A school bus with flashing lights on its extended stop...

A school bus with flashing lights on its extended stop sign. A reader says there's a simple solution to the bus camera ticket problem: Don't pass them. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

No Regents exams: Recipe for disaster

While the 80th anniversary of D-Day was recently commemorated, the state Board of Regents was considering a plan that may well diminish high school students’ awareness of that event by eliminating Regents exams in both U.S. history and government and global history and geography [“Don’t abandon Regents exams,” Editorial, June 13].

Although Education Chancellor Betty A. Rosa heralds this as a “bold vision,” it is really a recipe for disaster by diminishing students’ knowledge of history and civics.

The history of the exams, going back to the 19th century, has made New York a respected leader in education. With this proposal, this legacy will be cast aside, accountability for learning will be discarded and school diplomas will essentially become meaningless in an attempt to artificially boost graduation rates.

This proposal was presented at the end of the school year, during the time of examinations, thereby blindsiding the educational community. Perhaps the thinking was that it would go unnoticed. Hopefully, it will not, and the public will make its opposition known to the Board of Regents by letter and at the anticipated public forums. The Board of Regents needs to listen to all stakeholders, not just select groups, if it is to retain its credibility on educational policy.

— Gloria Sesso, Port Jefferson

The writer is president of the Long Island Council for Social Studies.

We again are faced with how we assess students’ academic success. The Regents exams have been used for decades, and the argument facing educators is if they fairly or accurately judge learned material.

Many schools use different systems to determine final grades. How does one compare them for college admissions? Many schools want to eliminate SAT testing, too.

Final projects and community service are not a sufficient way to judge students. What, then, becomes “fair”? A comprehensive system that tests their learned knowledge is needed.

— Adrienne Horowitz, Old Bethpage

NYRA horse care? It's unsurpassed

As a former track superintendent for the New York Racing Association and having been involved with track maintenance for 40 years, I can say that no racing association has ever surpassed NYRA in its care and diligence in maintaining all racing and training surfaces under its purview [“Higher rates of death for horses at Belmont,” News, June 9].

The last few decades have seen major advancements in equipment, moisture monitoring, soil analysis, and maintenance procedures that have greatly enhanced racetrack safety. The introduction of synthetic surfaces, especially the Tapeta track being installed at Belmont, will further that cause.

Injuries are bound to happen, can be fatal, and must be reduced. Racetrack design, maintenance, medical care and diagnosis of potential injury are a must. Unfortunately, no matter how safe surfaces are, the number of catastrophic injuries will never be zero.

Two areas not mentioned are the breeding and training of racehorses. Faster horses are bred, but there is little evidence of a more sturdy, resilient horse. Today, horses run less than ever, yet it’s doubtful it has helped to prolong careers or reduce injury. Training today is also much different. Has that made racehorses less sturdy?

Care for racehorses is unparalleled, and racetrack surfaces are much improved. Could breeding and/or training be lagging and producing a more fragile athlete horse?

— Gerard Porcelli, South Farmingdale

No congestion pricing suits us just fine

I have consistently opposed congestion pricing as a bailout of that most incompetent agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority [“Hochul wrong to derail toll plan,” Editorial, June 6].

Every year, we can expect an annual overtime scandal due to lack of oversight from political patronage appointments. Has any MTA project ever finished on time? Cost overruns and missing inventory plague this agency. Lack of long-overdue safety features has caused injuries.

Fares are lost because some Long Island Rail Road conductors are too slow in collecting tickets, and the subway system has countless fare jumpers. We are just learning about the record number of uncollected tolls. The MTA’s incompetence makes congestion pricing fall on those who can least afford it — the working class.

And the city doesn’t seem to believe in writing parking tickets, either. The “enforcers” casually allow double- and triple-parking for limousines outside fat-cat restaurants. Remember the “don’t even think about it” ticket-writing and towing policies of the Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani administrations?

So, I applaud Gov. Kathy Hochul for indefinitely postponing congestion pricing.

— Steven M. Walk, Great Neck

As a retired Long Islander who occasionally likes to drive into Manhattan on weekends, I doubt I will do so anymore if we eventually get congestion pricing. Nor will I take the LIRR. Either way is just too expensive when you take into account all the additional expenses.

Why don’t they consider a lower congestion pricing fee, say $5 to $7? That would produce revenue and not discourage me and others from driving in.

— Peter Block, Roslyn Heights

So Kathy Hochul quashed this unfair and disastrous congestion pricing plan.

Instead, why doesn’t the city just open to traffic all the streets that have been turned into seating areas?

— Gin Smythe, Bayside

Simple solution for bus issue: Don't pass 'em

I don’t understand the uproar over the school bus cameras [“Drivers irked by bus camera revelation,” Letters, June 10]. Just don’t pass a school bus. It’s that simple.

As to the reader asking how many children have been hit? One is too many.

— Irene Semon, Setauket

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