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Letters to the Editor December 16, 2008

Clumping grade levels is not in the best interest of kids


I was unable to attend the School Board meeting last Thursday afternoon because I have to be at work at 4 p.m. (as do many parents).  So I would like to address the School Board members and the district administration in this public forum.  I applaud Board member Tom Cochran for indicating that he wanted to get the input of parents whose children will be affected by the possible reconfiguring of the elementary schools before making any decisions.


I believe that the idea to clump grade levels into one school site is not in the best interest of our children. I am well aware of the burden placed on teachers who have to teach a “combo” class and I empathize with their plight, but that is a reality which is associated with small schools and small school districts. I think that what the district is really concerned about regarding this idea is the bottom line — money.


I also do not believe that “clumping” the schools will necessarily increase test scores or increase a teacher’s ability to meet the “standards” (which are actually a hindrance to truly great teachers). Most of us adults who graduated high school and beyond before the government came up with these standards of education have done just fine due to teachers who taught the children and not the standards. When my older son was in first grade he was in a first and second grade combination class and I believe that he actually benefited from the experience.


Dismantling the “neighborhood school” would be a major mistake.  The six or so years that children spend at their neighborhood school helps to shape their entire academic outlook.  For my older son, it was a significant rite of passage for him when he was old enough to walk to and from school with his friends or ride his bike to school. 

Busing small children all the way across town would rob these current and future youngsters of a similar experience, not to mention the bond  with the other neighborhood kids that would not be built.


I actually have plenty more to say on this subject but I will save it for a future letter or hopefully a board meeting scheduled at a time that will allow working parents to attend.  So for now, I urge you to proceed slowly and with great caution when considering this notion of reconfiguring the elementary schools, because you are about to open up a Costco-sized can of worms.

Rich Gruden
Crescent City

It is really a treat to see the editor’s work in the paper


I take pleasure in reading the editor’s compositions when they appear. It is really a treat to see the editor’s column.


Over the years I’ve seen several editors of The Triplicate. Perhaps the news was different, which does not excuse the lack of attention to Del Norte that was apparent at times. Now we can all enjoy the editor’s contribution to Crescent City, which shows genuine interest in the affairs of Del Norte County.


Never have I seen the local-interest thoughts from the editor as I have with Mr. Wiens, and I thank him for showing his thoughts and views of Del Norte County.


One does not have to agree, but certainly can be glad to read it.
Thanks again.
 
John W. South

North Highlands

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