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Start focusing on poverty and stop bashing teacher unions

Monday, September 10, 2012
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Start focusing on poverty and stop bashing teacher unions

[New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie offered a very toxic speech at the Republican National Convention, taking particular joy in bashing teacher unions as if they were the single cause for our failing schools.

Unions are why we have a middle class in the United States. They ensured that workers had a safe working environment and were provided with fair wages. Remember the Broadway show, "Pajama Game"? Workers could not compete with big businesses. They had to accept whatever wages and working conditions that were offered for fear of losing their job.

My grandmother died of tuberculosis from working in a sweatshop. Long hours, crowded unsanitary and steamy hot conditions were typical of the sweatshops.

Tired of being treated like sub-humans, workers organized into unions to give them bargaining power. Collective bargaining became an important strategy to negotiate fair working conditions and wages. Without it, for example, teachers could be assigned to teach all day with no break except for lunch. Imagine being on stage for six hours, no toilet break and your audience is middle-school children? My first year of teaching, I was given that assignment twice a week. The unions negotiated that teachers must have at least one prep period a day.

No doubt there is a strong correlation between student success and the caliber of the teachers. However, the reason the United States does not have the No. 1 education system in the world cannot be blamed on teacher unions, as stated by Christie.

Children living in poverty lack parental support and an enriched home life. Those factors are very important to success in school. The United States has a very diverse population of students, many with English as their second language. The test scores of all of these children are averaged into the overall picture.

Christie mentions that Massachusetts has the best schools, because of its high performance on the NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] tests. However, the average income of the top five performing states (according to a 2009 census) is $60,000 and 21 percent of people over 25 have a bachelor's degree, while the bottom five states have an average income of $44,000 and 14 percent have a bachelor's degree. The reason our schools are failing cannot be blamed on unions.

Unions have come a long way. They addressed very serious problems faced by workers and negotiated to ameliorate many of them. However, unions do need to work with teachers and administrators to reform the mechanism by which ineffective teachers can be removed.

Joan Wagner

Saratoga Springs

Republican Party has lost its moderates, and way

What is the proper role for government in a pluralistic democracy?

Is it focusing on intrusive or restrictive legislation concerning the most intimate dimension of life? Is it excluding a significant portion of the population from access to health care? Is it promoting a fundamentalist agenda to which the majority does not subscribe? Is it making sure the very wealthy become wealthier while the poor scramble to survive?

Make no mistake; a vote for today's Republican Party is a vote for all of the above. Moderates within the Republican Party have been silenced and extremist views dominate. Moderates like [former New Jersey Gov.] Christie Todd Whitman and [U.S. Sen.] Olympia Snowe have been driven away. Whitman's book, "It's My Party, Too," chronicles this progression and Snowe recently announced that she will not run again. The principal victims will be women and the working class.

Issues long considered settled are now in the crosshairs of ultra-conservative politicians: access to contraception, safe and legal abortion, reasonable immigration laws (where did your ancestors come from?) and reasonable social welfare policies.

Women in particular have good reason to fear today's Republican agenda. Think carefully before you vote.

Eleanor Aronstein

Galway

Remember, a clean pet is a welcome pet

It's time for all pet lovers and owners to think of your animals and take care of them. If you own a pet and respect yourself, please respect your animal, your apartment and community and clean up after them.

Animals are as clean as the people who care for them. Landlords will be more pet- friendly if you follow these suggestions.

Dan Rigney

Schenectady

High gas prices won't help Obama in November

What is the excuse for the rise in [gas] prices?

With the elections nearing, why is Mr. Obama not keeping them low? You think he would want the votes.

But not from this household. Good Luck, Mr. Obama -- you need it.

Scott Anderson

Scotia

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comments

September 10, 2012
1:42 p.m.
albright1 says...

Well, If you are going to repeat letters to the editor, I will repeat my previous comment on Eleanor's letter:

"Eleanor, Who cares what the proper role of government is in a "pluralistic democracy"? The United States is not, nor was it ever intended to be a "pluralistic democracy". We are supposed to have a government elected by the people and operating for the people. Not special interests like unions, and x,y,z rights groups."

September 11, 2012
5:22 p.m.
robbump says...

I guess Scott Anderson ("High gas prices won't help Obama in November") wants the President to lower gas prices. I wish he would, and could.

Maybe he could also get us 50 cent coffees and soda,
5% interest on my savings,
and 20 cent hamburgers too.

Gas prices were about the same 4 years ago, but dropped dramatically, but I doubt President Bush was doing it. I blame supply and demand.

September 11, 2012
5:33 p.m.
pnotto says...

Albright1 you are so correct in your assertion of what the limited role of our government is supposed to be. Ms. Aronstein seems to be lost in space with her definition of what the role of the government is in the US. No where in the Constitution does it say the government's role is to provide free healthcare, access to contraception, safe and legal abortions, reasonable immigration laws and reasonable social welfare policies and programs. The founders and the constructionists of the Constitution intended for the role of the government to be LIMITED IN ITS ASPECTS! The founders designed the government to protect the rights of its citizens for their good and welfare and to provide an armed military to protect our rights and our boarders so that the citizens of this country maybe able to maneuver freely about and to have the freedom to prosper in the US. That is the role of what the government was intended to be. This government is not Monte Hall and we are not playing Let's Make a Deal to see what benefits the freeloaders can get from us, the taxpayers, just so you RINO's (Leftist's) can feel good about yourselves. The problem with RINO's like Ms. Aronstein who are nothing more than displaced Leftist communists stuck in the wrong political party at heart trying to hide behind their facade of deceit and white guilt which when boiled down to the core is that deep in their soul's people like Ms. Aronstein hate this country for what its worth and they view the US as the evil doer in the world and we are responsible for all of the ills of society. This is just like a similar view her hero has who is Barrack Hussein Obama, mmm,mmm,mmm.

September 12, 2012
2:43 p.m.
SnowGrinch says...

PNOTTO.
Do you really think that Ms Aronstein "hates her country? I mean do you REALLY THINK THAT?

Because there may be more than one opinion of how our government should function and she expressed her opinion, you attack her with the same old "HATES HER COUNTRY" insult. What did that add to the discussion? Should she then attack your patriotism also?

Could it possibly be that Ms Aronstein LOVES HER COUNTRY? Is that possible??? Is it possible that she is just expressing her view, which doesn't agree with yours?
You can disagree with her opinion with out attacking her motives or her patriotism.

September 12, 2012
8:55 p.m.
pnotto says...

Snowgrinch; That's your opinion which I can respect to disagree with, but show me in the constitution where it directs the government is responsible for handing out freebies to freeloaders in America. The answer is no where in this document does it say this. Its not my responsibility to determine if Ms. Aronstein hates or loves this country, that is her position to prove or disapprove. It doesn't help her position when she sounds off like other Leftist's making these ridiculous benefit demands you find in many socialized countries of Europe. BTW these people do hate America in case you didn't know that fact by despising the free market. My position is Ms. Aronstein and her outdated socialist demands that we have in society lead to the creation of dependency in our nation and like other Leftist's who have the 'White Guilt Syndrome' that its the fault of everyone else who has become successful in the US that we have poverty in this country. Is that an over generalization of Ms. Aronstein, maybe or maybe not. The sad fact is that Ms. Aronstein is cut from the same crusty mold of all other retread Leftist's that spew the same old worn out rhetoric of if you make a dollar more than your neighbor then the dollar more richer neighbor is responsible for the poverty in this country by their victimizing the poor for their own betterment. This is what the Left tries to use for the defense of their misguided views. The problem with the Left is they have to breed dependency by keeping people in poverty by making them victims and unable to fend for themselves just so these people will vote for the next Democratic candidate for public office. Hence by Ms. Aronstein's silly demands that the government needs to provide these benefits it causes people to become a drain on society where those who are able to work could be productive citizens but instead decide to draw their sustenance off of us, the tax payers. I know you probably don't own or read the bible, in St. Paul's Epistles he says that if a person does not work, they shall not eat and thus starve. So which is the greater sin in this disagreement to make people dependable on themselves or make them into lazy slugs dependent upon an all benevolent central government to take care of every need of these people who demand their benefits who don't want to work or sacrifice for these items.

September 12, 2012
9:03 p.m.
pnotto says...

Continued from Above: Here's a scenario you can possibly understand if you would not be so naive. What would be a better position to learn from if the people of the frontier era decided to just quit and instead demanded a government handout instead of pushing forward to conquer the rest of an undeveloped nation. The answer is we would be a sad sack nation of deters with no inherent desire to provide for themselves and their families where these people would be beholden to the government instead of being able to rely upon themselves. But instead of facing reality, Leftist's like Ms. Aronstein and yourself can't honestly answer this situational question and have to respond by distorting the facts instead by saying the usual Leftist retort in answer to this by ducking the issue by saying a silly answer that makes no sense that the only thing the frontier people accomplished was to steal the land from the Indians and enslaving these people who were victimized by the white race. This is typical for Leftist's who can't handle the truth of the reality of the world and where you Liberals fall short in defending your ridiculous philosophy of the way life should be. Thank God for the rugged individualism of these pioneers of the frontiers era which is a teachable moment they set by their lifestyle examples instead of becoming victim's of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. The people of the frontier pioneer era by passing on from generation to generation that our country has to be made of people who are responsible for our own personal well being is what separates us from the rest of the world. This what people like Ms. Aronstein and yourself hate about America because you people view this nation as being unfair to those with less. It is the fault of the Left wing of the Democratic Party for the problems we face in this country. An instance of this can be found in what the Democratic party has done to the black family and even people of the white race born into poverty by removing the father from the family thus forcing these women to become unwed and single mothers where the government becomes their children's father figure and thus becomes the life boat to their survival by rewarding them for promiscuity with endless welfare benefits instead of becoming responsible for their actions and knowing how to be dependent on themselves. What is it that Ms. Aronstein and you don't understand, but maybe if you opened your eyes you would see the harsh fact of this reality that your party has created and your socialized societal benefit demand grabs yield underprivileged people to not live a proper lifestyle thus resulting to this dependency upon the government. This is what is so dangerous about the philosophy of Ms. Aronstein and you share that is so dangerous to this country's future which results in nothing but hatred for what this country stands for.

September 12, 2012
9:20 p.m.
SnowGrinch says...

An appropriate reply may be your own words:

Posted by pnotto on September 3 at 9:29 a.m.
Many people are calling us to stop this war of words, so therefore, We need to stop these antics. However it started I think WE SHOULD STILL RESPECT EACH OTHER AS PEOPLE AND HUMAN BEINGS EVEN THOUGH WE STRONGLY AGREE TO DISAGREE. WE CAN STILL HAVE A DIALOGUE WITH NO NAME CALLING AND INSULTS about our backgrounds and ideologies getting in the way. So I wish to express an apology to you two and cease this action of mutual dislike this moment and I look forward to discussing issues with you two in the future.

Your post is good advice... you should take it.

September 12, 2012
10:24 p.m.
pnotto says...

Snowgrinch; In this posting tell me where I have made a personal insult to Ms. Aronstein or yourself. If the label of being a Leftist fits around your necks like an Albatross, then wear it with pride, my hypocritical friend on the Left. Yes it is good advice when it applies to someone which it doesn't apply here in this situation. So don't even start with this nonsense. When I see the views of people like Ms. Aronstein and yourself calling for us, the tax payers to pay for benefit demands to be given to freeloaders a line needs to be drawn in the sand to stop you people on the Left to stop giving away the store which is owned by us, the tax payers. Your position in this issue is just another way for Leftist's like yourself to censor the free speech criticisms of others. I don't see the error in pointing out the flawed philosophy of people like Ms. Aronstein is doing in her demand the government is responsible for freebies to be handed out to these freeloaders. I would expect you to know the difference, but I won't wait with baited breath for this to happen. Ms. Aronstein and yourself need to brush up on your American history before you stick your foot in your mouths stating these false claims of what this country is all about and what the Constitution states about what the role of the Federal government's responsibility is toward its constituents. You need to wise up my friend and stop gulping the Kook-Aid.

September 13, 2012
9:58 a.m.
SnowGrinch says...

If you had read my post, you would know that my post has NOTHING to do with politics, and EVERYTHING to do with insults and bullying.

These posts are directed at you, not your politics.

Examples:
* "The problem with RINO's like Ms. Aronstein who are nothing more than displaced Leftist communists stuck in the wrong political party at heart trying to hide behind their facade of deceit and white guilt which when boiled down to the core is that deep in their soul's people like Ms. Aronstein hate this country for what its worth and they view the US as the evil doer in the world and we are responsible for all of the ills of society."
(Of course that is not Ms. Aronstein's view... She doesn't HATE AMERICA and doesn't think that AMERICA IS EVIL. Those insluts are your CRUTCH for lack of a convincing rebuttal.)

* " Its not my responsibility to determine if Ms. Aronstein hates or loves this country". (Yet you accuse her of "HATING HER COUNTRY")

* "I know you probably don't own or read the bible"
(Really PNOTTO? YOU KNOW THAT? PLEASE TELL US ALL HOW YOU KNOW THAT!)

* " This what people like Ms. Aronstein and yourself hate about America." (Again, we HATE AMERICA, and you LOVE AMERICA. If you had a valid argument, you's post it.)

PNOTTO. You post insults, not opinion. You attack the person, not their views.

You seem to think that your personal attacks somehow validate your opinion... the opposite is true.

Maybe insults and bullying has worked for you in life, but what is your opinion of a bully? Do you respect their views? Most people think of them as jerks.

September 13, 2012
11:49 a.m.
pnotto says...

Well Snowgrinch, keeping with that same narrative, I am sorry that you feel that way, but to be really honest with you is that I don't care if your sensitivity has been ruffled in the wrong direction. My tongue and cheek criticisms of your lame brain ideology is what it is. I feel it is the only way to deal with your idiocy and that of the lack of smarts of your side. This is a public forum and if you can't hold your own then maybe you should consider whether or not you should enter these public forums to render ridiculous opinions and then have the lack of intelligence to understand what is being written in response to your silly retorts that you and Liberal buds have to offer up as being sane answers to difficult problems as the way these issues should be handled. You to, my friend has responded to others in this site with insults and personal degradation in your responses to those of us who dare to disagree with your distorted delusional partisan Leftist views. I am merely returning the favor to you on the Left who think that you folks are the answer to a nations problems when in fact you people cause these problems by not using your God gifted intelligence you claim to have but don't. Your side is in self denial and filled with conceit and arrogance and God help anyone who offers resistance to you lunacy you pose as rational thought. Your solutions to problems that you put forward like Ms. Aronstein adds to the confusion in our nation as to what is the right answer to the problems we face and how to handle them. When you are challenged or you see your so called Liberal buds being challenged you respond with the typical Leftist answer of crying and whining about the issue of being bullied and pushed around just like a colic-ally child does when they can't get their way. That seems to be a common answer you Leftist's respond with when your opinions are challenged and proven to be wrong all the way around. The truth is that your to ignorant to know the difference and you can't handle the truth of your flawed philosophy being proven wrong. It appears that whatever public school system that you claim to have been ill educated at really ripped you off because you are way to sensitive in how to decipher and comprehend the facts that I have laid out before you. You Liberals are really a sorry lot because as I said, you make statements that are flawed then you don't have the fortitude to back these moronic claims up. Have a wonderful day, Snowgrinch.

September 13, 2012
12:21 p.m.
SnowGrinch says...

More insults... You make my case! :D

September 13, 2012
12:45 p.m.
pnotto says...

No, You can't read and decipher what is being said here. You must suffer from a learning disability. The facts are here so open your eyes and read if you can.

September 13, 2012
12:47 p.m.
pnotto says...

Also Snowgrinch your still in self denial about your insecurities of being a Leftist.

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