Letters to the Editor
David R. Meador Assistant Superintendent Ritchie County Schools Harrisville, W.Va.
Jonathon P. Sher's Commentary "The Struggle To Fulfill a Judicial Mandate: How Not to 'Reconstruct' Education in W.Va." (Education Week, Jan. 19, 1983), was as refreshing as a cool mountain breeze. His article was permeated with a scarce commodity--clear perception of the real needs of our rural communities.
That most of our own "educators" fail to perceive the differences between "standards" and "standardization," that they frequently confuse quantity with quality, that they ignore the potentials of the appropriate use of new technology (ineptly trying to force an artificial "metro-model" upon us)--are reasons enough for every person who values character, the individual, the community, and excellence in education to stand up, speak out, and place the onus where it belongs!
Consolidation and specialization will lead to stagnation and eventual extinction within our present Petri dish of so-called progressive education. And the process will only be speeded up if our educational helmsmen fail to listen to the simple wisdom of many outspoken, "authentic" community leaders.
Please run another article that smacks of such sensible crispness as Mr. Sher's.
Judy Baar Topinka State Representative, 43rd District Illinois House of Representatives Springfield, Ill.
I read with interest your Commentary, "Dick and Jane Grow Up: Single Parents and the Schools" (Education Week, Dec. 8, 1982). As one who very recently went through a situation similar to that cited by John E. Talbott, I extend my sympathy to him and to every other parent who is shabbily treated by schools that want to avoid getting into possible legal hassles over custody claims while being either unaware of the federal law or careless in its enforcement. I found the lack of sensitivity shown me in my case to be so dreadful that I vowed to help other Illinois citizens avoid the experience.
As a state representative, I was at least in a position to be able to do something about it. Hence, House Bill 11 has been filed in the Illinois House. It would provide that the board of education shall require that the mailing of any correspondence, records, notices, or reports regarding a pupil be sent, upon the request of either parent, to both parents of any such child whose parents are divorced, in the absence of any court order to the contrary.
I had, initially, limited my bill to cover parents involved in a joint-custody arrangement such as I have been. However, helpful education groups such as Ed-Red, a school administrators' lobbying organization in Illinois, were helpful in expanding the bill to all divorced parents through amendment.
I look forward to passage of this bill because it is a common-sense approach to an ever-increasing problem.
Kenneth M. Salerno Headmaster Arlington Country Day School Jacksonville, Fla.
Edmund Janko's Commentary, "Notes on the Saturnalia of Hallway Life'' (Education Week, Jan. 2, 1983), was most enjoyable. But when one reads between the lines it seems more condemning of teachers behind the glass doors than it is of the students whose libidinous hallway scrimmaging he describes.
High-school students today enjoy sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Such a statement never won any prizes for investigative reporting. It's also true that students at Mr. Janko's Bayside High School also enjoyed sex, rock and roll, and drugs 15 years ago. But in that generation none of these were enjoyed in the school (or on the school grounds) without incurring great risk. What is newsworthy is not the saturnalia, but that it's allowed to happen in the hallways.
If we are not reporting and helping the drug user who falls asleep in class, if we're not outlawing the "libidinous scrimmaging" in our school buildings, and if we can't tell (or won't bother telling) who is plugged in to the "Walkman" in our classrooms, what is our mission in education?
Clarence M. Green Associate Commissioner/Director Division of Vocational and Adult Education Connecticut Department of Education Hartford, Connecticut
I read with great interest Donald M. Clark's Commentary, "Less Rhetoric and More Structure Needed for Industry-School Ties" (Education Week, Dec. 22, 1982). Connecticut has what we believe to be an excellent program of the sort Mr. Clark is advocating.
Jobs for Connecticut Youth (jcy) is a cooperative project involving participants from both the public and private sectors, including business and industry, the schools, community organizations, and government agencies. While statewide in scope, the program is being implemented regionally by six area action teams. jcy is coordinated through the Bureau of Youth Employment and Training Services in the Division of Vocational and Adult Education, at the Connecticut Department of Education.
jcy serves both in-school and out-of-school youths. It focuses on the types of programs that can be offered when schools provide training and industries provide on-the-job work experience, with the training and experience linked in a planned way.
We do not view youth unemployment as a problem exclusive to any one group, such as minorities, inner-city residents, or rural poor. We are approaching the training and employment of youth from a regional perspective; our goal is to develop the available human resources to meet the needs of the workplace in each area. And as high technology continues to catch our attention, we continue our commitment, through jcy, to preparing our young people for other opportunities as well.
We concur with Mr. Clark that cooperation is the way to go.