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Newsday letters for Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Terese Kinsley, chief of sustainability officer for the

Terese Kinsley, chief of sustainability officer for the Town of Huntington, with the town's Hybrid car, a Chevy Volt. The town is in the process of installing public charging stations for electric cars, Monday, April 3, 2017. Credit: Johnny Milano

Student ability and teacher evaluations

In response to “Use student tests to evaluate teachers” [Letters, May 9], I offer myself as an example of why this is a flawed system.

For nine years, I’ve taught an inclusion class in Regents chemistry. My district started this program to give special education students the opportunity to take a more challenging course. While I’ve been pleased to see most of the special education students pass the Regents test, if you compare their scores with students of my colleagues who teach honors and regular Regents classes, I appear to be a worse teacher.

On the other hand, I attended a workshop at Stony Brook University for chemistry teachers from all over the state. I worked with a teacher from a poor, rural district. I learned so much from her, yet when comparing her average student’s Regents grade to my students’, I look like a better teacher. Neither assessment is correct.

If you want to assess me, come to my classroom. Watch me interact with students, see our materials and labs. See who my students are as individuals, and see their growth from September to June.

Kathleen Dubuke, Farmingdale

Railroad board’s tasks are duplicative

I do not understand why the Railroad Retirement Board has not been disbanded and taken over by the Social Security Administration [“Disability re-approvals eyed,” News, May 16]. Most of their functions are duplicative, and the SSA seems to do a much better job weeding out fraudulent or questionable claims.

At one time, perhaps, a separate board best served both railroad employees and the public, but not now. This duplication of services is nothing more that a big waste of taxpayer money.

Gerald King, Deer Park

Praise for support of electric vehicles

Efforts to accommodate electric vehicles, such as those by the Town of Huntington, should be applauded, not denigrated [“Taxpayers shouldn’t fund this electricity,” Letters, April 24].

Charging stations are usually equipped with a payment portal where the user swipes a credit card.

In the event of electric vehicles owned by a municipality, it’s been shown by large public fleets that while the purchase price exceeds an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle, the total life-cycle costs of ownership are substantially lower. Maintenance and fuel costs are lower.

Also, what we don’t compute into the cost discussion are illnesses caused by air pollution from tailpipe fumes, plus the costs of climate change. In certain cases, grants that fund a charging station might require that the electricity be provided at no cost to users, which is intended as an incentive to adopt a transformative technology.

Finally, most of our electricity on Long Island is generated using natural gas produced in the United States. Gasoline is made with petroleum, much of which is imported from countries not friendly to American interests.

Rhea Courtney Bozic, Bay Shore

Editor’s note: The writer is an environmental scientist.

Skeptical about Trump tax cuts

President Donald Trump’s proposed income tax reform is unlikely to produce sufficient stimulation to our economy to offset the reduction in tax receipts [“Difficult to like tax plan so far,” Editorial, April 28]. This will lead to an increase in our deficit.

Here are some key ideas: Personal spending accounts for two-thirds of our economic activity. Income inequality in our country has worsened. The average American spends a larger percentage of disposable income than a wealthy person. A greater balance in wealth would generate more spending and make for a healthier economy.

While I share the view that reducing income tax rates will increase spending, produce jobs and ultimately raise tax receipts, I would propose a different approach for the wealthy. We should increase their tax rates.

If we don’t raise taxes on the wealthy, that money in their pockets will go toward increased investments, not spending. I would also expect that the economic stimulation resulting from the rest of the population would improve investment portfolios for the wealthy and more than offset their increased taxation.

I believe this approach would be a step toward balancing the budget and possibly adding balance to the distribution of wealth.

Robert Biancardi, Rockville Centre