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oped letters & comments
You'll decide SHSAT fate in Nov.
BY SIMON MINCHING
Mayor Bill De Blasio’s proposal to scrap
the merit-based and color-blind SHSAT
that determines admission to our city’s
specialized high schools is on ice, but
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has vowed
to bring it up next session aft er the election.
At issue is Mayor Bill De Blasio’s misguided
proposal to scrap the merit-based
and color-blind SHSAT that determines
admission to our city’s specialized high
schools, to guarantee admission to the top
7 percent of all middle-schoolers.
At best, this an intellectually lazy
attempt to cover the real fl aws that exist
in our city’s schools; at worst, they are a
politically motivated ploy to polish his
progressive resume as he ponders his next
According to the mayor, the estimated
impact of the mayor’s policy is 500
additional minority students receiving
seats next year. Just 500, in a city of
over 750,000 black and Latino students,
where 48,000 students languish on charter
school waiting list. If implemented,
this plan is most likely to impact the
acceptance rate of Asian American students,
who currently represent a majority
As taxpayers of a diverse city, we
deserve better than being pitted against
one another, and our underperforming
and archaic education system indeed
demands reform on a more signifi cant
scale than a policy intervention limited to
a few schools (out of 1800+), where only
500 young boys and girls benefi t.
Th e good news is that there are already
well-known ways to reform education.
To move education policy into the 21st
century, we need to fund our schools at
a standard sane enough to be sustained
with reasonable tax rates, enough so that
our education department’s purchasing
power will not be eroded over time.
Let’s double down on early childhood
education, which is supported by social
science research as delivering strong
Our state must pursue an “all-of-theabove”
school choice platform that allows
children currently losing the “ZIP code
lottery” to rise and be given a chance at
an excellent education, without partisan
preference for a particular educational
Finally, we must exhibit the courage of
our convictions to reward the most talented
teachers and secure the painfully
necessary union concessions that would
cap or end the Absent Teacher Reserve.
We can experiment with fl exible curriculum
models that do not assume college
to be the ultimate goal for all students
and reinstitute a school safety culture
that protects our teachers and provides
our youth with the discipline to succeed
Lawmakers in Albany should remain
focused on the broader vision of how
to fi x New York’s education for all, but
with Speaker Heastie’s promise to bring
this legislation up for a vote next session,
there’s a real chance that they will instead
continue to pursue politically expedient
fi xes that divide instead of uniting. Keep
that in mind when you go to the polls in
Simon Minching is a Republican and
Conservative candidate for New York
State Senate District 11.
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SOUNDING OFF ON SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
Th e Workmen’s Circle condemns the
Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the
narrative of hatred, bigotry and exclusion
that is inherent in the president’s travel
ban from primarily Muslim countries.
As Jews, we know all too well the
dangers of closing our borders to refugees.
Less than a century ago it was
Jews trapped in Eastern Europe with the
United States denying them safe haven.
Last week, the Supreme Court upheld
the president’s right to issue an order
that will eff ectively serve as a death sentence
to thousands of desperate refugees
from Sudan, Syria, Chad, Yemen and others,
who have viewed America as their
Th is is a shameful day for the United
States, as SCOTUS allowed our government
to send an indelible message to the
world around us that we are no longer a
country of hope and freedom for all.
We stand with our Muslim brothers
and sisters, and pledge to join in the fi ght
against President Trump’s actions to close
our Borders to Muslims, to Mexicans, to
South and Central Americans. Today
we reaffi rm our commitment to fi ght at
every turn for what is fundamental to our
democracy: there must be no discrimination
on the basis of religion and our country
must remain a sanctuary to all seeking
a safe and better life.
Ann Toback, Executive Director,
Th e Workmen’s Circle
When Winston Churchill was told that
his postwar defeat might be a “blessing
in disguise,” he replied, “At the moment
it seems quite eff ectively disguised.” Th at
might be the view of public employee
unions aft er the Supreme Courts’ Janus
decision regarding bargaining rights for
municipal workers. But the disguise in
this case is see-through.
Battle lines are drawn and the unions,
carrying the banner for all middle-class
Americans, know where they stand.
Now there’s no mistaking or leaving on
the back burner of consciousness, what
defi nes them. Th e Supreme Court has
reset their “GPS” and they know where
they must go and how to get there.
Th ere will be an indomitable spirit in
the air with a dead-serious complement
of hard-nosed strategy on the ground.
Tools and tactics will be deployed on all
fronts as befi ts the context and provocations
Unions have endured existential threats
in the past and not merely survived, but
fl ourished and triumphed, though sometimes
aft er traumatic retreats that had at
fi rst enervated them. Th e Supreme Court
ruling has constructed a steep new mountain
for unions to climb, but though they
will break a sweat, they will position their
fl ag deep into its earth at the top.
Th ose irrational Justices with their
impeccable legal arguments may render
binding verdicts that must be obeyed even
when disrespected. But the soul and resolution
that gives unions their power and
moral authority are impervious to them.
It cannot be dissolved or repudiated by
the misfi red torpedo of Janus.
Ron Isaac, Fresh Meadows
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or its staff .
As reported, Supreme Court Justice
Anthony Kennedy announced that
he will retire on July 31. Th is gives
President Donald Trump the opportunity
to nominate a true conservative
to the Supreme Court. Although the
Democrats would like this to occur aft er
the midterm elections, I hope President
Trump gets his way and this occurs
sooner than later.
One fear that some have is this could
mean the repeal of Roe v. Wade, a decision
that was the legalization of abortion.
I would applaud the repeal because in my
opinion I believe all life is sacred from
conception to the grave. I believe in what
the Declaration of Independence states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident
that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their creator with certain
unalienable rights that among them is life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Why are the unborn not aff orded these
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks