Letters for February 5, 2004

Class clown
Our current president—what an idiot. In Bush’s State of the Union address, he staunchly defended the No Child Left Behind act and made one of the most ignorant and false statements of his speech when he said that he believes that every third-grader in the nation should read and be able to do math at a third-grade level, and that this is not too much to ask.

As an elementary teacher for 14 years, six of those at the third-grade level, I am astonished at the ridiculousness of Bush’s expectation for performance for these students.

We as educators teach children who come from non-English-speaking families, children who live with drug- or alcohol-addicted caregivers, children who have never seen an adult in their home read a book, children who are not sent to school for substantial amounts of days, children who are not fed or clothed at basic-need levels and children who have a myriad of other factors that cannot be equalized by schools. Current language acquisition research shows that it takes an average of seven years of study for a child to achieve academic proficiency in a second language.

No matter how high the standards or severe the penalties for “low performing” schools, some children will simply not be able to catch up to their peers, even by the sixth grade. It is an insult to all educators and schools to hear a president heap so much unearned blame on the schools. Let’s elect a president who has done his homework and has looked at the real factors that educators face. They can then formulate realistic educational goals for the nation’s children and schools. Then they can actually fund those programs.

Jane Turney

Dave’s not here
Great article about John Gardner [“American Night Writer,” cover story, Jan.22]. Interesting that we also had an author named Earl Stanley Gardner living in Paradise at about the same time.

I remember a great teacher at Chico State University from the late ‘70s named Dave Carter (philosophy). I was sure he was destined for greatness. Anyone know what happened to him?

Frank Jenks
Class of 1978 (psychology)
Class of 1983 (business)

Open to Open Structure
With kindergarten registration slated for early February in the Chico schools, many parents are actively investigating the educational options offered in the CUSD. My children have attended the Open Structured Classroom (OSC) program at Hooker Oak School for seven years. We have found this program to be an enriching and rewarding experience for our entire family.

Parents considering this option are invited to attend a public tour of OSC classrooms. These tours are offered as an opportunity to see OSC teachers and students in action and to learn about the unique characteristics of this successful alternative program.

OSC has been an excellent educational choice for Chico families for 30 years. The program was started by parents who wanted an educational philosophy that fostered the development of the whole child coupled with classroom teaching practices that emphasized hands-on learning processes. Today, this heritage continues in multi-age classrooms that engage students with integrated and thematic curriculum. Students develop individual responsibility and acquire critical-thinking and problem-solving skills as they “learn by doing.” Cross-age tutoring and parent participation create a community of families connected by learning. Teachers and students develop a unique bond in the two-year classroom design.

Anyone can sign up for OSC. Admission to kindergarten is by lottery, and there is a waiting list every year since space is limited to two kindergarten classrooms. Please join us for a tour by calling Hooker Oak Elementary School and making a reservation. We look forward to your visit.

Tara Sullivan-Hames
Parent, OSC

Not the problem
Thank you for a well researched, impartial and easily understandable picture of Chico Unified’s financial challenges [“Strapped schools,” cover story, Jan. 29]. I learned a few things myself.

If I may clarify my meaning with respect to the quote “…I’m really, really enjoying this problem. …” It’s not the problem I’m enjoying, it’s all of the positive energy of those people who are stepping up to help with solutions that I’m enjoying.

Scott Huber
CUSD Trustee

Relay your caring
As chair of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, I invite the community to a kick-off celebration and informational meeting on Feb. 9 at the Enloe Conference Center, Fifth Avenue and the Esplanade, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to the kick-off, including volunteers; past, present and future team captains; team members; and sponsors. At the kick-off will be photos of last year’s Chico relay, a video of national relays, recognition of survivors and sponsors, and information on becoming involved.

The Relay for Life is one of Chico’s biggest fund-raisers and will be held June 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday, at California State University, Chico. Last year more than 1,000 people took part in Chico’s relay, including 50 teams and 259 cancer survivors, and raised $180,000. Teams gather donations, then take turns walking or running or wheeling around the track for 24 hours. The event includes entertainment, a cancer survivors’ lap, a caregivers’ lap, games, contests, cancer education and a luminaria ceremony during which thousands of candles are lit to remember cancer patients.

RSVPs are encouraged by calling the American Cancer Society, 342-4567, option 3, by Feb. 6.

Chris Mulqueeney
American Cancer Society
Relay for Life Chair

Fish fan
I have been reading the Chico News & Review a long time, as well as “the other weekly,” a.k.a. the Synthesis. I have noticed more than once that Tom Gascoyne has bad-mouthed Bill Fishkin in his column. What is the reason for that? He is very hard-working and started that newspaper himself and has made it to what it is today. I think that should at least be respected.

I think it is commendable in this day and age for someone to have the integrity to be their own person. Bill writes what he feels and is true to himself. Maybe it isn’t a ton of writing sometimes, but at least he isn’t just writing articles that we can read in the regular newspaper (Chico ER). People like things to the point and entertaining, which is what he provides.

When I open the News & Review each week, most of the rambling on the front article sounds like a City Council meeting, drawn out and boring. I love the News and Review, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t particularly care for the style of this column, and I never like it when people speak badly of another person, especially in print.

Deseray Smith
Received via e-mail