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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Education or lack there of.
By A.M. Johnson


February 12, 2013
Tuesday PM


In response to both Ms.Pardes and Mr. Timmeman's subject of education, it is good to have positions presented for self discussion or public response.

To Ms Pardes, be assured that efforts to address the drop out rate at least in Ketchikan have been made in the past. However, Ms. Pardes, you will have to understand that parents of successful reading primary grade children will expound on their sympathy and emotional mental outreach on the subject of 46% Native children who are dropping out of school, yet when solutions that run counter to their views of educational opportunity for their successful children are threatened with attention  paid to this segment of students requiring need, the situation changes and they will and did, scream that it is not fair.
Actually, the struggling and failure rate of primary students in reading is closer to 50%. (Math results are in similarly the tank as well)

Ms. Pardes, if a child can not read at grade level by the end of grade 3 at or above the entry level of 4th grade, he or she will face failure to a very high degree. Witness your own numbers. When a 3'd grade student fails learning to read, they will not be able to read to learn from the 4th grade on. Simple Yes?  Allow me.

Ms. Pegues, a past commissioner of our State of Alaska penal system, once spoke to the Ketchikan education community. Her message was clear. She stated:'If your fail to teach the children to read, we, the penal system are faced with rudimentary primary education challenges in teaching young adults enough reading ability to meet the basic requirements of filling out employment forms. Your failure,(Education system) becomes the State of Alaska's second educational cost and challenge." End of the paraphrased Ms. Pegues's message.

To Mr. Timmeman, I would caution your emotional views of what the Ketchikan Borough Assembly's role is regarding education. While the school board is the manager of the educational results, God forbid that the school board were in charge of obtaining the community tax rate basis to support it.

This is a Republic, not a Democracy, there are separate bodies elected to address different facets of governing.

I for one welcome and  appreciate the Borough assembly asking and challenging the Board during the budget process. I only wish the assembly would demand academic improvement be driving the educational budget, You have to admit Mr. Timmeman, a goodly amount of podium time is parents supporting the jock activities and travel, not academic improvement.

The State funding schedule and school budgets are and have been in conflict for ever, to chide the assembly for working with unknowns is counter productive.

While I could take issue with several of  your assertions , it would make a long letter and defeat the goal. Which is: I would ask both of you to view the following videos. Dr. Ben Carson,John Hopkins neurosurgeon, makes a clear case on education. He doesn't deal in a large complicated numbers statement, what he does do is lay out what educational success looks like from the perspective of one whose social background  is for ever used by those who seek to present the "Why we can Not" succeed with the 50% struggling or failing students, rather the Doctor enforces success is obtainable.
Following this video, please then proceed to this one.  When you think or in liberal speak, "Feel" that you are being despaired or neglected or that you lack the latest educational "do da", these  videos may bring you back to reality of how good we have it.  I suggest that the current $20,000.00 investment per student is generous. .

Till a later gathering, I remain,

A humble reader taught by a dedicated "phonics" teacher

"If life were fair Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead"~Johnny Carson
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Recalled school board member, proud to have been recalled with four others for attempting to address the 45-50% struggling and failing children in the Ketchikan school district."

Received February 09, 2013 - Published February 12, 2013

Related Viewpoints:

letter Underfunding has crippled state’s education system By Joan Pardes

letter Lack of Funding for the School District By Dave Timmerman



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