Calling us to account

Letters to the Boston editor, October 16, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 14, 2009

In your October 2 editorial about the missing e-mails from Michael Kineavy’s computer, the writer says that the mayor has deliberately placed a higher premium on stonewalling the public than on being accountable. To use the word “accountable” in conjunction with Mayor Thomas M. Menino is laughable in the extreme, because if there’s one thing that this guy is not, it’s accountable.

The buck stops every place except at his desk — and the saying about you-know-what rolling downhill certainly applies to this pol whose time has come and gone.

Mike Arnold

An intelligent path to education?
A strong public-school system, where everyone has access to the best education they are capable of, is a core requirement for our success as a country. Charter schools work against this by removing the most motivated students and parents from the public system. In some cases, these are also the smartest students, but that’s less important than the fact that the people who care most about schooling are gone.

The simple solution is to stop funding charter schools and bring back merit-based class assignments for public schools. Mix everyone for the first few years, to let some of the differences due to the students’ backgrounds settle out before sorting them. Then, after a few years, sort the kids into classes by their past accomplishments. The downside to this is when someone is sorted incorrectly, so the key is to allow for corrections as time passes.

Public schools went downhill when they stopped sorting students into classes by skill level. Smarter students end up bored instead of challenged, while weaker students grow to hate school even more as they are continually reminded that they aren’t as smart as some. To fix the public schools, we have to go back to recognizing and rewarding accomplishment.

Ray Charbonneau

Our October 9 article on the charter-school controversy enveloping the city misrepresented a quote taken from the MATCH school’s Web site. That quote, in full, says: “So sure, from a kid’s perspective, we’re offering the educational equivalent of spinach and the other school [not schools, as we wrote] is offering Twinkies.” The MATCH School would like to point out that it believes a number of district schools provide an excellent education.

Our October 9 dining review of Con Sol incorrectly stated that chef Tony Amaral’s parents owned the old P.A. Seafood in Somerville, since sold, moved, and turned into a nightclub. Amaral’s father is still the proprietor of P.A.’s, which has over time transformed from Portuguese American Lounge, to P.A. Seafood, and is now known as P.A.’s Lounge.

Related: Shoddy work or just sensational?, Injustice department, Over the coals, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Education, Tom Menino, Education Issues,  More more >
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