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Bad Education

To the Editor:

As residents of Albany, whose sons went to Albany public schools (and received a very good education!), we are deeply disturbed about the proliferation of charter schools [“Make Way,” Newsfront, July 1]. There seems to be no end in sight to the opening of new charter schools. Does every new charter school get approved? It seems that way.

This has become a huge burden on the public school system and the residents of Albany. The charter schools haven’t been able to fill the existing ones and yet they build new ones. That doesn’t make sense.

There seems to be little or no oversight of these schools. The reports that we’ve read indicate that, except for a few charters schools, most of them do no better than the public schools and many times they do a worse job of educating students.

Charter schools can remove children that have behavior problems or learning problems. Public schools can’t do that.

In addition, charter schools are clearly an attempt to privatize education. They don’t even have to hire certified teachers or pay the same salary as public school teachers receive. They aren’t members of the New York State Teachers Retirement System. It’s hardly surprising that there’s a large turnover among staff and students.

Finally, despite Mr. Bender’s comment, Juan Gonzalez, a highly respected investigative reporter (the New York Daily News, Democracy Now), has published far more than “a 300-word article” on the topic. Even such experts as Diane Ravitch, an assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush and an early supporter of charter schools, have made an about-face on the issue. She has explained this in her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

We need to stop building these unproven, costly schools now!

Laura and Kevin Huhne

Albany

 

Their Cheatin’ Hearts

To the Editor:

In his column [“YouTube 1, Viacom Nil,” Rapp on This, July 1], Paul Rapp says “ . . . cartels like the MPAA and the RIAA claim to champion ‘creator’s rights’ when they are actually stealing money from creators and feeding it to their shareholders.”

I think that the statement is only partly correct. Such cartels actually shovel money from creative individuals into their own pockets. Their claiming that they are working on behalf of artists and shareholders is incorrect on both counts. Artists and shareholders are sources of money for corporations. As long as artists produce work that generates money from customers and shareholders are willing to lend money to corporations (by investing in company stock), companies get to keep the money.

A relative of mine was a corporate trader who handled millions of shares a day. He said that a broker didn’t care if the stock price went up or down. The broker just sold from one set of clients to another set of clients. Whether the stock price went up or down, half the clients were happy. And the broker was happy because both purchases and sales generated brokerage fees.

If cartels were really interested in shareholders, they would write investment prospectuses in something more closely approximating a human language and wouldn’t try to hide information about corporate operations.

Bob Krull

Saratoga Springs

 

Correction

In “Myrtle Avenue Blues” [Newsfront, July 1], Gary Kochem, Albany Medical Center’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, was misidentified as the hospital’s president and CEO, James Barba.

And in “Conjunction Junction” [Theater, July 1] Or, playwright Liz Duffy Adams was wrongly identified as Alice Duffy Adams.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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Letters, Metroland

419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210

e-mail: metroland@metroland.net

fax: 463-3726


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