April 29, 2005

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Students need learn before High School

This is in regards to an article entitled, “The Truth About Education Policy” by Adam Chavarria in your April 15, 2005 edition.  In this article he states, “Despite this progress, Hispanic students are entering high school reading below grade level, not academically prepared in the core subject areas of math and science...”  He then goes on to state, “...the president’s High School Initiative is destined to change it (high school drop out rate).”  My question is this, “Why aren’t we focusing on improving the elementary and middle schools where the skills needed to learn reading at grade level and to prepare for math and science are actually taught instead of paying for remediation and catch-up in high school where there is limited time, money, and resources to tutor these students after the fact?”

It seems to make more sense and to be more effective to teach them these skills BEFORE high school. This would give high school teachers more time to actually teach the subjects they are supposed to in order to prepare them for possible college entry instead of spending ever-growing amounts of time trying to “fill in the gaps”.

Jim Sprague
La Mesa

Aztlan was taken from us.

First of all I would like to thank you for the time and space your newspaper gives us readers to send our feedback and thoughts. I believe that anyone who writes without knowledge, facts or truth and writes with ignorance guided by hatred is a fool. How Can Mr. Rice (The Public Forum, published April 8, 2005) say that Mexicans have no respect and morals for this country, may I remind him that we are part of this country as well, and we are the force that is holding the United States. The Minutemen in my personal view are nothing more than right-wing supremacists, hypocrite, and ignorant, they claim to protect this land, may I remind all those who don’t know U.S. History that the pilgrims landed on a land that didn’t belong to them, I call that an invasion. Mr. Rice states that Immigrants (Mexicans) should assimilated the American way, not that his ancestors assimilate the native American way, his ancestors slaughtered and robbed the native Americans from their lands. As a proud Mexican I would never give up my heritage, culture or history for the miserable crumbs of America, why should I or my people suffer in our Tierras (Land). History and God know that Manifest Destiny and the greed of Uncle Sam were the forces that stole Aztlan. Don’t get me wrong I don’t say this to stir controversy or invoke chaos, I write this to remind all those who speak negative facts about my people, That the making of this country was by the villany, greed and hypocrisy of the founding fathers, now what we should be focusing on is the way that we can obtain cultural alignment, thank you,

Viva La Raza!

Andres Jimenez
via email

Delay leadership, is this the type we need?

What will it take for this Republican Congress to show some modicum of honesty and ethics?

We now hear that Senator Delay has been taking money from FOREIGN COMMUNIST interests!

Is this the types of leaders we need in these times when we are trying to battle foreign terrorists trying to harm our citizens?

I am enraged that we have this person parading around as a representative of our people when all the time he is being paid to watch out for foreign interests in our country.

I urge the newsmedia to cover the myriad abuses by Tom Delay so that our citizens are aware of the real Tom Delay agenda. And while you’re at it, tell them how the Ethics Committee was purged of those wanting to get to the truth, and then was packed with Delay cronies. We need to protect the integrity of our Congress.

I urge Americans to contact their Congressmen and get this man out of our ruling bodies! And we need to do it NOW!

Patricia Gracian
San Diego

Redesigning Morse High School as a Small Schools Campus

The district appears to be going full speed ahead on its plans to convert Morse High School into another of the small schools campuses (now called learning communities) in San Diego. There is a small cadre of teachers at Morse that, for a variety of reasons, are backing that effort but the majority of the teachers and staff do not want that change. The majority of the community has not been adequately informed of the plans despite several efforts on the part of the Principal to get parents to community meetings. This plan involves the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pumping lots of money into the school under the guise of better educating our students.

In Bill Gates’ home town of Seattle he is having trouble gathering support. There are success stories in Boston and New York but none here in San Diego. The effort of small schools is primarily designed to improve drop-out rates. Morse has 3050 students. The plan is to break it up into 4 schools or academies or learning communities of @ 750 students with a VP for each. Additional teachers are not being hired which is what is actually needed to reduce class sizes of 35-40 kids.3000 divided into 4 small academies or learning communities is still 3000 kids. Until class size is reduced, the individual attention they claim will result from the redesign will never happen. Teachers will continue to have big classes and counselors will continue at Morse to be responsible for 400-500 kids each.

What they plan for next year is, for the 9th and 10th graders, is to have small teams of teachers that will be assigned a group of kids. This means that a kid will have the same science teachers for his or hers different science class or math class etc. This is a good thing if the teachers are certified in each topic which most are not. The classes will still be big and unmanageable and the administrative burden increases greatly for teachers who already are responsible for way too many kids. I welcome Bill Gates’ philanthropic efforts. But I don’t think we need him to tell us in the community, parents and teachers alike, what we need to do to fix problems. The problem is too many students in our classes. We could use his money to hire more teachers, bring in portable classrooms or build more classrooms, reduce class sizes, and improve discipline in the class. The result will be that kids will get the attention they require, there will be more time spent instructing instead of disciplining and the bottom line is that kids will learn and want to be in school... reducing greatly the drop-out rates.

John L. Phillips
San Diego

I am writing to voice my concern about military recruitment within Schools.

There are recent studies which reveal that 17 year olds lack the mental development or maturity to be held responsible for their judgements. This was in relation to using the death penalty for crimes committed by young adults.

It seems to me that this provides a sound basis for keeping slick talking recruiters out of our schools. We must never sink to the level where we look upon our schools as the source of “cannon fodder” for the ambitions of cowardly politicians who themselves would never spend a day in uniform. 

Militarism has to stop! It is always the same sector of our society which ends up doing the fighting and dying. When will we wake up to this basic fact? I’m a 30 year veteran of the military.

Tom Comeau
Lemon Grove

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