Letters To The Editor
To the Editor:
I am compelled to correct a statement in which I was misquoted in "Private Lower Schools Face Deluge of Determined Applicants" (Education Week, March 21, 1984).
Anyone who knows the wide variety of fine independent schools that is available to San Francisco families knows, too, the obvious inaccuracy of the statement that until San Franciso Day School was founded, the only alternatives for parents "were some laid-back, vegetarian-type schools." I said there was "even a laid-back, vegetarian-type school" after I carefully explained the academically very strong, well-established single-sex schools; the parochial, Montessori, bilingual schools; and smaller coeducational schools. Out of context, this reference is blatantly erroneous.
The San Francisco Day School has been a welcome and needed addition to elementary schools in San Francisco, but it is by no means the only responsible choice for concerned parents.
I have learned a great deal from this experience. Thank you for the opportunity to make amends and learn better how to handle a telephone interview with the press.
Nancy W. Simon School Head San Francisco Day School San Francisco, Calif.
To the Editor:
Is there no one left in this great country who believes that buying the votes of Congressmen is wrong? I found it very discouraging to read that the National School Boards Association is considering the creation of a political-action committee ("School Boards Ponder Unit for Political Action," Education Week, March 28, 1984). Resorting to a perversion because everyone else is doing it is the wrong route. Demanding that our elected representatives perform their sworn duties without accepting bribes should be the stand of every true American. Millicent Fenwick [former Republican Representive from New Jersey ], I miss you.
Harry I. Buch Superintendent Delanco Public Schools Delanco, N.J.
To the Editor:
Your coverage of the U.S. Education Department's March 27 hearings on the proposed regulations for the Protection of Pupil Rights Act left much to be desired ("Parents Seek Prompt Action on E.D. Privacy Regulation," Education Week, April 4, 1984).
Nowhere in the article did you mention that the hearing was one of seven regional hearings held across the country; that public-school teachers as well as parents testified in favor of strong regulations to enforce the amendment; and that the amendment passed in the Senate unanimously in 1978, which indicates a problem.
The importance of the testimony and the fact that the hearings drew more witnesses than any other Education Department hearings in recent years should have been pointed out. Parents and teachers flew and drove hundreds of miles to attend the hearings, at their own, not taxpayers', expense.
What witnesses protested in their testimony--the deliberate indoctrination of students in the government schools, paid for by federal dollars--parallels closely what citizens in Spain, Poland, and France are protesting in the streets. Abundant, documented evidence was presented that education's purpose is no longer to develop the intellect, but, in Benjamin S. Bloom's words, "to change the thoughts, feelings, and actions of students."
You seem to have completely missed the point that there is documented evidence--which would clearly be accepted in a court of law--that those who have poured hundreds of billions of tax dollars into education since the late 1950's to restructure education had as their primary goal the reshaping of America. I suggest your readers examine the testimony and decide for themselves if these regional hearings were as unimportant as you imply.
The testimony, most of which I have seen, makes Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell's costly "Nation at Risk" report look like a kindergarten primer. (Incidentally, that report states that we should not look for scapegoats.) The testimony presented at the hearings points the finger at the educators who masterminded the plans to change America's public-school system. It specifically points to "Pacesetters in Innovation," the Hawaii Master Plan for Education, Ronald Havelock's A Guide to Innovation in Education, and the Behavior Science Teacher Education Program as evidence that the deplorable situation in the public schools today did not happen by accident, but was carefully planned. The witnesses asked the Education Department not to go to those who were responsible for the handicapping of a generation of youths for advice on how to reform the system. This is important testimony.
Education Week is a first-class journal, but I was disappointed by the superficial coverage you gave to an issue of such importance. I trust that those who testified will not have to take their case to the streets, as is the case in Europe, before you and other establishment media give the issue the coverage it deserves.
Charlotte T. Iserbyt Former Special Assistant in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement U.S. Department of Education Camden, Me.
Editor's Note: The article, almost a full page in length, noted that the hearing was the last in a series of eight, that teachers testified, and that the amendment under discussion, the so-called "Hatch Amendment," was passed in 1978.
To the Editor:
Irwin A. Hyman and John D'Allessandro are basically correct in many areas of their commentary on discipline ("Oversimplifying the Discipline Problem," Education Week, April 11, 1984). However, I have been in education for more than 23 years, and I have yet to see or have firsthand knowledge of a student being punched, stomped, forced to eat noxious substances, stuck with pins, or locked in closets, vaults, or boxes. The pocket-knife incident in Chicago that the authors describe is also a new one to me.
In short, I assume one teacher somewhere at some time did these things to a student. What galls me is that the authors are just like our big-time mass-media television commentators. They take a rare and isolated experience and turn it into juicy common pronouncements to bolster the central point of their essay.
The authors also convey the impression that there is substantial overreaction by teachers nationwide to discipline matters. We have had enough overstatement and garnishment of basic facts in the education profession.
Mr. Hyman and Mr. D'Allessandro remind me of a fellow named Spock who, after many years of selling parents and teachers on certain methods of discipline, finally admitted several years ago that he was wrong.
George T. Wright Superintendent Burnet Consolidated School District Burnet, Tex.