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Using three-tiered system might improve education

This is in regard to the failures of education in this state and beyond. I sincerely believe it is the failure of the New York State Board of Regents and the state. I would imagine the amount of staffing and monetary investment at the highest levels of state education administration, if revealed, would indicate the sources of the problems.

The term “core” that is being used is borrowed and should not be applied to primary and secondary education. I feel a three-tiered system might provide education in a more equitable way to all levels of ability. I am basing this on my experiences of education and life.

The first level could cover the basics that all students should be required to achieve from the beginning of education through graduation. Teaching should include a joy of learning, self-respect and respect for others so that all levels of ability and the different paths of study are respected. Young adults need to be self-sufficient and capable of entering the workplace. They need to be able to speak and use the English language, understand and use basic math, and learn local and U.S. history and geography. Personal health also would be beneficial to all.

A second level for those capable and desiring more education could include the aforementioned at a higher level, possibly as preparation for community colleges. Also, if so inclined, some could benefit from technical training in the trades.

The highest level would be for those who are capable of study at the highest level. College-level courses could be available as preparation for study at colleges and universities. This would truly mean “No Child Left Behind” and a meaningful education for all.

Oliver Berry

Holland

Many children need a lesson in manners

Donn Esmonde’s recent column made me think about the unruly children in Buffalo. Yes, there is a “minority of black teens who have never learned to behave in public.” As a retired teacher in this system, I can tell you that there are plenty of children of other races who aren’t exactly civilized. They are making the good kids look bad. They are preventing the well-behaved children from getting the best instruction from their teachers.

Although it is nice when the troublemakers are not in class, we cannot have them wandering the streets. I believe they should be sent to charm school.

Any child could have a bad day once or twice. It happens. But after the third time they have proven themselves to be nuisances, they should be enrolled in a special after-school program to teach them manners. They would learn what society expects of them. They would be taught why it is important to respect, not fear, other people. Role playing could be used to help the children practice good behavior. Maybe students who have demonstrated proficiency in these skills could be taken out in public to practice their skills. This could include proper behavior on a bus and in a restaurant. Dressing for success would be included.

A dog who is not housebroken or who bites and jumps on people is not a good pet. Children need to understand that they are not a joy to have around when they behave in a similar way.

Christine Snyder

Cheektowaga

Focus on root causes of soaring college costs

On Aug. 22, President Obama visited Buffalo to tell us all how he was going to help prospective and current college students better afford their education – to reduce the post-college personal debt. But he talked only about helping to pay the exorbitant costs of college. He tried to deflect attention from the root cause – colleges are sacred cows. Salaries, benefits and work requirements are out of control. As most students will attest, students are seldom able to complete a four-year program in four years due to convenience scheduling for faculty.

If you want to see the future for colleges, consider the Buffalo School District today. Salaries and benefits for administrators and faculty are the priority, not the quality of education. The Board of Education operates like a corrupt Third World organization. Recently the schools’ chief financial officer stated that the cost of a child’s education is $22,663; while the student cost in a typical local charter school is $12,000. And charter school student success and graduation rates are significantly higher than those in public schools. The college model is no different.

Slowly the public is reacting, and parents are valiantly fighting to reclaim the public schools they pay for with their taxes. It shouldn’t be long before the colleges’ self-interest and greed is exposed. The solution is not increased government support. It is cost control of college operations, starting with public knowledge of salaries, benefits and faculty work requirements.

Craig Thrasher

East Aurora

Students are foolish to cheer for Obama

I listened to my radio to the cheers at the University at Buffalo over President Obama’s speech, which he no doubt read from his ubiquitous monitor.

What sickens me is the number of people yelling at the end of every sentence to that tired old speech, every word of which has been heard before. Have those students not learned in college the difference between a less expensive education and a real one, leading to a decent job in the field they are hopefully preparing for and amassing a life of financial debt to obtain?

That man who gave his speech while they were breathlessly and mindlessly cheering is the very man who is dashing all hope of them ever getting that job for which they are preparing. One day they will figure this out, but it might be too late for them. They should have learned this in college. God help us; Obama can’t.

Ron Wilson

East Amherst

Diocese’s demolition of church is shameful

It was sad but not surprising to learn of the decision by the Diocese of Buffalo to raze St. Ann Church.

While driving on the East Side with the windows open, I can almost hear the cries of the ghosts of former Catholic churches forced to close whistling through the wind. Transfiguration, St. Mary of Sorrows and St. Joachim are all gone. St. John Kanty and St. Adalbert Basilica are hanging by a thread. Corpus Christi, the church where I was baptized, and St. Stanislaus are both experiencing a renaissance of sorts. They continue to survive against the odds and the grim reality of being located in a dilapidated neighborhood. How long before the powers that be decide that these, too, must go?

What is maddening about the St. Ann decision is that the parish still has worshippers with strong ties willing to attend Mass and services. For over 100 years, St. Ann has been a beacon of light and a rock-solid institution for the Emslie-Johnson neighborhood. For all those years, parishioners of St. Ann supported the diocese both financially and spiritually. Now, it appears that the diocese asks: What have you done for us lately? That same question previously posed by the bishop’s bean counters undoubtedly sealed the fate of other closed parishes in the area.

It seems to me that as long as there are parishioners willing to commit and make the necessary sacrifices to continue on as St. Ann, or any other parish, then the Diocese of Buffalo should be obligated to respect the wishes of the faithful.

Daniel Glowacki

Hamburg

Obstruction won’t help solve country’s problems

The tea party Republicans have voted against Obamacare 40 times and have been defeated at each try. They could have passed the infrastructure bill and put many back to work. They passed a farm bill that denied food stamps and school lunches for the needy. These right-wing followers prefer to help the rich get richer at the expense of the middle class and the poor.

If the sequester were dropped, more border guards and military troops would be available for work. Food inspectors, pre-K schooling and aid to the veterans and disabled would be provided. If immigration reform were passed, the GDP would rise and the national debt would be lowered, but that bill will not be voted upon.

The last Congress refused to raise the debt ceiling to pay the cost of government spending. That decision resulted in a lowering of our national bond rating. These conservatives now hope to bring down Obamacare by forcing a government shutdown. They have no replacement for it. Rather than trying to be the strong-armed bully, the tea party Republicans should work with other members of Congress and the president to find solutions to our country’s problems. That action would benefit all Americans.

Kathleen Warren

Buffalo

Government’s treatment of veterans is disgraceful

When do we vets get respect? The unconscionable manner in which the Department of Veterans Affairs treats veterans must come to a halt. Claims processors are getting bonuses for keeping our veteran heroes in servitude by holding back their claims for benefits that they have earned for their military service. This is not welfare. How many VA workers have served in the military? Get rid of the entire lot and replace them with veterans who care about their fellow man, not slacking off for bonuses.

Whenever there are budgetary concerns, the federal government puts the problem on the backs of veterans. If it doesn’t want to pay benefits, don’t send people to war and then wait for them to die with service-connected illnesses, PTSD, brain injury, suicide, etc. This is the way the feds thank us for our service. It is shameful and disgraceful. No more wars.

Henry Mazurek

Vietnam Veteran 1966-67

Lancaster