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Letter: Put video cameras on school buses

The arrest of Richard Mason on the charge of third-degree assault and acting in a manner to injure a child underscores the need for New York State Senate Bill A24-2013 to become law ["Cops: Bus aide hurt boy," News, Oct. 4].

This legislation proposes that all New York school buses be equipped with cameras to record the actions of occupants during transportation of students. This would provide an impartial record of any incident.

The idea would benefit everyone: the children, parents, bus drivers and matrons, school districts and law-enforcement authorities. A camera may provide evidence that could prevent someone from being wrongfully convicted.

Gene Tyler Sendlewski, Calverton

U.S. workforce at global disadvantage

The American education system needs a complete overhaul based on multiple worldwide surveys. The article "U.S. adults can't keep up" [News, Oct. 9] shows American adults ranking 16th in reading and 21st in math. This is close to where American students K-12 rank worldwide -- 12th in reading and 26th in math.

Most of these adults are products of our schools. America is the wealthiest nation in the world, and we spend billions of dollars for this result? This is now a worldwide economy, and based on several studies, we are poorly prepared to compete.

Who can we blame for these terrible results? Our system of education needs to come to grips with reality. We taxpayers are not getting a reasonable return on our investment in America.

Perhaps we should begin to pay for performance. No added funding and no salary raises until America ranks in the top five worldwide. Performance needs to be evaluated by worldwide standards, and compensation for teachers should be based on those performance standards.

Richard Adrian, Huntington

Frustrated by gov't shutdown

The United States has cancer ["No compromise as default looms," News, Oct. 8]. What is cancer but the uncontrolled growth of a few malignant cells with a single-mindedness to kill itself and the entire body in which it lives. What are the actions, the philosophies of the Republican tea party but the exact same?

The tea party doesn't see itself as being a part of the whole, part of a nation. The tea party cancer is clueless that a house divided against itself will not stand; yet the party's members insist on dividing us.

JoAnn Sweezey, Huntington

The government shutdown and debt limit impasse unfortunately remind me of an exchange from the movie "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy."

An exasperated Bud Abbott asks of Lou Costello, "How stupid can you get?" To which Costello innocently replies, "How stupid do you want me to be?"

The difference is, beginning with House Speaker John Boehner, there are no innocents in Washington.

Clifford D. Glass, Rego Park

I can appreciate the writer's frustration at the government shutdown ["The political and the personal," Letters, Oct. 8]. But in all fairness, I have to correct his assertion that members of Congress retire with "extravagant benefits."

As a retired federal employee, I know that members of Congress retire with the same benefits as the rest of us, which are undeniably reasonable but hardly extravagant. These benefits are provided under the Civil Service Retirement System (of which I am a recipient), or, for those who were elected in the 1990s and after, the Federal Employees Retirement System.

Civil Service retirees receive no Social Security benefits other than those earned from outside employment, and then at a reduced rate. Federal Employees Retirement System participants receive a combination of federal pension and Social Security income.

Paul Jacobs, Huntington

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