City having trouble focusing on schools

Sound Off To The Editor

Brooklyn Daily

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To the editor,

I find it most amusing that our troubled schools are now referred to as focus schools. The Department of Education never fails to amaze me in the respect that it refuses to acknowledge the problem, and rather comes up with fix-it solutions it fully well knows shall fail.

Let the public be made aware that these “focus” schools are generally ones where discipline has all but collapsed. Most are led by principals fresh out of the Leadership Academy. They barely or never taught, but are now experts in education. These are the schools where students basically run wild through the halls, scream, yell, fight, answer back, and curse the teacher. And their parents either never show up to school conferences, or when they do, they routinely blame the teacher for not making it interesting and state how wonderful their child is.

As we approach the start of another challenging school year, has the Department of Education called in the parents of the trouble-makers and read them the riot act? Of course not, as they don’t want to hurt the psyche of the parents or child. Instead, it is business as usual, with the same abysmal results promised for next June.

Stop with the poverty excuse already. Look inside the desk pockets. There is plenty of gum, candy, soda cans, and other stuff in there. Start focusing on vocational training, lowering class size, and the removal of chronically disruptive pupils who need to be placed in the 600 schools which are desperately needed. Stop with the nonsensical superintendent speeches that all children are capable of learning as they sit in cozy offices, far removed from the classroom setting. All educational personnel should be brought back to the classroom to teach just to see the conditions they have created.

Education in this city will never improve until the “focus” is placed on discipline.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Crime pays

To the editor,

I loved reading the story in the Courier about the “Ultimate” prizefighter, Conor McGregor, getting away with his dangerous attack in the Barclays Center (“Conor McGregor cuts plea deal, gets community service following Barclays melee” by Colin Mixson, online July 27). The district attorney and courts slapped his hand saying he is free, but must attend anger management classes? Now let’s see, his profession, as a fighter, is to beat the crap out of any opponent in the ring to win a fight. He is supposed to show his anger and hatred of his opponents to bolster his prestige both inside and out of the ring. I am sure that after these classes he will be an upstanding individual, calmly knitting fine Irish quilts, as he goes about pummeling any one entering the ring with him. Hummm.

Therese Okoumou, the woman protester who scaled the Stature of Liberty on July 4, was let go, Scot free, by the Federal court. So what if she endangered thousands of visitors to the statue below? So what if she made a spectacle, whereupon the island was closed, causing thousands of paying visitors to be ushered off the site while police coaxed her down? She broke numerous laws and threatened public safety and yet, out the door she strolls, with a pat on the head from the lenient court system.

These are but two examples of where we are heading in society today — laws are meaningless and enforcement is a press-fueled circus. So, if you, or thousands of others, are a victim of any crime, remember that the law is blind, as well as deaf and dumb, serving the rights of criminals rather that preserving our lawful society.Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Parking nightmare

To the editor,

After reading the article “MTA employees illegally park, evade tickets around Marine Park bus depot” by Kevin Duggan in your Aug. 3–9 edition, I feel that I should share the frustration that we the residents of E. 51st Street between Avenue O and Fillmore Avenue encounter every day.

Parking on our block is a nightmare for the residents. From early morning till late at night, our block has many cars that are parked by these drivers. Sometimes these drivers appear to park in a rush, and park so badly that they take up half of another spot, making it impossible for one of us, the residents, to park our cars.

These drivers as noted in the article have a parking lot available to them and they refuse to park there. This is becoming unbearable for the residents on 51st Street, who have to park blocks away until these horrible drivers end their shifts.

Frustrated 51st Street Residents

Marine Park

Help students grow

To the editor,

This letter is in reference to the story about Gov. Cuomo plowing millions into community gardens (“Gov. dedicates millions to grow boro’s community gardens” by Colin Mixson, online July 26).

As an educator and community-education advocate in Southern Brooklyn for the last 17 years, I applaud the fact that Cuomo is developing 22 community gardens in our borough. Also, we are bringing the New York Restoration Project into this mix.

Now, we need to bring our schools into this worthwhile community-educational initiative, and engage our students and parents in this big picture. Next, we want our community school superintendents and our Community Education Councils onboard with this community enhancement model for our local neighborhoods.

Gardening offers hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in a wide array of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, math, language arts (through garden journaling), visual arts (through garden design and decoration), and nutrition. With recent concern over relatively weak science and math skills among American children, the need for innovation in science and math teaching is apparent. There is mounting evidence that students who participate in school gardening score significantly higher on standardized science achievement tests.

Community garden has a statistically significant positive impact on residential properties within 1,000 feet of the garden, and that impact increases over time. Gardens have the greatest impact in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Higher-quality gardens have the greatest positive impact.

Let’s talk growing our communities and tapping into the vast resources of our students. It does take a village to make this happen.

Scott Krivitsky

Coney Island

A lot’s in a name

To the editor,

Special to your paper, Gersh Kuntzman wrote in the Aug. 3–9 issue about the apparent controversy with the changing of the spelling of the Verrazano Bridge (“Stop the presses! ‘Verrazano’ is spelled correctly!” online July 30). The bridge was named after Giovanni da Verrazzano, not after the “family name” as it was spelled 600 years ago. It was named after a specific human being, and historically, places and things are named for people, and that honorary naming is spelled the way the honoree spelled their name in their lifetime.

Considering we are a nation of immigrants — many of whom changed, or were forced to change, their names — if we researched the “historic” spelling of the names of honorees across our history and named places and things accordingly, most people, I suspect, would not have any idea who the actual honoree was.

Therefore, it seems the spelling with one “z” and not two, because of a six-century old spelling, misses the point and the honoree’s actual (read: current to his life) last name.

Robert Kaiser

Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Botanic Garden brass canned a green-space arborist for trying to thwart bigwigs’ scheme to destroy a beloved tree at the world-class plant preserve, a former garden worker and friend of the fired tree expert claimed (“Cut down: Brooklyn Botanic Garden fires arborist for trying to save trees, former garden worker claims,” by Colin Mixson, online Aug. 3).

Leaders at the horticultural museum dumped the eight-year employee earlier this month, according to his former colleague, who said the axed tree surgeon often butted heads with garden honchos whenever they wanted to chop down a good tree. The news sowed some seeds of discord among readers:

I was at the BBG for the weekly Members Summer Hours, and heard this from several people who work there; one made allusions to the current climate of intimidation, of [president] Scot Medbury’s “my way or the highway” form of management.

The site of the former London Plane has been sown in salt, uh, covered with mulch.Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights

Historian from Fort Greene: In all fairness, I note that the BBG is not under the supervision of NYC, the Parks Department, or Mayor DeBlasio. It is a separate, non-profit institution.Andrew Porter

from Brooklyn Heights

It seems the city wants to destroy as many trees as possible, not caring for residents’, taxpayers’, or retired citizens’ viewpoints. They have volunteers manicuring the parks, too cheap to pay employees who have maintained gardens for decades. I agree with Mr. Porter. What can we do?

DeBlasio has turned out to be a total creep. His minions are no better than Trump’s team.

Yep, people need green space. The glass-scrapers make working Downtown, and local residents, miserable this summer with the humidity. You’re lucky to get the breeze from a wind tunnel if you’re in the right place, but move in the wrong direction, it’s humid as heck.

The breeze that Brooklyn once knew is now blocked from the river that made Brooklyn nights so fun in the summer. Voters need politicians who consider putting environmental protections in place for parks, and any historical areas left in Brooklyn.

Brooklynites are losing too much light to “sky rooms” whose residents block out the sun finding it too hot up that high. What a hot mess!

Trees are important. Anyone vowing to disallow that while in office here in the city is equal to Trump environmentally.

Brooklyn the movie was a great movie showing what Brooklyn was like for two young lovers where the young and the old resided. Olmstead designed these parks and they are fabulous, and should be kept green and pristine where folks will appreciate them more.

Historian from Fort Greene

“King” Medbury has once again stood up from his throne, pounded his chest, and showed his arrogance by firing Alec Baxt, who was merely trying to protect a tree that was beloved by many members and non-members alike.

Perhaps this was Medbury’s way of saying to his employees “shut up,” or you are out. In this decade, Medbury has completely shut down the research program and laid off those involved, built a $28-million visitors’ center that few use except to visit the rest rooms, cut down countless healthy trees — including just several this past week, in addition to the glorious vines along the path bordering the back of the rose garden — and so much else for his and only his personal “visions for the 21st century.”

Tens of millions of dollars are being spent for this, and yet so many aspects are in complete disrepair. The fence along the walkway surrounding the pond in the Japanese garden is so broken down and corroded and in parts that it is a disgrace. And things are almost as bad in the Native Flora garden. The wood boards on the steps leading up from the visitors’ center are corroding even though they are only about 3-years-old. The list goes on.

Now, half the garden is closed to continue Medbury’s personal goals to tear up many areas of BBG, and only time will tell as to what will become of it. I have been a member for many years and my enthusiasm for the garden is close to bottoming out. I hate to see what is next on his personal agenda, or should I say vendetta.

Although the Botanic Gardens is not managed by NYC, it is on NYC property, and receives some city funding. It is unfortunate that it is managed by the arrogant Medbury. Perhaps he should be cut down from his pedestal and replaced.

Tom Vullo from Dyker Heights

Posted 12:00 am, August 12, 2018

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