The wrong direction
EDITOR: One-hundred years ago, a diploma from a Santa Rosa high school meant qualification to attend the University of California. But that’s all it meant, and for only a few students. High school evolved from that narrow offering into providing students a variety of courses for a variety of futures.
By high school age, students have figured out, consciously or unconsciously, where they fit academically. For sizable numbers, it isn’t college; instead it’s working to master basic skills.
Today any student, regardless of ability, can enroll in college-prep classes. Those with neither study skills nor learning behaviors have a difficult time there. They often drop to a lower level or force the instructor to weaken materials and expectations. Imposing A-G requirements will force the latter (“SR to require college-prep classes,” Thursday).
Instead of punishing all students — by watering down material and sending them into a program they may not want or need — the board of education should shift focus to the lower grades where students can learn skills to help them succeed in high school or college. A positive home environment helps, too.
I speak from the experience of 32 years of classroom teaching at all levels — elementary, middle school, high school and junior college. If the board had similar experience, it would see the folly in its plan. Remember the failure of “Project Achieve”?
Targeting the neediest
EDITOR: Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development proposes to triple the rent for poor families receiving housing vouchers (“Poor, old, disabled face substantial rent increase,” Thursday). This is the same man who sought a $30,000 dining table for his office.
The astronomical increase mustn’t be viewed simply as Carson’s mischief. It has more to do with a massive tax cut, 80 percent of which will benefit the richest of the rich. And it’s becoming clear that the poor will pay for it.
This is the first step on a long, miserable road to stripping away every form of assistance for the neediest, as Republicans struggle to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.
This targeting of mostly minority constituencies that don’t usually support Republican candidates could be likened to ethnic cleansing of a more genteel variety. Deport the brown ones, cut off assistance for the black ones, and soon the opposition simply vanishes.
Under different circumstances this would be big news. Maybe that’s the whole point of the circus in Washington; keep the media occupied with endless stupidity, while the truly sinister — voter suppression, mass deportation and the deprivation of the least among us — is carried out systematically in order to assure the survival of the richest.
The Sea Ranch
EDITOR: Already we have had several mosquito sightings in the Santa Rosa Junior College neighborhood. It is urgent to eliminate all standing water for vector control. Aside from the obvious (checking trays under potted plants), note that unexpected traps such as tarps that are stored outdoors can collect and hold water for months. Also, as intermittent rain will likely fall here over the coming months, please follow up with inspections and draining.