My family subscribes to LI Herald, as it brings diverse local news, including opinions. Back in March, Al D’Amato published his contribution entitled “Charter schools are a win for taxpayers.” It was crap and I forgot about it. Yet, the ongoing debate on Herald’s pages whose opinions are worth publishing and whose are not keeps reminding me of his article.
D’Amato served as US Senator in the 90s, before Chuck Schumer. He brought G. Pataki to the state political scene. Last year he supported A. Cuomo in his re-election campaign. He is a significant lobbyist for online poker industry. His firm, Park Strategies is among top five lobbying firms in New York. They list over 100 clients. His LI Herald contributions date back to early 2000s.
He started his opinion piece (link above) with an admission:
“To be honest, I don’t know enough about the issue [Common Core] to come down on one side or the other.”
Such a statement reveals that D’Amato’s two children from the current marriage are attending a school that doesn’t use the Common Core as a pretext to evaluate teachers.
The second paragraph proceeds directly to the core of the headline:
“Let me tell you what I think works in education: charter schools.”
But, instead of presenting some evidence in support of his statement, he goes on about Cuomo’s and Skelos’ 2015 NYS budget plans. He declares:
“The evidence is clear: Students succeed in charter schools.”
Yet again, he doesn’t present any evidence even for this, different topic. Instead, D’Amato admits charters are a contentious issue; quotes a reporter from The Daily News and admits that not all charter schools are good. He proceeds to give readers his opinion on a charter movement in Lawrence, NY for 120 students:
“To me, this is democracy at its best.”
Really. After this introduction to democracy, D’Amato returns again to Skelos’ budget plan, this time to a different part, Tuition Assistance Program, before jumping to promote a county legislator, his “good friend.”
D’Amato is an experienced lobbyist and politician. He was selling many opinions at once in that one opinion piece, but the reader didn’t learn how taxpayers are winning thanks to charter schools. A student at Malverne High would write a more comprehensive opinion. This recent Syosset HS graduate most certainly would.
Yet, there is nothing wrong with publishing D’Amato’s opinions, as some concerned citizens expressed. A general newspaper needs diverse opinions. It’s up to the readers to submit their opinions for publication. The Herald could have double the pages.