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Newsday letters to the editor for Thursday, July 5, 2018

Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Travel ban, 9/11 and religious freedom

How quickly some of us forget the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Let the naysayers and people with “Muslims welcome here” signs on their lawns complain all they want.

The truth is there’s nothing wrong with a travel ban for residents of countries that hate the United States and would love to cause us harm [“Travel ban upheld,” News, June 27] — not from airplanes this time, but by slamming into cyclists and pedestrians with vehicles on the ground.

People will never understand until a family member is killed by radical Islamist terrorists, as were my brother, Lt. David Halderman Jr., 342 other members of the New York City Fire Department, and more than 2,800 other people.

Michael Halderman, Holbrook

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired FDNY deputy chief.

When my Jewish ancestors fled religious persecution, they boarded ships for this extraordinary country — the only nation that offered all its citizens religious freedom. America!

My patriotism always has been inexorably linked to this fundamental freedom, and to the system of checks and balances that guaranteed it would never be taken away.

Now, we have a president who believes some neo-Nazis are good people and who has decreed Muslims aren’t welcome. Our system crumbled under his oppressive weight when the Supreme Court decided that checks and balances don’t apply here.

It’s a dark day for America.

Ellen Meister, Jericho

Editor's note: The letter by reader Ellen Meister has been corrected to eliminate text inadvertently added because of an editing error.

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Donald Trump’s travel ban, Nayyar Imam, president of the Long Island Muslim Alliance, said, “This is not the country I came to 36 years ago.”

With all respect to Imam and his organization, I totally agree. It changed forever on Sept. 11, 2001.

Brian Retus, Orient

Only one right answer for geometry question

I read with interest your June 23 news story “Scoring glitch in test,” regarding the issue of two correct answers for a question on the state Regents exam in geometry.

After working out the math myself, using two approaches, I got the same answer both times: 434 cubic inches. In fact, the other supposedly correct choice, 433, is not correct at all.

There is nothing ambiguous in the question. It is clear about what it is asking for. The only correct answer is 434.

Of course, I am speaking for myself, but I am very disappointed in the decision of state education officials to allow an incorrect answer to be accepted. It is unfair to students who gave the actual right answer.

The decline in math skills of many of our high school graduates is very apparent to those of us who encounter these students in college chemistry courses. The generosity shown here, as one educator put it, does nothing to improve that.

Neil Edwards, Huntington Station

Editor’s note: The writer is an adjunct associate professor of chemistry at LIU Post.

Question No. 31 on the Regents exam was a poor question because the answer depended on rounding. I didn’t round until the end, and I got 434 cubic inches.

I don’t see what the outrage is. The students have hours to take the test. The professor emeritus from Hofstra University quoted in your story said confusion over questions and answers could be stressful. Big deal! We baby students too much. I have graded hundreds of geometry Regents exams, if not thousands, and it has not been pretty. Some parts often are left blank. Who are the teachers teaching? If low scores are not due to misbehavior, then is it a lack of effort? I know, blame the teachers.

Tom Feeney, Franklin Square

Editor’s note: The writer taught math in New York City public schools for 10 years.

The glitch in the scoring of the geometry test isn’t the problem with the test, it’s with state school officials.

The problem is quite clear: Find the volume of a sphere given the circumference 29.5 inches, and round the answer to the nearest inch. By my calculation, 433 is not correct because 433 is not the nearest inch.

Granting credit for a wrong answer helps no one. State school officials should retract their erroneous pronouncement.

Craig Aarseth, Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is an engineer.

Why does a monopoly need to advertise?

In recent years, I have seen ads in Newsday for PSEG Long Island. One I saw June 28 on Page A28 talked about energy efficiency. PSEG has a monopoly on providing electricity under the Long Island Power Authority. It should not spend ratepayer money on advertising.

Larry Penny, Sag Harbor