It’s rare that I agree with columnist Glenn Richter (R-J, 2-23). But his column “One hell of a job” deserves recognition and praise. It’s time to stop burying our heads in the sand, and recognize what is happening in public education. Although we spend huge amounts on public schools, the level of learning is not keeping pace with global competition. More than 25 percent of students fail to graduate from high school in four years. The Program for International Student Assessment study that measures performance of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics, and science found that U. S. students rank 14th in reading, 25th in math, and 17th in science compared to students in other industrialized countries. A 2011 study by ACT found only 25 percent of U.S. high school graduates met “college ready” standards in all of their core subjects. The College Board reported that even among college-bound seniors, only 43 percent met college-ready standards, requiring more college students to take remedial courses.
A Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force report on U.S. Education Reform and National Security concluded: “The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain its leadership role. Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk. The country will not be able to keep pace — much less lead — globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long.”
Common core is not the answer, any more than NCLB was. Do we have to wait another decade, as we did with NCLB, before we declare Common Core to be an unmitigated disaster and try something proven, in the meantime failing another generation of students? I hope not.
Jim Krupp, Wallingford
I hope people saw the interview this past Sunday with Sen. Danté Bartolomeo on the Connecticut Fox-TV affiliate. The show’s conservative host showed high regard for our state senator and her efforts to eradicate Internet sweepstakes cafes. Sen. Bartolomeo has introduced legislation to ban these gambling operations, which are unregulated casinos masquerading as legitimate businesses. After she filed her bill, the Connecticut State Police Organized Crime Task Force raided two sweepstakes cafes, in Enfield and Bloomfield. Her legislation is needed to strengthen the hand of law enforcement.
Sen. Bartolomeo describes these shady establishments as parasitic gambling dens that prey on the elderly. She is leading Connecticut’s effort to eliminate them, before they multiply unchecked as they have in other states. Good work, Senator!
Madeline Gallagher, Meriden
Not taxpayer’s job
Is inspection program a burden on landlords or a bulwark against blight? In response to the article on the cover of the 2-23-14 news, if property owners and tenants would maintain their properties, the city would be a better place. In support of such an effort, I agree an inspection program would benefit the city, the taxpayers, and the tenants who live in rental units. I agree with Mr. Gulino’s point that such a program should place a high priority on tenant complaints and code inspections, and I would add repeat offenders to the list of more frequently inspected property. I also support stronger ordinances to manage blight.
I strongly oppose the city making small loans available to landlords to make maintenance repairs, and I am especially opposed to bonding money for such a purpose. This is not a taxpayer responsibility, nor is it one we can afford to fund.
Our actions have consequences. The decision to purchase a home or rental property brings with it certain responsibilities, i.e., paying property taxes, water and sewer bills, and maintenance. I understand Mr. Caruso’s point: if you can’t afford the expense, then don’t buy the property. Said another way, if the expenses outweigh the income, then the rent needs to increase. I am surprised and disappointed Messrs. Gulino and Iovanna suggest fellow taxpayers should in any way fund costs associated with maintaining rental properties since that is the responsibility of the property owners and tenants.
Debra Tomasino, Meriden
Likes and dislikes
Borrowing a page from R-J’s playbook, Things I Do Like (lately): Gov. Malloy’s gas tax refund and tax break proposals. Getting back money from the state (or anyone else) is one of life’s little pleasures; those proposed 200 state-funded electric car-recharging stations. Welcome to a “greener” 21st Century Connecticut; Glenn Richter’s “One hell of a job” column (R-J, 2-23). What’s not to like when Glenn heaves a pie at educators who use $10 words in abundance to describe a $1.98 idea?
Things I Don’t Like (lately): Gov. Malloy’s gas tax refund, etc. I’ll give my refund to the DCF. They need it more to help children & families under stress than I need a “free” tank of gas. And those tax breaks, making teachers’ pensions 50 percent tax free? Somebody will have to make up that loss of tax dollars. Don’t kid yourself; 200 stations providing free electric/hybrid car re-charging. Free, really? When was the last time you got free air for your tires at a gas station? If you can afford an electric/hybrid car, you can afford to re-charge it on your dime (or dollar), not mine; Glenn Richter’s column? I still like it.
Peter Barr, Wallingford