Burbank needs to
put education first
My husband and I have owned our home in Burbank for almost 15
years. We have two daughters who attend Roosevelt Elementary School
and both of us work in the city.
I'm so tired of writing letter after letter about the education
budget crisis to anyone who can read. I am spearheading a
demonstration for education to focus community attention on the need
to put education first and teacher pink slips last. As we are finding
out, no programs are safe in Burbank schools, including the Gifted
and Talented Education, or GATE, program.
For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it is to the gifted
child what books on tape are to the blind student. Many children
would not be able to meet their potential without it.
I decided to begin a crusade urging the powers that be to consider
reclassifying the GATE program in a way that would allow parents
whose children are in the program to be charged an annual fee for
participation. My argument is that, much like athletics in high
school, the program is open for everyone to "tryout" for, yet
acceptance is limited to those who "make the team." Let us think of
it as "athletics for the mind."
To support this argument, I contacted Vice Principal Jay Gudzin at
John Burroughs High School to see if I could get some specific
figures on the fees associated with the various sports programs at
Burroughs. I e-mailed him and received a response from Emilio
Urioste, the school's principal, saying, "I have no intentions of
eliminating the GATE program. This is also the position of the
[Burbank Unified School District]. The state of California controls
GATE funding and includes it as part of the 64 categorical programs.
The people we should be lobbying are our state representatives."
While I agree that we should be lobbying state representatives,
the fact of the matter is that Lilly is saying we are in a crisis as
far as the funding for the program is concerned. Consequently, no
matter how lofty our intended commitments are to various programs at
our schools, without the funding, these programs will continue to
disappear until education as we know it will be obsolete.
Until the individuals put in charge of our children's education
take initiative to respond to the needs of their students in a
forward-thinking manner, the quality of education will continue to
decline until it hits rock bottom.
And for those who think this doesn't concern them because they
don't have children in Burbank schools, think again. The real-estate
prices in Burbank are a reflection of the salability of homes with
good public schools in their area.
Without Rogers, paper is toothless
The Burbank Leader has lost its bite. A good columnist who doesn't
pull any punches in his comments on local politics is what
distinguishes a "real" newspaper from one that is merely a weekly
roster of hometown homilies.
Will Rogers' rhetoric could be stinging at times -- enough to keep
local politicians sleeping with one eye open, and maybe holding them
to their best behavior a little more than they might be inclined to
otherwise do. Their foibles and inconsistencies may now quietly slip
by those of us who don't attend council meetings and aren't privy to
the inner machinations of our city's administration.
Count me with those who will feel a pang of loss when the paper
arrives Wednesday and Saturday mornings. There is an empty, echoing
void where Mr. Rogers column used to be. And his wry humor will be
The City Council and school board, (with their attending gadflies)
can stop watching their backsides for teeth marks, breathe a sigh of
relief and get down to business as usual.