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Letters: Common Core complaints misread

I would like to offer a history lesson for columnist Lane Filler ["Tiger parents -- and their opposites," Opinion, March 26]. The United States was founded by people who challenged oppressive policies imposed by a nonrepresentative government. Filler belittles parents who've decided to hold their children out of state testing by claiming that they are shielding them "from feelings of inadequacy."

As one of those parents, I'm opting out my two children because I believe that these assessments are developmentally inappropriate, pedagogically untested and politically motivated. Our decision was not made lightly and included all members of the family in the discussion.

As a high school social studies teacher, I hope that opting out will teach my children to question the conventional wisdom imposed by others, become informed and act on their convictions.

Perhaps Filler should have interviewed parents who are opting out, instead of imagining ludicrous reasons why they are doing so. By investigating this discontent, he could have upheld the tradition of a free press that questions political and economic motives in the name of the ordinary people.

Henry Dircks, Bethpage

I have been teaching math and math education for 43 years. I have experienced several curriculum changes. The Common Core State Standards has been, by far, the most controversial.

The curriculum itself is not the problem! The focus on problem-solving and fluency, throughout grade levels and topics, is needed to prepare our children for the future. The problem, which any teacher could have predicted, is how the curriculum and assessments were rolled out.

Why did the powers that be not see this? Starting in prekindergarten, one grade level should have been introduced each year. In this way. by the time the students were tested in third grade, they would have experienced the new material and pedagogy.

It's time for the state to realize this and just start over!

Susan Smith, Baldwin

Editor's note: The writer taught for 32 years in the East Meadow school district and is now an associate professor of education at Molloy College.

Union wages push LI toward Detroit

It seems that Newsday regularly publishes the highest earners in various civil service jobs who work in Nassau and Suffolk counties ["Budget report: Nassau's top earners," News, March 31].

Whether police, sanitation or town workers, they all seem to be raking it in! Two words come to mind: binding arbitration. The politicians are positively frightened of it and then try to tell the voters that the deal they just made with the various unions was a good one.

The leaders of the towns and counties seldom get the current workers to contribute to their pensions or medical coverage. It's always the new hires -- that's if we can afford to hire anyone.

Feckless and frightened. Will Nasaau and Suffolk counties become Detroit?

Bob Andreocci, Huntington

We need the government to stop this bloated giveaway of our taxpayer money. Soon the Island will be composed of the very rich and the very poor. There will be no middle class anymore.

It is clear why there is a mass exodus from Long Island. I will be very sad to leave my birthplace and home for the last 60 years, but the cost of living here is just too high.

Steve Andersen


Light sentence in theft case

So, a person can get caught stealing $10,000 from group homes for the developmentally disabled, and the judge only makes her pay the money back and gives her a conditional discharge ["Guilty plea in $10,000 theft," News, April 1]?

I thought this was an April Fool's joke. What type of deterrent or punishment is this? Crime may not pay, but it obviously breaks even in this judge's courtroom.

Bob Ocon, Wading River

Defense of torture damages authority

The article "Report: Torture didn't lead to bin Laden" [News, April 1] should be a Page 1 story that further fuels national debate and is fully addressed in an exhaustive committee process on Capitol Hill.

When the CIA, an element of the most powerful government on the planet, holds that torture is effective in extracting useful information from the recalcitrant, this finding serves to justify torture for every other nation in the world.

When many Americans hold that torture is acceptable in some contexts, this validates the torture of U.S. military personnel by our adversaries. As long as the United States collectively ascribes itself to these propositions, it morally abdicates its role as the "world's cop" and incites its enemies to practice torture on our sons and daughters.

There can be only one outcome that will maintain our country's position as a global influence in the 21st century: The United States must empathically announce tomorrow that all torture in all contexts is morally reprehensible and will be treated as a crime against humanity. There is no middle ground.

William Binnie, Lake Grove