May 2012 Issue
April 16, 2012

Letters: Surcharge a good idea, if ....

Source: NYSUT United

Surcharge a good idea, if ....

Regarding Joe Klein's excellent proposal (NYSUT United, March) to impose a surcharge on tickets for sporting and other entertainment events and earmarking that surcharge to education: Many among us remember how the state lottery was passed largely on the promise that proceeds would go to education. Of course, we foolishly allowed a loophole.

Lottery profits collected went into a general fund, and while one could argue the money did, indeed, go to education, the previously allocated funding was cut by an equivalent amount. It ended up allowing for additional unrelated government spending to occur that provided no benefit to education. Not only that, educational funding became dependent on an unreliable source: gambling.

I suggest, therefore, that Mr. Klein's surcharge be held in an entirely separate account and that no corresponding reduction in state funding be allowed. We can even be the "good guys" in this and offer to allow a freeze for 'x' years in educational funding from the general account. All we ask in return are the full proceeds from the surcharge over and above that state educational funding.

Lesson learned. No loopholes!

Ron McDermott | New Windsor

Youngest learners need pre-K

When I read this letter ("Many students just too young," NYSUT United, April) and the one before, I understood the frustrations. I think the point to be made to ameliorate the situation is to advocate for Universal Pre-K. Both early literacy research, and my own experiences with a now-defunct Even Start Family Literacy Program, can attest to the importance of the experiences during a child's first three years of brain development.

In order to achieve the success in school demanded by the state, delaying school entry is counterproductive. Many children have no access to high quality, self-pay, pre-K programs. If their districts don’t offer UPK, these children may spend too much time in environments devoid of early literacy experiences.

Yes, parents do play an important role, but how many fully understand how crucial reading to their child, from birth on, is to early language development? We need to educate everyone to the fact that the earlier developmental delays are discovered, and interventions enacted, the more likely a child will be able to achieve school success. Much work has already been done in this area and anyone interested can research the New York State Pre-K Learning Standards. The time has come to demand we give attention to our youngest learners in order to ensure their success in school and life.

Lynn Baron | Jeffersonville