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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, May 14, 2018

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

Reader Anne Carboni:

Reader Anne Carboni: "I find myself behind cars veering to the left and right, speeding up and slowing down, while the drivers talk or text on the phone." Photo Credit: iStock

Pot smoke? What about air pollution?

A letter writer expressed his fear that legalized marijuana will infringe his right “not to inhale” [“Consider the effects of legal marijuana,” April 30].

I was a lighting director for rock concerts in a theater in Passaic, New Jersey, in the 1970s and ’80s, and for concerts at Stony Brook University before that. I am allergic to marijuana, but managed to survive working in close quarters with thousands of pot-smoking people without getting high or experiencing ill effects.

Of much greater concern for our health and well-being is our right not to inhale air pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants, and not to drink water polluted by under-regulated businesses.

James Moyssiadis,Mount Sinai

Tests not best way to evaluate teachers

The New York law that requires basing teacher evaluations on student scores on state tests should be repealed [“‘Double tests’ debate,” News, May 8].

I was an English teacher for 33 years and found the tests wasteful of time and effort and not predictive of students’ abilities, nor of the excellence of their teachers.

Colleagues and I dreaded the days of testing, then scoring, compiling and discussing how scores should affect the future schedules of students. All of it was superfluous to our own evaluations of those we taught. To then use the scores as a basis for teacher ratings is frankly ignorant and misguided.

A teacher’s merit could better be judged by administrators’ observations, peer review, parental opinion and student estimation. Let teachers teach and be judged thereby.

Henry Cierski,Port Jefferson Station

Distracted drivers endanger many

I agree with the writer of the May 5 letter “Crashes? Focus on bigger road issues” [Just Sayin’].

Newsday is missing the big picture and needs to determine why so many cars crashed into commercial buildings, private homes, parked cars, pedestrians, fences, utility poles and trees, or end up in oncoming traffic lanes.

Distracted driving is the main culprit. Interview these drivers and publicize your findings so bad drivers can see themselves.

When I drive, I find myself behind cars veering to the left and right, speeding up and slowing down, while the drivers talk or text on the phone. These phones may be smart, but drivers aren’t.

Pedestrians enter roadways while looking at their precious phones instead of looking up to see my 4,000-pound SUV coming at them. The ultimate stupidity was a bicyclist cycling with no hands on his handlebars because he was texting!

Anne Carboni,

Manorville

Maryland schools get more bang for billions

The annual Long Island Index report shows us that there is no way to ensure our long-term prosperity without reducing school taxes [“Report: LI economy needs to grow faster,” News, April 20].

As much as we love local control, there is simply no need for so many school districts. We should work to consolidate districts while maintaining quality education. Economies of scale work for both business and government. They can work for our schools, too.

Look at Montgomery County, Maryland — an affluent Washington suburb and home to more than 1 million people. There is one school district for the entire county, with more than 161,000 students, compared with about 437,000 on Long Island in 124 separate districts. Its graduation rate is similar to Nassau and Suffolk, nearly 90 percent. Yet the school budget for the whole of Montgomery County for 2019 will be $2.59 billion, compared with Long Island’s $8.74 billion tax levy plus $3.21 billion in state aid. They spend less than two-thirds what we spend per pupil, with a similar cost of living.

We can still have great schools, but we must give up our outdated concept that school districts have to be small, local and inefficient — especially if we want our kids to remain on Long Island.

Peter E. Brill,

Fort Salonga

I just received a breakdown of my school budget, and my taxes will go up $500. This may cause another shortfall in my escrow account, and once again my mortgage payment will go up.

Then I thought, how many school district superintendents do we need?

In the Town of Huntington, we have seven school districts: Cold Spring Harbor, Elwood, Half Hollow Hills, Harborfields, Huntington, Northport-East Northport and South Huntington.

Do we really need seven superintendents, their assistants and the staffing that go along with it?

Four of the districts could be merged: Cold Spring Harbor with Huntington, and Elwood with Harborfields. Why should we support four small school districts when two large ones would make more fiscal sense?

Bernie Bienwald,Centerport

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