Letters to the Editor

Fragile students

February 24, 2010


To the editor:

The public debate that I’ve heard about school closings has left out an important point about Hillcrest.

Most of Hillcrest’s students are among the district’s most vulnerable. Fifty-eight percent of these children are English language learners. About the same percentage are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch. (These two groups of children do overlap, but not entirely. Some ELL children at Hillcrest are eligible for free and reduced lunch, and some non-ELL children are eligible as well.)

Closing Hillcrest would hinder the learning of students who already face tough obstacles. Serious challenges like communicating — or even getting to school — would make starting over in a different school more difficult for these children.

Our two sons are Hillcrest graduates. When we moved to Lawrence five years ago, we chose the Hillcrest neighborhood specifically because the school offered diversity. It’s a wonderful value in the Hillcrest community. If you want to see this in action, just check out an international potluck dinner at the school and see how eager the families are to teach and learn about other cultures. Closing the school would dismantle this beloved international community, which teaches the English speakers all kinds of things about the world every day.

I oppose closing any schools in Lawrence because it will have ripple effects in neighborhoods and in class sizes around the city. But in particular, I oppose closing Hillcrest.


anon1958 8 years, 4 months ago

Clearly any cross walk that healthcaremoocher does not observe used to near capacity is a waste of taxpayer money and probably the result of some communist socialist plot of global warming pretenders secretly funded by the descendants of Woodrow Wilson.

Seriously, some of you nutcases just need to stfu and go off to your John Birch Society meetings.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree with ljreader. undocumented immigration is costing the entire country some serious coin. whether it's the additional teacher time, the free lunches, healthcare, lack of tax revenue, etc. This is killing our country. I feel for the kids, it's not their fault. But we have got to find a way to get the parents of these kids to pay their own way instead of assuming the rest of us will pick up the bill. The United States cannot help everyone, especially by allowing them to come here. We'd all be better off helping them where they come from.


Stuart Evans 8 years, 4 months ago

perhaps at this one school, that could be the case. However, in other places that is not the case. In California they are building more than a school a day to keep up. my argument stands.

gatekeeper 8 years, 4 months ago

AreUNorml (anonymous) says... perhaps at this one school, that could be the case. However, in other places that is not the case. In California they are building more than a school a day to keep up. my argument stands. ///

I usually agree with you a lot. But you are wrong here. Building a school a day, huh? B.S. Most of my family is in S. Cali and a large # of them are teachers. Wanna back up your statement?

Bigotry at it finest here on the LJW.

America is so far behind when it comes to language. Most countries require you to learn multiple languages. Our bigotry holds us back and most Americans are ignorant of language beyond speaking Americanized English. 1/2 the population of the western hemishere speaks Spanish. Nearly 500 million + people speak it worldwide. It's the 2nd most spoken language in international communications.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

Guess we should just blow up Lady Liberty too.

formerksteacher 8 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe how unbelievably biased some of you are. It is absolutely disgusting!! To assume that these kids are Mexicans for one, is WRONG. Your average Hillcrest classroom would contain something along these lines: 3 Mexican kids, all from legal families, with documentation, and working HARD to make it. 2 Laotian kids, equally as hardworking families a Kenyan student, strict family, education stressed! 2 Korean kids, usually here because their parents are teaching or studying possibly a Russian student, Czech, or Ukrainian.
Maybe a student from Haiti, here pursuing a better life Possibly someone from India, Bangladesh. Maybe someone from Saudi or Jordan. Could be a Mongolian student or a kid from Nepal. a South American student - sometimes Bolivian, sometimes Uraguay, Colombia, you never know. 1 Vietnamese 1 Ethiopian 1 Chinese the rest, American for generations.
And the things teachers do to support those kids in the classroom benefit ALL the children.
It's just awful how some of you think you know so much about education and just JUMP at the chance to deny other people the chances that we would have allowed for YOU when you were in school. But God forbid you should have to help fund students that you won't even get to know. These are WONDERFUL, GIFTED students. You know, just because you come from a different country doesn't mean you aren't brilliant. It doesn't mean you can't read - just that it doesn't come naturally in English! It doesn't mean that you don't have high morals. Many of those students have better work ethics and bigger hearts and more respect than many naturally born American students. If anything, they are a huge factor in showing 'our' kids what it means to appreciate a better life and to appreciate the chance at an education. They often come from places where they've seen loved ones assassinated, killed by natural disaster, oppressed by a controlling regime, and they come to America, the land of the free, and prove to our children that there is HOPE if you work hard. How is that not worth paying a little extra for? Grow up, people. I'm not saying we shouldn't close Hillcrest or that it is above any other school - just that people ought to quit saying such ridiculous things about the ESL population in Lawrence. And by the way, THEY pay the same taxes YOU do.

parrothead8 8 years, 4 months ago

edjayhawk (anonymous) says... Jeez, can't even buy a decent American donut in my own country! And I get tired of being eliminated for jobs I apply for because I don't know Spanish. My last boss highly recommended that I learn Spanish. I was blunt: This country is built on English as England colonized the states and the primary language is English and should always be. I will never learn Spanish.

Your "American" doughnuts were invented by a Dutch immigrant.

If you don't want to learn Spanish, fine, but don't come on here and whine that you can't get jobs that require a knowledge of Spanish. With more and more residents of this country who speak Spanish, it makes good financial sense for more businesses to be able to conduct their business in Spanish when necessary.

Nothing stays the same and survives for long. The world, and this country, is constantly changing. If you don't want to change with it, learn to enjoy being obsolete and unemployed.

Thinking_Out_Loud 8 years, 4 months ago

edjayhawk wrote: "And I get tired of being eliminated for jobs I apply for because I don't know Spanish. My last boss highly recommended that I learn Spanish. I was blunt: This country is built on English as England colonized the states and the primary language is English and should always be. I will never learn Spanish."

Then get over being tired of being eliminated for jobs. Free market, and all that. If the demand is for Spanish speakers, adapt and learn it!

Oh, yeah; the first European to enter what is now Kansas was Coronado. His primary language: Spanish. The first Christian martyr in North America was Fr. Juan de Padilla. His primary language: Spanish. Jefferson purchased most of Kansas from France in the Louisiana purchase. The primary language of most of the traders/trappers/settlers: French. We could get into the native languages here that predated those Eurpoeans, but something tells me you wouldn't consider them significant.

This country is a melting pot...huddled masses yearning to be free and what-not. Or is that just rhetoric?

Melissa Sigler 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow, kind of stunned at some of the comments on this. Wow.

Not that I agree or disagree with Hillcrest or other schools closing (I'm neutral), but perhaps if they WERE closed, it would be good to have them mixed in with a school with primarily American students? Instead of feeling more comfortable with a school that is mostly minorities, they would be forced to befriend and learn with Americans. And IF they don't speak much English, perhaps that would allow them to learn faster. And on top of that, the students at the "American" school would benefit because they would learn about other cultures and be forced to befriend those they might not befriend otherwise.

formerksteacher 8 years, 4 months ago

Your comments, mdsigler are really not that off the mark. The only thing I would be concerned about is this...Because there are so many in the same boat at Hillcrest, the kids from other cultures feel much more comfortable. The NORM is to be a little 'weird' in some way there. And those kids who speak other languages, practice other religions, etc are not seen as different, really. Because of this, the 'American' kids accept them and are willing to let their own guards down. Because of this, the ESL kids are easier to teach and pick up new concepts quicker. It's just that the balance works extremely well. It's pretty cool to see the class dynamics there - different than most other schools, VERY interested in science fairs, knowledge competitions, learning about ancient history, not afraid to have a big interest in sciences or in academic success in general. So - yes, to some extent other kids would benefit from this environment, the problem is that once you break this apart, the environment is no more.

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