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Buffalo School Board? is sadly misinformed

I read with interest The News report on the Nov. 7 Buffalo School Board meeting. That night there was a two-and-a-half-hour hearing regarding a proposal to restart Waterfront Elementary and East High Schools as charter schools.

The actions, attitude, misinformation and blatant racism exhibited by the board members is downright embarrassing. They continuously refer to charters as the privatization of public education. It appears they still do not understand that charter schools are public schools. Perhaps someone should try explaining it to them in words of one syllable.

The board asked the sponsors of the Chameleon Community Schools Project why they thought they were qualified to turn around these failing schools. The question better asked should have been what qualifications the board members themselves have to sit on a school board. According to the New York State School Boards Association, all it takes is to be at least 18 years old, a qualified voter and the ability to read and write, at a grade level not specified. These are the people who lead one of the lowest-performing school districts in the nation, yet have the audacity to question the qualifications and intentions of a group of citizens willing and dedicated to do something that the Board of Education hasn't been able to do in 10 years, 20 years, ever.

I hope the citizens of our community have paid attention to the antics of their elected representatives who act no better than children who didn't get their way and are throwing a tantrum. Look what your vote has brought you. Please try to do better in the next School Board election.

Kenneth Peterson

Buffalo

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France offered help ?with Hurricane Sandy

A writer from Cheektowaga asked: Where is the help, when our country is in need, from countries to which we have sent aid in the past? On Oct. 30, as Hurricane Sandy churned around the East Coast, France's minister of foreign affairs, Laurent Fabius, pledged France's "full solidarity" with the American people. A communiqué from the minister's office stated: "France stands at the disposition of American authorities to bring them any and all aid that they deem necessary." I do not know if any of the affected U.S. states took Fabius up on his offer.

Jeffrey Crane

Buffalo

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GOP needs to support? intelligent candidates

"The good news is, the cake is baked. Barack Obama will not be re-elected president." – Michele Bachmann, Oct. 18, 2011.

Ideally, the 2012 election will have the important consequence of seeing the GOP purge itself of the intellectual dummies parading about delivering the party's message. The country is better served when two adult parties, both sharing mutual respect and equally valid ideas in terms of logic, have a place in the public square. This duality does not exist presently.

The Republican message has been hijacked by mental midgetry, often visible on Fox News and in the text of certain letter writers to this column. In the worst economic conditions in decades, the Republican Party could not beat President Obama. And the sad thing is, those Fox News personalities and letter writers don't even understand why. They blame the media. They blame people wanting handouts. They blame everything and everyone, except who is truly to blame: themselves.

Obama, for all his flaws, is a serious man who thinks and speaks logically. No candidate presented by the GOP came close to reaching this abysmally low standard for judging public officials, save Jon Huntsman, who was laughed out of the primary process for evidently appearing too normal. Mitt Romney was so profoundly wooden as a candidate that to call him a Republican is insulting to those who think you actually need to take (and keep!) positions in order to earn a political affiliation.

The GOP leaders should keep telling immigrants to self-deport. They should keep talking about rape, and women's heath in general, like this is 1950. Because by doing these things, they will continue to get annihilated in national elections for being too extreme. Maybe then they will start fielding candidates who aren't thoroughly repulsive to a majority of Americans.

The cake sure does taste yummy, Michele.

Steve Spillman

Buffalo

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Hochul, Collins should be? ashamed of campaign ads

The recent congressional race between Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins will be remembered for a long time. Unfortunately, it will be remembered for its total lack of truth, honesty, dignity and civility.

Truth was an early casualty, with outright lies told by the candidates and their agents. Honesty suffered when small truths were bent and distorted in order to make an illogical conclusion from an unimportant or unrelated fact.

When I heard for the hundredth time the square footage of a candidate's house, I had to wonder if the other candidate was somehow aware of a secret study that proved that a person's honesty or ability is inversely related to the size of his home. When I heard a shrill witch's voice deride one candidate's honesty, I had to wonder if 6-year-olds had been given the right to vote, because certainly this ad couldn't have been aimed at adults.

Both candidates disgraced themselves as they unashamedly lowered the bar for acceptability. Beyond that, their actions cheapened the office to which they aspired as they assaulted their own constituents with trash. When all is said and done, it's a shame that someone had to win this race.

Joseph Rosenecker

Williamsville

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Students must accept ?their responsibilities

In Rod Watson's column, he stated that "Parents need trigger law to help kids win." With this statement, he was blaming teachers for their failing students. A Nov. 5 letter to the editor, on the other hand, responded that it's the parents' fault for failing students.

I am a senior in high school and I believe students have to take responsibility for themselves. Each year, I am faced with new challenges. It's not my parents who push me, I push myself. I want to get good grades, and I know I need to work for them. It's not my parents' job to do my homework, complete high school, college or choose my career for me, it's my responsibility to do these things.

At some point in our lives, we have to stop blaming others for our failures, and take responsibility for ourselves. If not now, when?

Ryan Fishback

East Aurora