Arts are as vital as any other discipline

It’s encouraging that the state Board of Regents voted unanimously to adopt comprehensive arts standards for pre-K through 12th grade [“A leap forward for arts,” Sept. 13, 2017].

By all accounts, the arts — music, visual, dance and theater — deserve equal standing in academia. Research and experience clearly demonstrate that the arts not only foster creativity, self-expression, independence and collaboration, but significantly strengthen cognitive skills. The arts enhance academic achievement and higher order thinking skills.

It is reassuring that school districts are restoring funds to music and art programs. What remains a disappointment is that in an age of setting high standards, New York State only recommends that elementary and intermediate level instruction be provided by certified arts teachers; otherwise, this is the responsibility of classroom teachers. It is time to recognize that the arts are as vital as any other discipline in a child’s education.

Fred Seiden, North Babylon

Editor’s note: The writer is treasurer of the Performing Arts Association of the North Babylon Schools.

Students need to see a range of subjects

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Regarding the Sept. 12 letter “Let students avoid least favorite subjects,” most people agree that not every person is cut out for academia. We absolutely need skilled, honest trades people. And those who lean toward that kind of work should be encouraged and guided to pursue their interests.

However, just because a student does not like a particular subject is no reason for him or her not to be exposed to and taught it. A child of 12 or even 16 has no idea what knowledge, information and skills he or she will need in the future.

Only by experiencing a wide range of subjects can students determine what is right for them. You never know which teacher will ignite a spark that will have a student go in a direction they never dreamed of before.

No one expects all students to use the exact, precise information they are taught. What they are learning is to think analytically, critically and creatively so that they can think for themselves. Remember, knowledge is power.

Penny Reich, Wantagh

Addict caregivers also need care

Nobody can deny that there is a raging drug epidemic on Long Island [“Massapequa leads Nassau in fatal ODs,” News, Sept. 15].

Sadly, a large percentage of Long Islanders can probably relate to addiction in some way — from a personal struggle, a family member’s struggle or knowledge of an acquaintance’s battle.

As a therapist, I have advice for parents, siblings, spouses, children, grandparents and friends. These people spend their time worrying, feeling guilty, being afraid and taking care of the addict. They have little time to think about themselves and their emotional, mental and physical health.

I dealt with a spouse struggling with addiction for many years. My addiction story ended much too soon, and my husband became a victim of his drug use. But in my recovery, I have been able to see that there is value in taking care of oneself.

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So, go to therapy, join a gym, take an art class. Sip your coffee for a bit longer than usual. Take a personal time-out. Cry. Yell. Ask for help, because it is out there. You are not alone.

Brandy Siani, Sayville

Drugmakers not to blame for abuse

The writer of “Get Big Pharma to pay for rehab” [Letters, Aug. 24] wants big pharmaceutical companies to pay for drug addicts’ rehabilitation costs. This must be a joke.

Those companies make those drugs to help people who really need them. If someone chooses to abuse them, that’s not the company’s fault. People are always looking for someone to blame for their problems, but they have no one to blame but themselves. People have to start taking responsibility for their own actions.

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Doug Hadgeoff, Holbrook