Letters To The Editor 2/27/2019
School change proposals
Editor: I write this with deep sadness.
It is the same feeling I had when I attended the forum at Lackawanna College conducted by the auditor general.
It is some 60 years since I proudly entered the teaching profession. The arguments are the same.
Recently, a person wrote a letter stating “we had 40 kids in a class and we learned.” Well, we rode horses and we got to where we were going but it is a great deal easier in an automobile or an airplane. Many years ago, we did not send children to kindergarten, let alone preschool. Research proves it is valuable to a child’s future. The world has changed.
One year, I had the rare privilege to have a class of 18 students. I saw the difference and so did my students. They did not like it. I was able to call on them almost every day. They had no place to hide.
When teachers got the right to bargain instead of beg, we not only negotiated salaries, but items that were good for students, such as class size.
Now, PFM Group, the consultant that acts as the district’s financial monitor, and a school director suggest that class size is not important and school closings might be necessary. The idea may be sending seventh and eighth graders to high schools. It was never a good idea, which is why middle schools were built.
I realize changes must be made. Start by hot hiring so many nonessential employees and by not paying health care for nonemployees. Stop paying exorbitantly for no-bid bus contracts. Make changes that are good for students and their teachers, not for politics-playing school boards. Schools exist to provide a quality education for students.
Editor’s note: The writer is a retired Scranton teacher and a former president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
Jewish hatred concealed
Editor: People who claim to be anti-Israel and who support boycotting Israeli products, seek divestments from Israeli companies and sanctions against Israel are actually Jew haters who cloak their true hatred in anti-Israel rhetoric.
In the Middle East, Muslim countries want to destroy Israel because it is a democracy in a sea of totalitarian nations.
Muslims hate Israel because it is Jewish and it is all about religion in the Middle East.
There is jealousy of the high standard of living in Israel and Israeli accomplishments in science, engineering, medical technology, education, agriculture, business and military prowess.
The United States values its close relationship with Israel, a strategic ally, because we share similar values and strategic interests. Unfortunately, our first two Muslim congresswomen, one from Minnesota and another from Michigan, have expressed typical anti-Jewish views, which parrot the Jew haters of the world. We must be more careful electing our government officials.
Trump’s perilous precedent
Editor: Many Donald Trump supporters are delighted at the president’s attempt to keep the campaign promise of building a wall on the Mexican border by declaring a national emergency.
He is attempting an end run around Congress, which denied him wall funding, even when Republicans held a majority in both houses.
Illegal border crossings are the lowest in decades. Of course, we should be judicious in determining who gains entry to the United States and should enforce border control, but Trump’s “caravans” of “invaders” are largely families seeking asylum.
The emergency apparently was not so dire at any prior point during more than two years of the Trump presidency. Some label the declaration a “political emergency,” a diversion from all the other problems closing in on Trump, including indictments, guilty pleas and convictions of those from his inner circle.
The emergency declaration will go to the courts. After an initial stay, it likely will reach the U.S. Supreme Court in which even Trump’s appointed justices will recognize the danger such a precedent would set.
If upheld, it would mark a sea change in the interpretation of the Constitution and shift power of the purse away from Congress. It would pave the way for a host of other emergency declarations. A president could declare an emergency over the gun homicide epidemic, climate change and other issues.
Additionally, a massive seizure of private property would take place in order to build a border wall, something that would enrage many Trump supporters.
Democrats are united in opposition to the declaration and it has caused turmoil within the Republican Party. Keeping an ill-advised campaign promise may serve to be Trump’s undoing: It would be just deserts.
OREN M. SPIEGLER
UPPER ST. CLAIR,
Keep natural gas flowing
Editor: Well, we made it through the recent polar vortex, but as the forecasters correctly predicted, it was cold outside.
Those of us who had reliable natural gas were nice and toasty in our homes. We were lucky.
I don’t think the final numbers are in yet, but it’s likely that families and businesses used a record amount of natural to heat their homes and offices during the recent freeze.
Operations here in the commonwealth enabled Americans do that. As energy researcher Jude Clemente explained a few years ago, “Without Pennsylvania’s gas, pretty much the entire eastern half of the U.S. wouldn’t have been able to have their own ‘dash to gas’ … We have U.S. states rapidly increasing their reliance on natural gas, without producing much gas on their own – all because they know that states like Pennsylvania and Texas can supply them.”
We should be proud of the role our state played in helping so many families make it through this winter’s cold spells.
Now, how do we make sure we can continue to export this much needed energy resource?
Some leaders in Harrisburg are considering policies that could reduce our natural gas production. The proposed severance tax would raise costs and new regulation could make it harder to build pipelines. Rank-and-file lawmakers should reject these proposals because extreme weather isn’t going away. We need natural gas.
DIMOCK, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY
Editor’s note: The writer works for a natural gas industry supplier.