Saturday, January 15, 2005

Old Stuff -- More Reading

Educating Mikey
More Reading!

From: Mike Netherland
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2001 5:13 PM

Honorable Anne Arundel County School Board Members,
On the eve of your third vote in the matter of more reading in middle schools next term, I want to encourage you to stand fast. Your morning meeting clashes with the schedule of a working stiff so I will not be able to join you. But it is important that you stand by your earlier votes for two reasons.

The first is that the opposition lobby is for the here and now. It is their children and their grandchildren that are affected next term. If their kids were in elementary school or high school next term, you would not be hearing from them. It would be somebody else's problem. This is not exactly the long view. And they are in the loud and very politically connected minority. You
must make decisions that apply to school districts county-wide.

The second reason you must stand by your decision is that reading, writing, English grammar and usage are the most basic of school functions. If testing has shown that public schools in our county are failing to do this then remedial measures are appropriate and necessary. And the truth is they are failing to provide this basic function. You don't need a test. You can see it
all around you. And why are they failing? So that a few may have their bands, kitchens and paint?

I'd consider it criminal negligence to turn out a student who may be able to whip up a souffle but who, without being able to complete a job application, will go about as far as the distance between the deep-fat fryer and frosty machine.

Yes, something went wrong in county elementary schools over the last two or three years. So what do we do about it? Let's focus on setting those kids on the right path while we fix the problems.

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