MAILBAG

Bilingual education offers advantages

Regarding “Divided programs are a concern to reader,” Mailbag, May 10 and “Bilingual children have a distinct advantage,” Community Commentary, Feb. 27:

A study by Pearl and Lambert in 1962 found that bilingual children did, in fact, have mental flexibility superior to monolingual children. And, in our increasingly global society and economy, bilingual children will grow into bilingual adults with great advantages in brainpower and communication skills, better prepared, in my opinion (and I am not alone in this, obviously), for the working world and life in general. Using a current buzzword like “elitist,” as Judi Glass does in her Mailbag letter, to describe the Foreign Language Academy of Glendale program, doesn't offend me in the least, except that she obviously means it as a negative.

She says the idea of the program is a divisive one, but so what? Are programs that give advantages to children able to use them automatically bad? Should we also take away the Gifted and Talented Education Program?

Should we dumb down our public schools to the lowest common denominator or prepare our children as best we can for the future?

My daughter is in the program, and I don't think I would have it any other way.

ROBERT E. G. BLACK

Glendale

Honoring students offering crucial boost

A few weeks ago I received a letter from the Industry Education Council, stating that my son, a high school student had been chosen by his teacher for recognition of outstanding educational achievement in his Foods II class.

We went to a banquet hosted by the Industry Education Council last night, where the Glendale, Burbank, and La Cañada unified school districts came together to honor all the students. This was a great boost to some great kids, doing great things, in great schools, led by great teachers.

How fortunate we are to have this outlet for our students and teachers to share their common interests and mutual respect.

I have not seen pride and confidence so overwhelming as I did Monday night at the banquet. Superintendents, principals, teachers, students and parents all beaming, as one by one the students were honored with a plaque by their teachers, for industry related classes, such as auto shop, business technology, computer applications, culinary arts, retail marketing, photography etc.

Some schools offer vast choices and others are limited to mostly academic courses, which is a shame, as not all students are cut out to be scientists, doctors, or Nobel Peace Prize winners . I feel too much pressure is put on kids as young as 14 to make major life decisions on their future careers. What happened to just growing up being strong, honest, and self-confident? It has been replaced tragically by this starting in eighth grade.

We need more recognition and respect for students of the arts and industry within the schools.

Last night I was a parent who will remember the pride and self confidence I saw on my child's face as he accepted his award. He will forever remember this and I know this will keep him striving to retain that feeling of achievement.

Congratulations to all the recipients, and thank you to the teachers, Industry Education Council membership and the generous sponsors of this event.

STEPHANIE JOHNSON

La Crescenta

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Cuts to education would be detrimental

I am writing to commend Allen Freemon, a teacher at Crescenta Valley High School and president of the Glendale Teachers Assn. on a Community Commentary published recently (“Public needs to support education,” May 1). As a senior at Crescenta Valley High, educational funding is something I have first-hand experience with.

Living in La Crescenta, I have been fortunate enough to have attended a well-funded school. I understand, however, that this is primarily due to the efforts of booster clubs like the PTSA.

If state funding to the district is cut further, the school district will be forced to ask more of its parents, who are already paying substantial sums for their children's educations.

Freemon states that California currently ranks 46th in the nation in terms of per student funding. The proposed cuts will place our state in last place. This makes inadequate spending more than a state problem. It will become a national problem when these students join the workforce, having received a sub-standard education.

Class sizes will have to be increased in order to accommodate the proposed educational budget. I simply do not see how it is possible to increase class sizes, as will likely be required.

Finally, when funding is cut, the visual and performing arts are usually the first programs to suffer. Because of state educational requirements, academic programs cannot be cut. So it is the artists, the dancers and the actors who suffer. These programs are invaluable to a school, yet they are always the first to go.

In conclusion, I ask your readers to please look more closely at the Governor's proposed budget for the upcoming year. Cutting educational funding is not a viable solution.

KELLY BOYD

La Crescenta


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