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Letter: Parents respond to 'My Pretty Pony'

I am responding to "Tiger parents -- and their opposites" [Opinion, March 26], regarding refusals to take standardized tests. A year ago, this column would have echoed some of my very own sentiments.

I am tired of a generation of parents who believe their role is to make life easy for their child. Although I was not impressed with the Common Core standards, my husband and I thought that our job was to change that with letters to and discussions with our legislators. My daughter's job was to work hard in school, with continued respect for her teachers and value for education.

A year later, I am appalled. My husband, who is an MIT graduate, and I, with a master's of science degree, find it difficult to navigate her homework and ascertain exactly what is expected. Simple addition is no longer simple. Additional and unnecessary steps are required, without which an answer is deemed incorrect, even if the final number is correct.

Many parents, including me, are offended by the inaccurate and offensive label of "My Pretty Pony parents." Although there may be a small minority of parents who are refusing to have their children take the tests "to shield them from feelings of inadequacy," I have not come across any. Our decision to have our daughter refuse state testing is about not ceding our children's education to a secretive process that's without educational merit.

Valerie DiCaprio, Garden City

Columnist Lane Filler is just plain wrong. My fifth-grade twins will not be taking the Common Core standardized tests this year. And while I do not consider myself a tiger mom, I am certainly closer to that than My Pretty Pony.

My kids took the tests last year and did just fine. For me, it is not about their performance on the tests. I welcome the higher standards. But to implement this program all at once is damaging to kids who now think they aren't smart enough to get it.

Linking the results to teacher evaluations misaligns incentives and could have a negative impact on teacher-student relationships. There is also the high-handed and arrogant way the commissioner of education has handled feedback from parents and teachers.

This is the protest that is available to me, and I am taking it. My kids know, and will continue to know, that I expect academic excellence from them. They are not being shielded from anything except poor planning and implementation.

Laurie Ward, North Merrick

I have an idea for all those kids whose parents are allowing them to opt out of the state English language assessments: Let's give each one a trophy!

Jim Miraval, West Islip

Veterans tax break supported

My organization has no problem with a nonbinding referendum on the new school property tax reduction for veterans ["Get voter input on vets benefit," Editorial, March 26].

However, we hope that voters take the following into consideration: Veterans, and especially disabled veterans, are a small and shrinking percentage of the population. Therefore, although the costs in the early years may be significant, the cost over time will decrease.

The largest group of veterans, Vietnam veterans, like our predecessors, is fading away. Its average age is 65 or so. I hope that voters will remember that this small group of citizens is one reason that everyone is free to enjoy their homes.

John Rowan, Middle Village

Editor's note: The writer is national president of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Nation can afford extended benefits

Your article on long-term unemployed people was right on target ["LI's long-term unemployed hard times for thousdands," News, March 31]. It doesn't matter what the "unemployment rate" is; unemployment is a major problem on Long Island and throughout the entire nation.

Many people who have found jobs are earning much less than at the positions they lost. With respect to those who have not found work, as detailed in your article, the situation is even sadder.

Those who would be entitled to extended unemployment insurance are people who worked. If you never worked, you would not qualify for benefits. Shame on those members of Congress who refuse to help people who have worked and now cannot find work and face financial ruin.

I understand that we are sending financial aid to the Ukraine. Our nation can afford to help the long-term unemployed, too. It's politics standing in the way.

Clifford J. Watins, Commack

Outraged by top cop pay in Nassau

Another day, another revelation by Newsday that the Superior Officers Association, Police Benevolent Association, Detectives Association, district attorney's investigators are taking Nassau taxpayers to the cleaners ["Budget report: Nassau's top earners," News, March 31].

There is no one willing to stand up to these unions and say enough is enough. The unions continually want more and seem to feel that they are justified.

Do they know there are people who are starving and homeless on Long Island? Why do Nassau leaders continue to feed this insatiable beast? The greed is astonishing.

Judith Hanson, Fort Salonga