Volume 17, Number 43 | March 18 - 24, 2005

Letters to the editor

I.S. 89 diversity

To The Editor:
Re “Parent campaign at P.S. 89 offends I.S. 89” (news article, March 11 - 17):

I am a parent who lives in Battery Park City, and contrary to what Angela Benfield said (“the parent who would be turned off by [the buttons] wouldn’t be parents who live in the neighborhood”) I am opposed to making I.S. 89 a zoned school. It is a wonderful thriving little jewel of a place and works very well as is.

I would not want my daughter, who is a seventh grader at I.S. 89, to only be in school with other students from Battery Park City. The wonderful children chosen by Ellen Foote come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds (and a wide range of test scores too) and that makes for a great New York school — not a privileged enclave.

Cheryl Moch

Puzzled by principal

To The Editor:
Re: “Parent campaign at P.S. 89 offends I.S. 89” by Ronda Kaysen (news article, March 11 - 17):

After serving our community as a teacher at P.S. 234, a zoned school of local children, Ellen Foote appeared to be a great choice for principal of I.S. 89. And I voted for her to be made principal as part of a committee of parents and school administrators.

That’s why I’m puzzled.

After hundreds and hundreds of local parents have been pleading for years for a local zoned middle school for their community, Ellen is “not happy to hear about it,” and recommends that the I.S. 89 P.T.A. “just let the issue drop.” It is sad that someone as responsible to our community for so many years as Ellen would not lend an ear to the wishes of nearly all the parents of students at P.S. 89.

And a P.S./I.S. 89 K - 8 coupled with the planned new East Side K - 8 would not only serve the parents of Battery Park City, but also those in Tribeca, the Financial District, and the Seaport area.

And N.Y.C. children who attend I.S. 89 should not feel “snubbed.” When P.S. 89 combines with I.S. 89 to become a zoned K-8, it will be phased in and no one will be “kicked out.” Nearly all other communities in NYC have a nearby zoned middle school, and our community’s students have to apply to these middle schools in order to get in. If students from outside of our area wish to apply to I.S. 89 after it is zoned, they will still be able to apply, and they will still have a chance to be admitted.

My hope is for a secured local public school seat for all of our graduating 5th graders in the C.B. 1 area, not a “single K-8 for B.P.C. kids” as Ms. Kaysen writes. With the new K-8 on the East Side and P.S./I.S. 89 becoming a K-8, we will be able to meet our goal.

And finally, the conversion of P.S./I.S. 89 into a K-8 needs no funding. It simply needs the attention of our community leaders. I still hope that I was correct in thinking that Ellen Foote is one of them.

Tom Goodkind
Parent of a P.S. 89 child

Middle East reality

To The Editor:
A letter writer identifies himself as a “working class schmuck” who has recently left the Democratic Party for the Republicans (Letters, March 11 – 17, “Positioning bias”).  And that is his right, of course, as indeed it is for all schmucks, working class, elite or unemployed.

However, the writer complains that the Downtown Express has been critical of President Bush. So let me ask something. Is it not the role of the media to “speak truth to power,” however inconvenient?  Or like the current administration, does he really prefer the media to become a mouthpiece for political manipulation?

I cannot agree that a newspaper should be uncritical of this president’s really disturbing record of mistakes and misrepresentation. The writer suggests he accepts the war against terror/war for democracy hype, but as an American Muslim with overseas experience, I assure you that you cannot force democracy in the Middle East. As much as reform is needed, the danger of backlash has always been much greater.  Change is coming from within. It can be gently supported. But every time the president proclaims a global jihad for freedom (and Coca Cola) it makes the work of moderate and progressive Muslims that much harder.

In this diverse city of ours it is fair that we should agree to disagree. Most of us have at times been marginalized, though some groups and identities have suffered from this more than others. Those poor conservatives! They are clearly in ascension but still portray themselves as victims.  It is very clever. I would be willing to listen to an hour of Rush Limbaugh if you dear sir would be willing to read a Paul Krugman Web site from one hour on a variety of subjects. Otherwise are we going to argue over print and broadcast space forever?  Instead, why don’t we work together to solve some of the problems we all face, instead of being lost in the politics of fear and resentment.

Adem Carroll

No joy in Soho-ville

To The Editor:
Replying to Doug Lunn’s letter, “Disappointed in Gerson” (Feb. 25 – Mar. 3), I have to admit I’m a “whiner;” not about the legitimate artists on W. Broadway but about the other vendors who have illegally taken over our streets and not for art. Try walking on Prince St. any weekend and one sees no vestige of the quality of life our neighborhood once had — just wall to street vendors leaving no room for either tourists or residents — and Spring St. will be next.

There is no joy anymore walking out on the streets of Soho.

Bonnie Lynn

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