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Letters: Ed reform an attack on unions

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo address a group during

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo address a group during a Rotary luncheon in Rochester, N.Y. Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Cuomo and many other Democrats favor changing the age of criminal responsibility to 18, meaning 16- and 17-year-olds would no longer be prosecuted as adults. Credit: AP

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's plan to fix our schools isn't designed, as he claims, to help students and teachers ["Cuomo's ed plans stall," News, March 24]. It's a plan to weaken teachers unions by proposing incentives that will ultimately cause discord among teachers and resentment between them and students.

Cuomo made his proposals to attract and keep good teachers. Keep in mind that New York already has certification requirements that are among the toughest in the country. Cuomo proposes:

Full scholarships to top graduates of teachers colleges who go on to serve five years in public schools.

A $20,000 bonus for teachers who perform to a higher standard. Bonuses have the potential to engender grievances and lawsuits by teachers, and to bring discord and resentment among teachers and between teachers and their union. Further, they promote teachers' disdain for students who aren't thought of as working hard enough.

Making it easier for districts to remove bad and failing teachers. Local school boards and districts already have methods in place. However, Cuomo is calling for students' performance on exams to count for 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation. Imagine the stress on teachers that would be caused by this evaluation plan!

This is a proposal designed to grab more control for Albany.

Stephen Vella, Ronkonkoma

I am appalled at how little our elected local and state representatives act on behalf of the people, but instead cater to the whims of the unions. The education system in this country is failing our next generation, and the elected people simply endorse what the unions want.

The educational unions want to do everything their way and have nobody looking over their shoulders to see what's wrong with the system. They have fought the Common Core standards, testing and ratings so that they can do as they want, good or bad.

Our students and graduates are just not acceptably prepared for the objective testing standards so badly needed to diagnose what is wrong with the education system. College entrants in so many places require remedial reading and math to reach the first ladder of college teaching, yet the professional educators and their unions see nothng wrong with that. They refuse to allow objective rating of teachers, yet they put out their subjective ratings showing nothing wrong -- but the product!

How can the elected representatives ignore what is going on, yet say they are doing their jobs?

William P. Tucker, Huntington


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