It's easy to see why Catholics fall away
Our parents lived in Buffalo till their deaths. They raised nine children and gave their entire lives to helping their parish in all its PTA meetings, organizational clubs, bingo games (our father worked every one for 40-plus years while our mom helped run the kitchen), not to mention their countless monetary donations, tuition and our mother doing the "holy vestments."
In retirement, the church offered our dad part-time employment, while his soul mate of 57 years suffered a seven-year battle with Alzheimer's till her death in 2001. Yet in dad's final years, when he suffered macular degeneration, the priest didn't want to pay him disability benefits during his cataract surgery (a total of six weeks), until we called him out on it.
Lo and behold, when our father suffered a major stroke in March 2005, the priest could not even make a 10-minute ride to Erie County Medical Center to give this dedicated parishioner last rites because our father was not there to "handle" bingo. He died later that evening. The last nail in our father's coffin was the priest telling us we had to move the funeral date up, because it would "interrupt" Easter proceedings.
You reap what you sow and now you are knee deep in it; you made the bed now lay in it. God is the light of the world, not a bunch of clothed men using that same God as a power trip over the common man.
Jennifer T. Schultz
Let's highlight film on history of Buffalo
On the morning of March 28, I happened to see a great short film on TCM (Turner Classic Movies). This was a superb history of Buffalo from 1846 to the late 1950s. Words cannot adequately describe how this 15- to 20-minute film emotionally affected me along with the initiated pride. Nothing I have read or viewed in eight decades comes close. To procure this film and telecast it would be, I am convinced, an inspirational and prideful public experience.
There ought to be a number of local organizations, newspapers, TV, et al., that could undertake this effort. All of the indicated accomplishments by our ancestors can be repeated. The same resources, and even better, are still available but dormant. The question, however, is can we muster the same initiative, motivation, pride and passion our predecessors generously invested for our well-being? Or will we be simply content to go to the vaguely promised banquet but not ourselves work in the kitchen? We have had enough promises by you know who. Chicken wings alone won't cut it.
Richard E. Greco Sr.
Stop blaming teachers for children's problems
Talk show hosts, parents and politicians criticize the teaching profession almost every day. We are told that teachers earn too much, that our vacations are unjustified, that we don't know much, that our pensions are too big and that we are responsible for the failure of some of our students to succeed.
The most important outcome of this constant assault on our profession is that students now in college who might be talented teachers are unwilling to enter a profession that brings with it endless condemnation. The truth is that the average pay for public school teachers is $55,000 a year. To earn this a teacher must have both a bachelor's and a master's degree after studying for six years at considerable expense. Unable to support the average family of four, teachers do not have a lengthy vacation in the summer months because they must find a summer job to make ends meet.
Teachers do not get paid for their time. We get paid for what we know. Can the criticizers teach physics and calculus? Can they teach history and geography? Can the criticizers teach anything or are they just talking? Research has shown that students whose parents respect teachers and demand their children pay attention, do their homework and study will have good results. Those who fail their children in these respects need to examine their role in their children's problems instead of blaming teachers, on whom our entire civilization rests.
Instead of treating teachers like skunks at a picnic, I suggest we boost the profession so that those now shying away from pedagogy will be attracted to the rewards of teaching, which are certainly not monetary.
Professor of Sociology
Buffalo State College
U.S. must cut more to eliminate deficit
The government is proposing to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. That means we'll still have a debt of $10 trillion. At this rate, we'll still be in debt for the next 50 years. When President Bill Clinton was in office, there was no deficit.
Schools have to stop burdening taxpayers
Are you planning to vote on your proposed school budget on May 17? Many of these budgets will significantly increase property taxes. While it is no surprise that New York State is cutting funding of local school budgets, most districts are trying to make homeowners increase their already burdensome taxes, even though student enrollments continue to decline.
Some suggest that a veto of the school budget means we are "cutting education." That's pure nonsense. The growth in school budgets can be corrected by right-sizing classrooms that have dwindled in size with the exodus of residents over the last several years.
A recent special report by The News cites that "Enrollment has dropped, but average cost per student is 27 percent more than in 2005-2006." That is definitely the case in the Iroquois School District, where the current student/teacher ratio is only 12.7 and enrollments are projected to continue to decline. Despite the opportunity to right-size classrooms and thereby significantly cut expenditures, the School Board adopted a budget that creates a 5.39 percent increase in the tax levy. This increase follows a 32 percent increase in the total district tax levy since 2005-2006. It's no wonder that home values are stagnant and retirees move to states with a lower tax burden.
Highly credentialed studies have failed to show a correlation between spending per pupil or reduced class size and improved student performance. What is well-known today is the relationship between excessive property taxes and their detriment to home values, business viability and sustainability of residence for many retirees. Voting against these excessive school budgets isn't about "cutting education," but rather managing the allocation of teachers and their controversial contracts.
Penny L. Pennington