Schools of thought

Letters to the Boston editor, March 13, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  March 11, 2009

While the Phoenix is right on wasteful spending related to school busing, it is wrong on residency. John Tobin, an effective city councillor on many issues, is a proponent of lifting residency requirements for police and fire personnel. But the statistics Tobin uses in support of his arguments are unaudited. When Mayor Menino tried to have municipal police physically audit the residency claim of Boston police, he was met with a threat of strike.

Before the Phoenix goes much further on the residency issue, it should poll its readers and vigorously advocate for residency audits. Do any readers of your publication have police or fire personnel living in their neighborhoods? We have 2000 police. If they lived in the city neighborhoods, they would bring more safety than the alleged “police on the streets” related to construction details.

My view is, let’s set up a Traffic Detail Trust and split the funds between flaggers and city police. Let the police go home to their families and report to work fresher. Also, let the police rotate taking home a cruiser, in order to increase the visibility of police presence. Give incentives for teachers to live in the city, and reward them for each child they enroll in public schools. We have great public-school teachers, resident and non-resident, but we are likely to have more careful spending of the education dollars if teachers’ children were in the classrooms.

By the way, where do your editorial writers live? Cambridge?

Frank Cronin

EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of that editorial lives in Jamaica Plain.

Regarding recent coverage of the school expenditure on busing: yes, the transportation budget may need re-examination, but let’s not have such a quick knee-jerk reaction to the total reorganization of the school-assignment system. Nor should we push through a major educational change as a budget issue. Do we really want to undo some great schools that are working? As a case in point, Chinatown’s Josiah Quincy Elementary School currently serves Asian-American students from many neighborhoods that would be outside its new zone.

The new school zone would be only nine percent Asian-American, while currently the school’s population is more than 60 percent Asian-American. Chinese-immigrant working families send their children to the Quincy School because they can communicate with school staff and have access to a whole system of community services there. How would breaking up this school community in the heart of Chinatown spell progress?

Lydia Lowe
Executive Director
Chinese Progressive Association

Czar pick: not so bright
Regarding your February 18 “Stark Raving” article, in which you recommend Paul Krugman for secretary of treasury: are you mad? He appears to have an ingrained irascibility that is not tolerant of any dissent. A quick review of Krugman’s commentaries reveal his abuse of the bully pulpit whenever anyone takes him to task.

Regardless of the validity of his economic theories, if they cannot be successfully communicated (as opposed to dictated), they have little chance of success.

John Sullivan
Carson City, Nevada

Related: L'affaire Olbermann, Time for a big change, Mayor-Select Marie?, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Jamaica Plain, Education, Tom Menino,  More more >
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