Thursday, March 18, 2004

What you say ... on supporting schools

Regarding the article "Levy backers put support on hold" (March 16), I never cease to be amazed as to the state of Cincinnati Public Schools. Four months ago voters in Cincinnati returned all the incumbent Board of Education members. Those incumbents had the support of the groups who are now asking for improvements. There are those who would rather paint teachers as being "obstructionists" for not approving pay for performance. The question that needs to be answered is, why?

Board members talk about giving schools more autonomy, but when a group threatened to withdraw support and money for a new arts school, those board members caved in. We have destroyed neighborhood schools and with it a sense of community. No wonder Cincinnati Public Schools is in an emergency situation.

Alan Coleman, Westwood

It was disappointing to read how the Baptist Ministers Conference, the Amos Project and Cincinnati Business Committee expressed their concern about student acheivement improvements in the Cincinnati Public Schools. Instead of sitting down with the administration and the whole school board to register their intent to withhold future levy/bond issue support and reaching a consensus, they chose the newspaper, knowing full well it would make front-page headlines. What is the upside of using this method?

The new superintendent has hardly had a chance to catch his breath. Many believe his fresh face and positive reception was in part the reason for May's successful bond issue. The three aformentioned groups put all their effort toward this passage and deserve the community's gratitude. The damage done is virtually irreversible.

Even if improvements are made in student achievement in an identifiable time line, who is to say what is an acceptable level of success? Will these three entities meet with the Enquirer Editorial Boad to declare mission accomplished? Doubtful, and even if it happened, would it make the front page?

Mel Martin, Madeira

Have a topic you think readers should sound off on in this space? Send it to Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com; (513) 768-8525.

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