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Newsday letters to the editor for Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017

Mortimer Weiss, of the Bronx, left, is congratulated

Mortimer Weiss, of the Bronx, left, is congratulated by builder William Levitt on March 6, 1949, after Weiss received his number to purchase one of the model Levitt houses in Roslyn. Credit: Newsday / Ike Eichorn

Rigor in school is good for students

Once again, a move to increase the standards of an important mathematical subject are under fire because the resulting student scores dropped in the state Regents test in geometry [“Calls to lower passing grade,” News, July 17].

When international standings of the United States and other countries in science and mathematics are published, everyone is horrified at how many countries outrank us. Yet it seems every attempt to provide more rigor in our coursework meets opposition.

Frankly, there’s something wrong if our students could not correctly answer the sample question presented in the article or a family needed to spend $3,000 on tutoring. It’s also silly to expect that a 10th-grade Regents geometry score will significantly affect a student’s ability to get into college.

How about having our school districts devote as much energy to updating the rigor with which geometry is taught as they do to justifying the need to lower passing scores? And let’s have parents worry as much about the quality of what is being taught as they do about their students being stressed out by the challenge and having to always see grades of 90 or higher.

Howard Frauenberger, Malverne


A teacher quoted in Newsday’s article pointed out that, unlike other math exams, geometry does not call for the use of calculators. She said this “may explain the lower scores.”

I frequently encounter cashiers who cannot make change without a calculator, and each time I find the experience disappointing. Today’s youth are losing the ability to write, complete basic mathematical transactions, and communicate (except by text).

It appears to me that the problem is more with the new methods of developing our youth and less with the complexity of the tests they take.

Robert Biancardi, Rockville Centre


William Levitt was no model of virtue

President Donald Trump constructed a largely false image of William Levitt to fit his flawed narrative at the National Boy Scout Jamboree [“Trump lauds LI builder Levitt,” News, July 25]. Using this nonpolitical forum to further his image was a poor choice, but creating a fable about Levitt was equally disturbing.

Levitt did not drift off on his yacht, as Trump claimed. Rather, Levitt was retained by International Telephone and Telegraph Corp., which purchased his company, as a consultant. His financial trouble was caused by ITT’s stock price crashing — partly as a result of slowing home sales — and he was found to have illegally drawn millions of dollars from his family’s charitable foundation.

Levittown was indeed groundbreaking in postwar suburban growth, but it also adopted restrictive covenants prohibiting the sale of homes to African-Americans. His Strathmore development in Manhasset prohibited the sale of homes to Jews, although Levitt himself was Jewish.

He was a poor choice of a role model for today’s scouts.

Michael Seigel, Huntington


No more NIMBY on group homes

The article about AHRC Nassau, a nonprofit agency planning to open a group home for disabled adults in a Smithtown neighborhood, told of a not-in-my-backyard response from neighbors [“Group home concerns,” News, July 19].

Neighbors cite concerns about safety objections, parking and traffic.

As a society, we have evolved in so many ways, recognizing and welcoming many individuals who in the past were marginalized and even ostracized. And yet, more often than not, the prospect of opening a group home in a residential neighborhood still evokes NIMBY.

More than likely, there are people who have heard of or had less-than-pleasant experiences with group homes in their neighborhoods, but no doubt unpleasantness can exist in any neighborhood regardless of the IQ of its residents.

Hopefully as we continue to improve ourselves as humans, NIMBY will no longer rear its ugly head.

Susan Broderick, Bayside