Letters to the Editor: March 7, 2012

Van­dal­ism vic­tim’s in a for­giv­ing mood

On or around Feb. 4, I looked out of my home to see that my two vehicles had black spray paint on them.

To the per­son or per­sons who spray-painted the vehicles parked on Knorr Street in May­fair, I want you to know that you are for­giv­en.

I want you to un­der­stand that your ac­tion is for­giv­en be­cause you were not in your right mind. Please un­der­stand that all you think, ay and do will af­fect so­ci­ety as a whole, in­clud­ing your­self.

We all want to live in peace with one an­oth­er, and I am ask­ing you to please con­sider your heart be­fore this ac­tion is taken again and to ex­tend love to all of your broth­ers and sis­ters.

Dur­ing this time, I had been griev­ing the death of my old­est broth­er, who was killed in a vehicle ac­ci­dent on the high­way.

 A big thank-you to Fant­ast­ic Col­li­sion Cen­ter in Levit­town for re­mov­ing the spray paint from both vehicles.

Ral­ph Ant­on­elli


Will Perzel get a slap on the wrist?

Ex-state House Speak­er John Perzel was ori­gin­ally charged with more than 80  crim­in­al counts (mostly felon­ies) in Dauph­in County.

He has some sort of a plea deal with the pro­sec­u­tion for only eight counts, to which he pleaded guilty about six months ago. So why hasn’t he been sen­tenced and put in­to pris­on?

I have only two ques­tions: Is he, be­cause of be­ing a Pennsylvania Re­pub­lic­an oliti­cian, go­ing to re­ceive such a “light sen­tence” that we will all com­plain about it? Will ex-con­vict Pennsylvania Re­pub­lic­an Tom Druce drive him to his next job?

May­er Krain

Mod­ena Park

Let­ter about kids’ lunches was hard to di­gest

Ac­cord­ing to Pat Dougherty of May­fair, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is “send­ing in thugs to take a child’s lunch away from him!” (Let­ters to the Ed­it­or, Feb. 22 edi­tion).

If that’s a char­ac­ter­iz­a­tion of new rules that change school-provided meals by adding more fruits and green ve­get­ables and re­du­cing the amount of salt and fat, the words speak for them­selves.

We are also told that we are rap­idly los­ing our liberty. How, ex­actly? At least Pat Dougherty hasn’t lost the liberty to get three let­ters harshly crit­ic­al of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pub­lished in the last five months in the North­east Times. Still be­lieve that no one re­mem­bers Obama from his school days or his wed­ding?

Pat Dougherty likes Amer­ica the way it’s been for the last 236 years. I’m not sure what that means, be­cause Amer­ica hasn’t been any one way all those years. Eighty-nine years with slavery aren’t en­tirely likable. Nor am I un­mit­ig­atedly fond of the 189 years when many blacks, in fact if not al­ways in law, couldn’t vote, or the 144 years when many wo­men couldn’t vote, either.  

Howard J. Wilk


• • •

Did I miss something? What thugs? What lunches? It doesn’t take someone skinny or a col­lege grad to see our coun­try most def­in­itely has an “obesity prob­lem.”

Many people are not con­cerned or couldn’t care less about our chil­dren and their fu­ture, so gov­ern­ment some­times needs to step in.

As for keep­ing Amer­ica as it was 236 years ago, I don’t know about you, Pat, but I like hav­ing no slaves, be­ing able to vote, and not hav­ing a man dic­tate every as­pect of my life.

Mary­anne Mis­nik


Change the law so ‘re­tire’ really means ‘re­tire’

Our politi­cians are sup­posed to be work­ing for the people who elec­ted them to run our city, but I see all they are do­ing is work­ing for them­selves.

Six City Coun­cil mem­bers re­tired in Janu­ary be­cause they took more than $2 mil­lion in DROP money pay­ments and around $100,000 in an­nu­al pen­sions for each mem­ber.

Greedy Coun­cil­wo­man Mari­an Tasco de­cided she would re­tire for one day and come back the next day and go back to her old job after tak­ing $478,057 for noth­ing.

The DROP pro­gram was cre­ated to take care of city work­ers, po­lice de­part­ment and fire de­part­ment work­ers and to help de­part­ments plan for their re­tire­ment.

What would hap­pen if 1,000 po­lice of­ficers, fire­fight­ers and city work­ers would pull a stunt like the one Coun­cil­wo­man Tasco pulled? Why should she be able to re­tire one day and un­re­tire the next and col­lect all that money? The law should be, when you re­tire, you are re­tired!

Coun­cil and the may­or should stop this money grab and start to work for the people of Phil­adelphia.

Our schools su­per­in­tend­ent did a sim­il­ar thing to our strapped school dis­trict by tak­ing $905,000 and then she had to the gall to try to col­lect un­em­ploy­ment be­ne­fits.

Wil­li­am Cole


Save Our Lady of Ransom

Re­gard­ing the schools in the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia that were not gran­ted an ap­peal.

Our Lady of Ransom School truly is a gem. I re­cently left the school for an­oth­er ca­reer op­por­tun­ity. I was the sixth-grade teach­er for the past two years. Hav­ing the chance to work at OL­OR has really opened my eyes to the true defin­i­tion of Cath­ol­ic edu­ca­tion. It is with a heavy heart I had to leave this school.

I felt so wel­comed to be at this school. The ex­per­i­enced teach­ers along with the prin­cip­al, Miss McGuirl, made this a pos­it­ive place to work and teach. Be­ing in the sys­tem for quite a few years made me come to ap­pre­ci­ate all OL­OR has to of­fer to the edu­ca­tion of the chil­dren in this area. This school of­fers not only a top-notch edu­ca­tion by ex­per­i­enced staff, but also the sub­jects of gym, art, com­puter, Span­ish, lib­rary and mu­sic.

The chil­dren at this school are provided with nu­mer­ous ex­tra­cur­ricular activ­it­ies with the sup­port not only of the par­ish but of the par­ents as well. OL­OR of­fers a tele­con­fer­en­cing hon­ors math pro­gram that is home to five oth­er schools as well. Clos­ing this school would cause this neigh­bor­hood to lose this beacon on the Boulevard that has served as a “home” to many pa­rish­ion­ers, staff, and fam­il­ies.

I am honored to have been part of this school com­munity and can only hope that the arch­diocese takes a closer look at what this school has to of­fer and the suc­cess­ful Cath­ol­ic stu­dents that are wel­comed and loved in this build­ing.

Thank you, OL­OR, for giv­ing me the chance to be part of your com­munity. All the best!

Jaclyn Rocks

• • •

As a teach­er at Our Lady of Ransom for 16 years, I re­tired in June 2010. I was gravely dis­heartened that this school, so close to my heart, is sched­uled to close.

This school is state-of-the-art with tech­no­logy, art, mu­sic, phys­ic­al edu­ca­tion, lib­rary, spe­cial read­ing pro­grams, coun­sel­ing ser­vices, hon­ors math pro­gram, and most of all, ded­ic­ated teach­ers who fo­cus on in­di­vidu­al chil­dren’s needs.

OL­OR has a mis­sion state­ment that is truly put in prac­tice. Many stu­dents gradu­at­ing from Ransom have schol­ar­ships to Cath­ol­ic high schools, and high school teach­ers have writ­ten or told us that Ransom stu­dents are be­haved, re­spect­ful and top in aca­dem­ics.

The Middle States Com­mis­sion, which re­viewed our school, was in awe that all cri­ter­ia of their stand­ards were met or ex­ceeded at Ransom. I could re­mem­ber them say­ing they didn’t want to leave be­cause they ex­per­i­enced a beau­ti­ful en­vir­on­ment.

I know every­one af­fil­i­ated with Ransom over the years would agree with me — SAVE RANSOM — the best school in North­east Philly!

Lor­raine Cole

As a teach­er, Tony Danza’s school days are be­hind him

Chan­ging Times

By John Scan­lon

It wasn’t sup­posed to be, but the setup for the news con­fer­ence was rather hu­mor­ous. There stood a quar­tet of of­fi­cials and a state law­maker at a mi­cro­phone to be­moan cuts in state aid for Philly’s pub­lic schools, and even Tony Danza had something to say.

You need some power­house at these press con­fer­ences, someone who has been in the trenches, to con­vey how edu­ca­tion is be­ing hurt. So who bet­ter than a former sit­com star who taught at North­east High School a couple years ago as fod­der for a real­ity TV show?

Tony Danza’s your man. And there he was on Feb. 23, shoulder to shoulder with state Sen. Mike Stack and three power­brokers in loc­al edu­ca­tion, all of them po­si­tioned stra­tegic­ally in front of school dis­trict headquar­ters, and Tony Danza’s telling it like it is.

He’s dis­heartened by in­ad­equate state fund­ing.

It only hurts the kids.

“At North­east High,” he said, sum­mon­ing the set­ting for his real­ity series more than a year ago on cable’s A&E net­work, “we lost shop teach­ers, art teach­ers. That sends a mes­sage to the kids that they really don’t mat­ter.”

Thank you, Mr. Danza, for those in­sights. Please have a seat.

I heard a ra­dio snip­pet of the press con­fer­ence and saw pho­tos on loc­al In­ter­net news sites. The Times didn’t cov­er it. Not that we’re be­ing sanc­ti­mo­ni­ous, it’s just that the whole thing smelled more like a photo opp than a le­git news story, be­cause in these grave times when the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia is jug­gling the need to slash a $39 mil­lion de­fi­cit by June with the sub­tleties of sav­ing aca­dem­ic pro­grams, what makes Tony Danza the voice of pain and suf­fer­ing in Philly’s classrooms?

Some­how a long-ago col­lege de­gree in his­tory edu­ca­tion and sev­en or eight epis­odes of a real­ity show called Teach have be­come his cer­ti­fic­ate. But Danza wasn’t a worthy center­piece of that press con­fer­ence, not when there are hun­dreds of teach­ers who have been in those Philly classrooms day after day, year after year, stand­ing up to the obstacles and hard­ships while im­buing kids with the joy of learn­ing — teach­ers who could have con­veyed those rig­ors quite elo­quently at a mi­cro­phone, and yet they’re home watch­ing Tony Danza on the 6 o’clock news tell every­one how tough their jobs are.

The fact is that al­most two years have passed since Danza’s real­ity ex­per­i­ence in that North­east High classroom. His real­ity series came and his real­ity series went. It was a re­cip­roc­al part­ner­ship — the school dis­trict got $3,500 an epis­ode and a $25,000 con­tri­bu­tion to North­east High; A&E got a classroom and put Danza’s im­age on an in­ter­act­ive Teach web site, a glitzy bit of tech­no­logy with a shop­ping link that peddled the of­fi­cial Teach cof­fee mug: Show you are a true Tony fan with this ex­clus­ive jumbo mug!

In the spir­it of full dis­clos­ure, I must con­fess that our re­la­tion­ship with the A&E pub­lic-re­la­tions gal went south at some point around that time. She kept push­ing schmaltzy stor­ies about Danza’s won­der­ful concept for the show, about how he viewed teach­ing 25 sopho­mores in an Eng­lish class at North­east High as the biggest chal­lenge of his life. We kept push­ing a val­id story of why a sit­com act­or wanted to make a sound­stage of a classroom for an en­tire school year, es­pe­cially a classroom in a be­lea­guered urb­an dis­trict where every second of in­struc­tion is vi­tal.

That’s not what the A&E pub­lic-re­la­tions gal had in mind. For­get PR. Stone­walling sud­denly be­came her spe­cialty. A&E was in full con­trol. Even North­east High prin­cip­al Linda Car­roll be­came elu­sive, will­ing to praise Danza’s teach­ing tech­nique but not so will­ing to dis­cuss wheth­er show-biz and edu­ca­tion were a good combo in the classroom. You’d have thought we were ask­ing if Mah­moud Ah­mad­ine­jad was en­rich­ing urani­um.

Now this isn’t to di­min­ish Danza’s sit­com chops. The dude was on fire in the ’80s, with the TV sit­coms Taxi and Who’s the Boss?, and he does seem a nice enough guy. Even if Teach even­tu­ally wheezed to its con­clu­sion, de­flated some­what by an audi­ence that gradu­ally played hooky over the en­su­ing weeks, the real­ity series earned some de­cent press re­views.

I ad­mit­tedly peeked at it a couple times. I tuned in for the very first time when Danza was on a cry­ing jag, and I figured, my God, he must’ve been roughed up or maybe even locked in the jan­it­ori­al closet and prin­cip­al Car­roll had to let him out, but I was re­lieved to learn that Tony was just hav­ing a rook­ie’s crisis of con­fid­ence.

That doesn’t mean Danza has paid his dues as a teach­er. It simply means good me­lo­drama for a TV show. It is nice that he keeps in touch with the school, as he did by host­ing a fund-rais­ing tal­ent show at North­east High on the day of that press con­fer­ence, but Tony Danza has be­come like the moth­er-in-law who ar­rives for Christ­mas and is still around on Ground­hog Day.

He has no street cred to be part of a press con­fer­ence pulled to­geth­er to rap Gov. Tom Corbett’s school-fund­ing policies. He has no re­sume to weigh in on tough times for Philly’s pub­lic schools.

That’s the province of a teach­er, not an act­or. ••

John Scan­lon is ed­it­or of the North­east Times. He can be reached at js­can­lon@bsmphilly.com

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