My letters

Submitted letters to the editor and other parties. Only a few of these were published.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

To the editor:

The additional $5.6 billion per year slated for the New York City public-education system would bring the cost per pupil to more than $16,000 per year (“Peg Money For Pre-K, Overcrowding, Says UFT Chief,” Park Slope Courier, Dec. 20). Many children in public schools could get a better education at lower cost in a private school, if only the Department of Education would take advantage of the well-known fact that the private sector always produces goods and services of better quality and at lower cost than government does. Would you want the government manufacturing and selling your canned corn?

UFT chief Randi Weingarten doesn’t suggest how to use the additional money to relieve overcrowding. They never do, but it could mean building new facilities at enormous expense, money that could be spent instead raising teacher salaries dramatically so as to attract better teachers.

The experience of Milwaukee can be used to reduce overcrowding and save money at the same time. Simply offer each parent in an overcrowded school $3,000 per year to put toward private- or parochial-school tuition, or homeschooling, if they will take their child out and educate the child elsewhere. If the school is still overcrowded, offer $4,000, and so on. For each parent who accepts the offer, the taxpayer saves $12,000 or $13,000 per year, parents get to choose exactly the schooling that suits their child best, and the child gets a better education. Everyone wins except bureaucrats, ideologues, and union bosses.

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Sunday, December 05, 2004

To the editor:

As a descendent of real slaves, I am deeply offended by Alan Slater dismissing the real horror of slavery by referring to restroom attendants as slaves (“Bathroom Slavery,” Letters, Flatbush Life, Dec.6). These restroom attendants were not torn from their families, transported to a strange land in unspeakable conditions, held against their will, forced to work, beaten, and raped. There are many higher-paying jobs available to people of little skills they could have taken, such as nanny or house cleaning, but I guess those are too much like real work compared to sitting quietly in an elegant restroom all day.

My prediction? These jobs will disappear now that restaurants have to pay for services they were previously getting for free. Many people don’t like restroom attendants anyway and would rather do their business in private.

On top of it, Mr. Slater is guilty of very serious literary malfeasance, since his so-called letter first appeared as an editorial in the New York Daily News on Oct. 10, 2004, under the title “The Slaves of New York.” The editorial can be viewed in part free of charge on nydailynews.com, and the full editorial can be purchased. Search on “bathroom slaves”. Even if Mr. Slater works for the Daily News and wrote the editorial, he should not have submitted it as a letter.

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