Port Jefferson firefighters, from left, Shane Hartig, 18; Ryan Parmegiani,...

Port Jefferson firefighters, from left, Shane Hartig, 18; Ryan Parmegiani, 18; Andrew Patterson, 18; Hunter Volpi, 17; Peter Rizzo, 17; and Kasumi Layne-Stasik, 18, outside the Port Jefferson firehouse on June. 27. Credit: James Carbone

Don’t dump social studies exams

Some readers have written that schools should focus on the Constitution, arguing for the elimination of the 11th-grade U.S. History and Government Regents exam [“Schools should focus on U.S. Constitution,” Letters, June 20]. One reader suggested shelving the exam to focus on instruction on the Constitution, apparently unaware that most of the exam assesses student knowledge of the principles and impact of the Constitution.

As co-president of The Long Island Council for the Social Studies, which advocates for an emphasis on social studies instruction, I am deeply concerned about suggestions to eliminate the grade 11 exam and the grade 10 Global History and Geography Regents exam. These exams are designed to ensure that all New York State students are allowed to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for informed citizenship.

In 1996, the state Education Department established instruction in five areas — history of the United States and New York State, world history, geography, economics and civics — as the basis for the state social studies curriculum. The organization I represent will reaffirm our commitment to these areas at our conference in October. In so doing, we also will underscore the importance of the two Regents exams in preparing our students for effective citizenship

 — Gloria Sesso, Port Jefferson

Lifeline for LI? Don’t hold your breath

The editorial on the Long Island Expressway notes the need for some form of relief from traffic congestion [“A Long Island lifeline needs help,” Opinion, June 28].

As a lifelong Long Islander, for more than 60 years, I bought into the “Island” mentality of separating us from the outside world. It is clear that mindset is outdated as we are past the point of overcapacity with no relief in sight.

The long-debated tunnel across the Sound to Westchester would bring welcomed relief to overcrowded roads, alleviating congestion through the five boroughs and offering an alternative off the Island in an emergency, should the need arise. Several viable plans have been proposed, but they outlived their developers.

Former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had offered hope to revisit the plan. Sadly, that too has passed, and no one has taken up the cause. I doubt it will be done in my lifetime, but younger generations need to reconsider an alternative to overcrowded roadways.

 — Joe Saggese, St. James

While lamenting the lack of additional transportation links in the editorial on the 50th anniversary of the LIE, the editorial omitted the obscene state of disrepair of the roadway that already exists.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, I’d estimate, have been inflicted upon the users of the current highway. Disrepair also impedes the smooth and even flow of traffic. Saying that many residents don’t want more growth indicates the apparent lack of confidence that these residents have in our government agencies to maintain the existing “lifelines of growth.”

 — Rich Zettwoch, Mount Sinai

These seniors prove they’re hot stuff

Bravo and congratulations to the six Port Jefferson high school seniors who recently became volunteer firefighters and fought their first fire soon after [“Pump and circumstance,” News, June 28].

It is wonderful to see our young people giving back to their community in such a brave and admirable way.

 — Karen Wagner, West Islip

  

It’s refreshing to see the spirit of volunteerism and sacrifice from six young people.

Society needs more giving and serving from everyone. Selflessness is hard to find these days.

 — Larry Lamendola, Wantagh

Local gas taxes out? Give me a break

New York State and Nassau County gas taxes were supposed to have been suspended on June 1 [“Gas tax breaks start statewide and on LI,” News, June 2]. I frequent the same station in Baldwin, and before June 1, the price for regular unleaded was $4.79. I drove by every day waiting for the price to drop roughly 25 cents. On the fourth day, the price was $4.89. The lowest it’s been since June 1 is $4.79. I might believe that the station never passed on the savings. How are we to know if a station is passing along the reductions to us?

 — Rich Sundermier, Rockville Centre

Division turns courts into legislators

Matt Davies illustrates the Supreme Court as a second legislative branch in his June  30 political cartoon [Opinion]. I agree with this assessment.

My question to him, though, is would he agree that in Roe v. Wade, the court was acting as a legislative body?

While our usual legislative bodies have been stymied by a political divide, courts have become lawmakers. The fault lies with politicians who cannot legislate and cannot compromise out of fear of not getting reelected.

 — Roy Sperrazza, Northport

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