Letters to the Editor December 16, 2008

Steve Chittock

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 atreat to see the editor's column.

Over the years I've seen severaleditors 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 thelocal-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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