Letters to the Editor

Invest in schools

February 4, 2010


To the editor:

Instead of closing our schools, let’s reinvest in them. Instead of consolidating schools in order to attain a “financial efficiency,” let’s retain our neighborhood schools as a commitment to educational efficiency. Investing in neighborhood schools shows a commitment to our children, our neighborhoods, our city. Instead of a city whose heart slowly stops beating after closing its central schools, I envision a renewed commitment to walkable, livable, affordable neighborhoods that support a vibrant downtown; neighborhoods that make Lawrence an attractive place for businesses and their employees. These neighborhoods are anchored by their schools.

Impossible with today’s budget crisis? For now, maybe so, but let’s keep our eyes on this prize until things get better. Let’s not close our schools now simply to build new in the near future.

I am a Cordley mom and our school has been ignored for a long time yet I, and many others I have talked to, don’t want a new, “efficient” mega-school on the edge of town. We’d like Cordley to be ADA-accessible, we’d like some improvements, we’d like the district to invest in our school. We stand ready for a sign of commitment from the school district. Cordley families will invest our time and money to help bridge the gap in resources. Then the city, school district and neighborhoods can work together, sending a message to Topeka that we value education and we will not give up and turn out the lights. This is what cities that show initiative and leadership do.

Sharon Ashworth,



kansasmutt 7 years, 11 months ago

Sharon. The system is broken and the way we are teaching is not working and too costly. The students being let out of our schools now are becoming more illiterate every day. MIT did a study and it is scary. They were asked to read a simple 200 page book. They then were asked simple basic questions about the book. Guess what. They averaged as a whole 75% , other words they missed 25 of 100 questions. Those are the brightest minds this planet has to offer nowadays. I think your teaching of today is a failure. And it cost too much. Minds were much sharper and smarter when we only dedicated 35% of our tax revenue to school funding, prior to the late 70s .

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 11 months ago

Seven uses of the word "neighborhood" in this LTE.

An unfortunate ploy to pull at our heartstrings while ignoring the need for fiscal discipline.

avoice 7 years, 11 months ago

kansasmutt: Unfortunately, this is not the best the planet has to offer. It's just the best that the U.S. has to offer. For the rest of the planet, especially India, China and some European countries, they are turning out the best and brightest every day. That is the most sad fact of our public school system. We focus all our resources on trying to coax every failing student along, while those of superior intellect languish in boredom and frustration. Imagine if we handled athletics the same way, trying to make athletes out of the least competent and assuming that the talented athletes would just take care of their own training and development somehow. Ridiculous.

kugrad 7 years, 11 months ago

KSmutt, your comments are simply incorrect. In the "good old days" that never were when our schools were supposedly better, the statistics were terrible. Dropout rates were much higher than today, those with handicapping conditions were often given inferior educations, there was massive inequality between schools in impoverished areas and other areas (a condition that shamefully still exists today in some areas), minority students were provided seperate and unequal facilities (still going on, but better). Female students were not given opportunities to excel at math and science. The good old days are a myth and there is NO evidence that schools used to be better and much evidence to the contrary. Now schools are charged with educating everyone, and I do mean everyone, from the child with severe retardation (the one you never saw prior to the 70's, they were in the boileroom or at home) to the brightest child, children of all SES levels, all races, and both sexes are held to the same standards. So get off the policy by anecdote kick and stick with the facts. We frequently hear how our schools are outperfomed by other nations (typically nations the size of one of our states, but also larger nations like India and China). The problem is, this simply isn't upheld by the research. Our best schools are on par with their best schools, period, except our best schools educate EVERY child, while their schools do not. China, Japan, and India, which are not the best schools BTW, do not educate all children as we do, and certainly there is not equal opportunity there. In the US, we compile data from all 50 states to judge our schools. Many of our states perform as well as any other country. Many more are above average to average. Then we have the problem states, all in the south, all rife with poverty. Louisiana, Mississippi - these states consistently drag down our average performance. It isn't just that public schools are challenged there by funding and etc, but by racism so widespread that, for example, few white children attended public school in pre-Katrina New Orleans for reasons of race. It is hard to judge a nation based on 50 different systems and 50 different sets of laws governing funding. One thing seems pretty clear; districts that perform VERY well are well-funded. Draw your own conclusion.

The idea that we can return to low funding levels to achieve excellence for all kids is a bogus lie based on myth.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

“It’s pretty clear there’s a variety of ways we can come up with $4 million or $5 million. We need to see what varieties we can come up with and what ideas the board members and community members can come up with,” board member Rich Minder said.

broddie 7 years, 11 months ago


Allow me to correct your work. There are no degrees of illiteracy. Either you can or can't read. Thus your use of the term "more illiterate" is nonstandard English. -10 points

You write, " MIT did a study and it is scary. They were asked to read a simple 200 page book." The second sentence suffers from an unspecified subject. Who is "they?" MIT? The students? If so, what students? -10 points

You also write, "They averaged as a whole 75% , other words they missed 25 of 100 questions." This sentence contains a comma splice. Instead of a comma, you should have used a semicolon. I'll accept the phrase "other words," as it has come to replace "in other words," although it sounds awkward. -5 points

Finally, you write "And it cost too much." You don't specify the subject. From context, the reader might assume you mean "teaching." In that case, this sentence lacks proper subject-verb agreement. I'll forgive you for starting the sentence with a conjunction. -10 points

Subtracting 35 from a possible 100, your score is 65, or a D. Congratulations. You passed.

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