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Few Clouds 48° Good Afternoon

Letter: Executions must be handled justly

Like a recent letter writer, I will not be losing any sleep over the death of inmate Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma ["Botched execution served justice," May 6].

However, I think the controversy over his mishandled execution does deserve some attention.

It's not enough to say that his bungled death at the hands of the state is "justice served."

If the death penalty is the law of the land, and a state chooses to enforce it, that state has the obligation -- constitutionally, legally and morally -- to carry it out in a competent manner.

Oklahoma should be in the business of dispensing justice, not retribution.

William DeMers, Massapequa

Opt for LaGuardia because of prices

I agree with the letter about airfares at Long Island MacArthur Airport ["Airport's woes found in prices," May 5]. My wife and I fly from West Palm Beach in south Florida to Long Island frequently. We have one family member who can pick us up at LaGuardia Airport and another who can pick us up at MacArthur. Usually, we wind up going to LaGuardia because the flights are less expensive -- sometimes considerably less -- and we have more nonstop flights to choose from.

Howard Ginsburg, St. Lucie West, Fla.

Economists' views on exporting oil

Would E.F. Schumacher, the author of "Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered," have agreed with the majority of economists who say the United States would benefit from increased fuel exports ["Economists in poll favor more U.S. oil, natural gas exports," Business, April 30]?

Public health costs resulting from extraction and use of fossil fuels -- even those touted as "clean" natural gas or that oxymoron, "sweet" crude -- would certainly have entered into Schumacher's calculations. Some risks include cancer, asthma, miscarriage, burns, genetic mutations and death.

The cost of maintaining obsolete energy systems rather than mandating forward-looking plans for renewables would have been considered by Schumacher, as would the cost to the natural environment. Your article reports only one reason given by the dissenting economists: Increased exports could make it more expensive for people to heat their homes and fill up their cars.

Schumacher would remind us that it is the people who matter, not only their pocketbooks.

Gladys Paulsen, Huntington Station

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Sierra Club.

Teachers contract hurts unionism

I'm a retired New York City teacher who gains with this new contract, but I will vote no ["NYC union leaders back teachers pact," News, May 3].

Extra money is not good when the cost of getting it is too high. This contract is bad for working teachers because 200 schools will not have to follow union rules.

This sets a precedent to end unionism all together. The provision for merit bonuses is also bad. They will never be distributed justly and fairly.

I know of one administrator who rated all her new teachers "highly developed" and most of her senior teachers "developing" or just "developed." The same administrator took half of her department out for an excursion, the half who jump when she tells them to. If few rewards are being given now, imagine what will happen when money is involved.

This administrator is inexperienced and has been teaching a very short time, yet this person makes monetary and career decisions for others.

The terms of sexual misconduct will be changed, and appear to state that even those proven innocent will not have a chance to return to their jobs.

Finally, there is no incentive for the absent teacher reserve to be returned to classrooms. I feel it is already decided they will be gone. Many are great teachers and are on reserve through no fault of their own.

No contract is better than a bad one.

Linda Silverman, Bellerose Manor

Editor's note: The writer taught math at Francis Lewis High School in Queens.

Educators given up on 'whole child'

We have failed our children big-time. In an article about interscholastic cheerleading, Long Island's member of the state Board of Regents said this is "a time when schools are being forced to give up physical education, music, art, social studies and foreign language" ["Cheerleading closer to sport," News, April 29].

The Regents have caused this momentous shift in the goals of education. No longer do we strive to nurture the growth and development of the whole child. The focus is now primarily on several subjects. Sad!

The involvement of politicians in our education system is turning into an outright disaster. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo accepted $700 million in Race to the Top money and instituted the Common Core standards immediately to further his own agenda rather than that of the children of New York State.

The president's Race to the Top program really has no interest in the well-rounded growth and development of our children.

Bob Kersch, Great River

Editor's note: The writer is a former teacher and a current school referee.