Less big audio during the dynamite
I went to the Fourth of July Starlight Bowl Fireworks Show for the
first time after living in Burbank for the last 30 years. I had fun
and saw several people I knew. As great as the whole thing was, I
have one complaint that makes me wonder if I am out of touch with
everyone else who was there.
My complaint is from the start of the program at about 6:45 p.m.
until the end of the fireworks, at about 9:30 p.m., there was never a
quiet time for people to talk without having to yell at each other
over the constant playing of music. It would have been so nice, in my
opinion, to have been able to talk at intermission without the
blasting of recorded music. Everyone had just been listening to an
hour and a half of music anyway, so give us a break so we can relax
and socialize for a few minutes!
I feel the fireworks would have been more fun if I could have
heard the oohs and ahs and reactions from the audience. Instead, the
fireworks show was accompanied with the loudest music of the night.
From 6:45 to 9:30 p.m. it was never-ending loud music.
It seems you can’t get away from the constant bombardment of music
or TV anymore. You go to the doctor and you can’t read in the waiting
room because there is a TV going. You stand in line at the market and
a TV is going. You may have to sit in the bar area of a crowded
restaurant to eat and TVs are going. You go to movies and are blasted
with commercials, so you can’t talk before the movie starts. Am I the
only one who feels a little quiet once in a while would be welcomed?
One thing that really made me smile was seeing kids at the
Starlight Bowl listening to their Walkmans while the band was playing
on stage. Maybe some people would say I am getting too old. Am I?
Glad it’s not another holiday
I enjoyed the letters from Wanda Sheppard, “Recognition is a
slippery slope,” June 25; and Anita Davidson, “Recognition is not the
right path,” June 25; and the two-cents bit from Chris Vartanian with
his tone and attitude, “Schiff represents Armenian-Americans,” June
29. I was happy to hear, according to Vartanian’s letter, that the
Armenian community will not ask for a federal holiday. That will give
Rep. Adam Schiff more time to work on problems for his other
constituents such as veterans affairs, the Social Security issue and
he can look into the Native American genocide recognition as Anita
They may not ask for a federal memorial day, but it seems they are
pushing for a city memorial day in Glendale and Burbank. In Glendale,
when they had had the flags at half staff on the City Hall, and in
Burbank they are trying to reschedule our parade when it falls on
their genocide day. The wishes of other citizens are not considered.
A good example of that is the private memorial they want Glendale to
erect on public land.
The Armenian community should ask billionaire Kirk Kerkorian to
buy land and build the memorial and not ask the people of Glendale.
Foreign language should count
Foreign language classes should absolutely count as credit for
required vocational courses.
High-achieving students in Burbank have enough trouble competing
with students from districts with “college prep” programs. It is
impossible for a Burbank student to attain a grade-point average as
high as some of the more affluent districts, not because Burbank
students aren’t capable, but because the archaic graduation
requirement for a practical art class prevents them from taking an
honors or advance placement class that would elevate them and put
them in competition with the “wealthy” districts.
It is asinine that the district requires an obviously
college-bound student to take a “practical art” class in order to
graduate. If the district included a one-week checkbook-balancing
module in the health/sex ed requirement in ninth grade, most
college-bound kids would have all the practical art they need.
School Board member Larry Applebaum says that considering foreign
language a practical art is “a stretch,” adding that he “values the
importance of exposing students to different workable skills.” Is
speaking another language not a marketable skill?
Applebaum’s attitude is nothing more or less than an extension or
restatement of the current administration’s aim to build a menial,
unrepresented, easily manipulated work force of service employees,
rather than encourage all students to strive for college degrees and
be the best they can be. Obviously there will always be a need for
menial labor, and there is no shame in being a skilled tradesperson.
There is a real problem in this district with administrators,
counselors and, as exemplified by Applebaum, board members
encouraging mediocrity. Many parents of high achievers are well aware
of this phenomenon and have been fighting it for years. It’s time to
shed some light on meaningless, arbitrary graduation requirements
that do not allow Burbank kids to compete with college-bound students
from wealthier district, and stop applying cookie-cutter,
across-the-board requirements over and above basic math, English and
Practical skills is a summer endeavor
As the parent of a college-bound daughter entering eighth grade at
Jordan Middle School next year, reading “Swap could help students,”
July 13, made my stomach hurt.
The thought that many college-bound students are basically
penalized by having to take their practical arts requirements outside
of high school is ridiculous. If you want to expose students who are
not on the college track by their freshman year to vocational courses
by making those courses a graduation requirement, go ahead.
But the time to expose college-bound students to different
workable skills is during the summer, not as a forced part of
curriculum when they should be taking higher math, science and
foreign language courses to fulfill rigorous college admissions
We should be doing all we can to support college-bound students in
their goals, not the least of which should be allowing foreign
language classes to count as credit for required vocational courses.
Foreign language a skill for life
In an ideal world of limitless time and limitless resources, you
would do both, of course. Anything you learn in life, your whole life
through, enriches you and adds to what you can do with your life.
However, young people presently have neither.
The situation is so typical of the hypocrisy the adult world
displays toward young people. We demand that you do or learn all
these things before you graduate, and at the same time we urge them
to prepare for college, but we do not provide the resources within
the school system to do so, such as summer classes to meet
requirements which far exceed the time limits of four years of high
As for substituting foreign language, which the school board is
considering, yes we should.
While we need to remedy the paucity of languages offered within
the schools, having four years of any language at a young enough age
trains the mind to learn others, at least. Besides its obvious
utility in a global economy, language training is a gymnastic for the
brain, which trains the brain the same way sports train the body.
Unless we can conquer this hypocrisy of demanding five years
worth of coursework in four years of high school, then we definitely
need some form of substitution or alternative.