capital will continue to accumulate at the top.

David Kulick, Flushing

Rice's fiancée should have left

The Ray Rice story has captured a lot of attention, but the real story is Janay Palmer ["Ravens refute report," Sports, Sept. 23]. She is a battered woman, yet she still married him.

Does she think the violence is going to stop? I know that a lot of women in abusive relationships are afraid to get help for fear of retaliation. But Palmer had the perfect opportunity to get out. Instead, she chose to get married.

In recent photos, she looks miserable. That marriage is doomed.

Doug Hadgeoff, Holbrook

Small dogs riding in vehicles

There seems to be a growing number of dog owners who feel they can drive around with their small dogs on their laps, sandwiched between themselves and their steering wheels.

How can drivers possibly react quickly with a dog in the way? I see it as a more serious driving offense than talking or texting on a phone.

Leon Adler, Sound Beach

Married men for part-time priesthood

Interesting article about the national convention on vocations to the Catholic priesthood being held locally ["Priests' forum tackles vocation," News, Sept. 21].

Here is my suggestion about the priest shortage -- yes, Bishop William Murphy, there is one. Allow married men to be ordained, but not as full-time priests living in rectories. Instead, ordain qualified men who could fill in on nights and weekends to help cover Masses and confessions and to offer seminars on pertinent topics.

Richard Lamb, Amityville

Embrace cell towers for better service

It seems to me everyone wants a cellphone and strong signals at all times, but nobody wants cell towers in their neighborhoods ["District bans towers," News, Sept. 15].

People can't have it both ways! These towers have to be placed somewhere. If it were in my neighborhood, I would jump on board. The towers represent revenue for the town and better signals.

Joseph Fasano, Massapequa Park