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Parents Key to Good Education

* Comments on your story on Santa Ana’s fundamental schools (“3 Santa Ana Schools Stir Praise, Controversy,” Feb. 21): I am a parent of a Greenville student. The difference between fundamental schools and the others in the district boils down to one thing: committed parents--parents committed enough to camp out for a place in line, to make the often difficult transportation arrangements to get their kids to school, to help out in the classroom and with activities, to teach their children how to read and speak English at an early age and to be part of an active and vocal parent-faculty organization.

My parents were the children of immigrants, and my wife’s parents were immigrants. Both our sets of lower-middle-class parents busted their butts to send us to Catholic schools, which were the best option at the time, and then spent the additional time necessary to make sure that we put as much into our education as they did. We do the same for our kids.

You can sit back and moan, like Nativo Lopez does, about how the system stinks, or you can work the system to your best advantage, like the fundamental school parents do. Race has nothing to do with it. Economic status has nothing to do with it. It’s purely a matter of initiative. If you truly want the best for your kids, then you will have to make an extra effort.

As for the astounding difference in test scores, that’s pretty simple. In an English-speaking society, kids and parents contractually committed to working hard in English will always outperform those that aren’t. If you expect to get ahead in an English-speaking country, then you better have the most fundamental of all tools--command of the English language. You could not ask for a better illustration of the farce of bilingual education than the one provided by the test-score table in the article.

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MARK GLEASON

Santa Ana


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