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Everybody's Column

Breaking up City Honors ?would be terrible mistake

It seems that the editorial policy of The Buffalo News, in reference to the Buffalo Public Schools, is that they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. On a regular basis, the schools are blasted for low test scores and poor graduation rates. Now its headlines spotlight City Honors for being successful on national school ratings, implying too much emphasis is placed on high test scores.

One recent graduate is quoted as complaining that the school just seemed to want her to be the best she could be and be qualified for admission at the college of her choice. "What a pressure cooker" she lamented. Are you kidding me? Isn't that what we want from our schools? Both of my sons recently graduated from Honors after each spent eight years in what I consider the best possible academic environment. Both were accepted at excellent colleges, received scholarships that saved them more than $300,000 and, most importantly, were very successful at those schools because of the training and preparation that City Honors and the AP and IB courses provided them.

It is important to state that City Honors is much more than just "tests, tests and tests." My sons both participated on championship athletic teams, of which there are many, and were active in many of the more than four dozen extracurricular activities. They also formed many great friendships that they continue to maintain to this day.

Most importantly, let us put to rest the "Break up City Honors" rumors. It is not going to happen. We cannot let it happen. City Honors, Hutch Tech, Da Vinci and Olmsted are among many great choices that city residents have to send their children to high school. Let us work together to improve the schools that need help, but not by destroying our best schools.

Peter J. Hurley



Students must do the math? before taking on huge loans

I'm having trouble feeling sorry for the Harvard MBA holder who was shocked by his student loan bill. I am referring to the article in The Buffalo News on June 11, about the poor Harvard graduate who didn't bother doing the most relevant math problem of his life!

Presumably, someone with such an MBA might be doing a budget for a company or advising a string of clients in personal finance. Is he someone you would trust with math?

Ideologically, we have an aspiring 1 percenter who thought that "I would go to Harvard, get a high-paying job and everything would be OK." Many articles of late have discussed how more money is being sunk into private universities, while students at state schools are battered with escalating tuition, creating an uneven playing field not seen since pre-World War II.

Is this the private product?

As a person who has always been fiscally responsible, I am not terribly sympathetic to these social climbers.

In the recent past, only those who knew they would make a good living — orthopedic surgeons, trial lawyers — would wisely take the chance of a big borrow. Cavalierly accruing student debt has now extended to people studying for more modest jobs like teachers and social workers.

His lack of embarrassment about the whole matter seems out of character for a Harvard man. I hope we have not gotten to the point in our culture where such whining "ignorance" could be acceptable or even pitiable.

Linda Lauren



Stronger police presence? vital in downtown Buffalo

On a recent Saturday night, my wife and I went to the Irish Classical Theater to see a play. The same night Shea's had a popular show running. Downtown was booming, the weather was beautiful, parking lots were full and people were walking all around enjoying the evening. The performance was spectacular and the whole evening was extremely entertaining and enjoyable until we started walking the block and a half back to our car. As my wife and I are walking on Main Street, where no cars are allowed – particularly police cars – out of nowhere we were confronted by a street person soliciting money. I politely but firmly said we had no cash on us and we proceeded on our way. We hadn't walked 50 yards and we were confronted again by another panhandler who was a little more aggressive in his tone and body language. Again I was polite but a little more forceful in my response and soon he was on his way.

As a retired Buffalo firefighter who worked on Buffalo's West and East sides for 32 years, I wasn't too surprised by the encounters. But my wife felt threatened and was quite taken aback by both encounters. I realize the mayor is very busy doing his photo-ops at the Taste of Buffalo and the Allentown Art Festival. But just maybe he could find some way to have a police presence on foot patrol around these popular entertainment venues. Visitors from all over Erie County come downtown on the weekends and these kind of encounters are very disturbing. I am sure the mayor and his distinguished Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda will be quick to respond. Buffalo police are the best – they just have to be implemented and used more intelligently.

Phil Ryan

West Seneca


Practicing the golden rule? would end much suffering

It's amazing to me that at this point in our history, many of us still believe and keep searching for Shangri-La, the utopian dream of heaven on earth. From my perspective, the dream of utopia has morphed into the reality of me-topia.

As impossible as it sounds, there is a simple maxim that, if followed from the time of Cain and Abel, would have prevented all human suffering; the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." That sentiment, of course, has changed to "Do it to them before they can do it to you."

By the time of Christ, the latter thought was prevalent and Jesus had to alter the message by advising us to love our enemies as ourselves. Had the golden rule been followed from the start, there would be no such thing as an enemy. But I digress.

What's in it for me? What do I get out of it? Fend for yourself. These are the concerns for me-topians. Me-topia has gained a firm foothold in the United States. Some of our leaders believe that for America to apologize for anything in our past is shameful, since we must maintain and insist on unanimity of praise for "American exceptionalism." I imagine that Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Herod, Pontius Pilate and Hitler all felt that their cause was "exceptional" as well.

I am not so naive as to think that this letter will gain much popular support; in fact I expect to receive some nasty and vitriolic comments if published.

We recently watched Nik Wallenda's walk across the falls. His dedication to prayer was inspiring. He walked the walk. I am a Vietnam veteran. I enlisted. I walked the walk. If one claims to follow the Christian ethic, don't just talk the talk; walk the walk.

Robert J. Wegrzynowski