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Thursday, May 15, 2003 02:20 pm

Your Turn 2-13-03

No child left behind?

To the editor:
I am writing to applaud Illinois Times for publishing Cinda Klickna's sobering school-crisis article "Empty Promises" [February 6]. After working for two years as a junior high school teacher at a low-income school in Arizona, I find that the "No Child Left Behind Act" is infuriatingly typical of Bush's tyrannical plutocratic regime. Like his war on whoever's topical and Muslim, "No Child Left Behind": (1) Panders to America's lowest self-serving racist instincts. (2) Pretends to be doing national good while actually doing national harm by robbing already struggling schools of their funding and kicking out their teachers. (3) Ultimately proves to be nothing more than another bald-faced power grab for the right-wing rich. The hidden agenda in NCLB is, as Klickna rightly notes, the school voucher program.

Klickna also rightly notes the nearly impossible expectations of NCLB. With extensive reforms and reorganization on our own over the last two years, our school posted improved academic performance. It was, however, not enough to improve our "failing school" status, according to NCLB mandates. What will we end up with when we strip the school of its funding and fire all the teachers? What on earth makes anyone think this will make things better? Lastly I'd like to note that while I don't expect much from Bush--since this is in keeping with his "rape the poor and feed the rich" agenda--shame, shame, SHAME on the likes of Dick Durbin for hopping on the Bush bandwagon and supporting this thing, thus betraying the poor and liberal voters who put him into office in the first place.

Mikel Weisser
Bullhead City, Arizona

On closing the east side's last non-charter elementary school

Dear Editor,
I believe it is a sin and a shame that the Springfield Public School District 186 is moving to close Matheny Elementary School. Matheny is the only non-charter elementary school on Springfield's Eastside. Iles, Fiesthan, and Ball Charter are on the Eastside, but they are public magnet schools.

Yes, the proposal would swap Withrow for Matheny. But why close Matheny? The west side has Owen Marsh, Butler, Sandburg, Dubois, Vachel Lindsay, Graham, Black Hawk, Jane Addams.

Why limit Springfield's growing Eastside student population to one public elementary school while building, opening, and expanding elementary schools in Springfield's aging west and north side communities? I know the reason is to continue to put the burden of desegregation on the backs of black children by busing them at a younger age and by allowing them to get less sleep because they have to get up earlier to catch the bus across town. This is ridiculous and shows a community and school district that doesn't value blacks. A true village must consider the best interest of all the children.

Margaret J. Collins

Flak about Jack

Dear Editor,
Recently One-Eyed Jack's show was canceled by WTAX. He had the best show because he wasn't afraid to take anyone on, he always asked the questions nobody else would, he always had nationally known guests on, and he knew his stuff. The best talk show hosts are controversial and in that respect Jack was truly Number One. When I questioned Ed Christian, the CEO of Saga Communications, which owns the Capitol Radio Group and WTAX, he said it was because of "The long-term decline in the ratings of One-Eyed Jack." Who did the ratings? The S J-R? Jim Leach? What's the real story?

Hopefully Don Jackson can find another local radio station so we can listen to him again real soon and hopefully WTAX will truthfully explain why they canceled his show. I would also like to send a message to the businesses that run advertisements on WTAX that I will no longer patronize any of them because of WTAX's decision to cut Jack.

Donnie Wareham

Editor's note:
See story on page 7.

Tickets not illegal but immoral

Dear Editor,
Springfield is attempting to rival Chicago with parking tickets!! They give a ticket, then wait one minute, and give out another. This happened to my daughter. She thought it was a mistake, but was told they can do this. The second ticket, timed one minute later, was called a "consecutive" ticket. She had to pay both. It may not be illegal, but it certainly is immoral.

Ruby Street

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