Letter: Don’t ‘confuse the message with the messenger’

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“There’s a growing movement against students taking tests. How else is academic progress and performance supposed to be measured,” asks Nat Weiner.
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To the Editor,

Re: Pascual Pelosi’s recent letter critical of Frank Vernuccio’s latest column.

The columnist may not be as far off the reservation on education as Mr. Pelosi feels he is. The other day I quoted a famous line out of Shakespeare to my 20-year-old son, and he didn’t recognize it. When I queried him further, there was hardly any Shakespeare in the curriculum. One of the greatest writers in the last millennium.

When my father was active in the Parents’ Association in the 1970s, he objected to one teacher chewing gum in class when students were not allowed to chew gum, and he objected to a male teacher with long, hippie-length hair. He was met with scorn and ridicule.

There’s a growing movement against students taking tests. How else is academic progress and performance supposed to be measured? There are organizations that are dedicated to lowering class size. I agree that class size is important; it should not be a top priority in our education system. I grew up with class sizes of 35 and 40 students.

A long time ago, a pastor at a local church would say, “I don’t want to hear what the teacher is not doing for you, I don’t want to hear what the school is not doing for you, I want to hear what you’re doing for you.” I don’t claim to be an expert on education, but perhaps a more conservative philosophy toward education could be considered.

As far as the columnist’s statement about teachers being instructed by the unions to brainwash students with leftist agendas, I don’t necessarily believe in a massive conspiracy as the one he implies, and no source is quoted. But if you go to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and type in the search box “endorsements,” you will see a list of the candidates endorsed by the UFT. I will leave it to the reader to draw his/her conclusion.

I agree with Mr. Pelosi’s past statements that sources other than small, independent, hard right-wing organizations should be quoted in the columnist’s columns. It is also quite obvious that the conservative author is not terribly high on Mr. Pelosi’s list of people he wanted Santa Claus to be good to; Mr. Pelosi is of course entitled to his opinion. But I do urge Mr. Pelosi to not confuse the message with the messenger.

Nat Weiner

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