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Letters: Teachers are society's scapegoats

Bureaucrats and politicians are so far removed from the realities of the classroom, yet they dictate policy regarding teacher evaluations based on tests ["New evaluations are difficult to fail," Editorial, June 17]? Teachers have become the scapegoats for a society that is failing its children. Why are our kids falling behind?

Why don't we focus on the instability of family life in America? Why don't we understand that teachers are competing with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a whole host of technical distractions that were not present a generation ago?

A child today is more focused on his smartphone than on his education. A child today has no sense of classroom authority and the meaning of discipline. Their role models are pop stars and hip hop artists who glorify an anti-establishment mindset in their messages.

Children today have been empowered to believe that they can do whatever they choose, and society will make some excuse for their poor performance. So teachers are being evaluated for the failures of a society that has lost touch with the importance of academics.

Frank Lombardo, Kings Park

Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher.

Police body cams worth a test

The Nassau County police union president does not support for a body camera pilot program due to begin Aug. 1 because he wasn't consulted beforehand ["Try body cams in Nassau," Letters, June 7]!

I didn't know the police commissioner and chief of the department had to run their decisions by the union president. It seems to me that union leader James Carver's logic and promise of legal action are a silly waste of time, union dues and taxpayer dollars.

We know every police officer doesn't do the right thing each and every day. Look at some of the incidents of misbehavior in Nassau County over the past five years. I haven't traditionally been a unilateral supporter of policing programs, but one of the much sought-after effects of a pilot project like this could be the restoration of public confidence and trust in the police.

What does the police union president say about that?

Louis Cook, Woodbury

Denenberg sentence befits an elite

Whoever coined the phrase "crime doesn't pay" surely has not seen the recent story about the sentencing of a discredited county legislator, David Denenberg ["Jail for Denenberg," News, June 6].

He got a prison sentence of three months for stealing $2.3 million from a client. Would the judge have sentenced a non-politician thief to the same jail time and allowed him to spend the summer in freedom? I doubt it.

Gary Goldberg, Bellmore

A federal judge will allow former Nassau County Legis. David Denenberg to put off the start of his 90-day jail sentence for mail fraud until Sept. 1 so he can take his son back to college ["Jail for Denenberg," News, June 6]. Really? This special treatment makes me uncomfortable. What is happening to the court system? What message are we sending to future lawbreakers -- or, on a more personal level, the children and families of these people?

Charles J. Alfano, North Massapequa

Childless taxpayers deserve a break

A reader wrote about "blubbering" seniors and their reluctance to pay high school taxes, forgetting about when their children used the school system ["School taxes are a community investment," Letters, June 20].

This letter failed to address the many seniors who also pay obscene school taxes but never had children. While I agree that everybody should pay his or her fair share, there should be some consideration to senior homeowners who did not use the schools. Prehaps a discount or, even better, how about a school sales tax instead of property tax? With that, everybody pays.

William Devlin, Rockville Centre

Cross-endorsement ban good for voters

As a Suffolk County voter who turns out for all elections, I want to thank Suffolk Republican chairman John Jay Lavalle and the Suffolk GOP ["Cross-endorse ban alters landscape," News, June 7]. Allowing cross-endorsements has been unfair to those of us who want change in government.

Perhaps moves like this will have some impact on voter apathy. This is a good start, and maybe the political bosses will start to focus on the constituent for a change. Let's hope so.

Bob Hall, Port Jefferson Station