Love-Hate Mail 

Letters from our readers

Letters from our readers.

Here’s the beefWay to deal with the big issues. In the face of citywide hearings to possibly cut multiple bus routes and limit AccessRide (disability services with MTA), and with the MTA facing a budget shortfall of over $2 million due to the price of fuel, I pick up a copy of the Scene to find the riveting headline story of...a burger contest (“The Meat of the Matter,” May 1)?

Come on! How is this news? Maybe the Scene got big advertising bucks for this story, or some food critic got to eat burgers at a ton of cushy joints. But with gas prices rising this summer and the city in desperate need of a greener and cheaper alternative to everyone driving individual cars, one would think that the Scene (usually the champion of such big-bad-city-plans-to-screw-the-little-guy type of articles) would pick up on this. No, it’s not the typical Scene reader that will be affected by these cuts, but it should be. What better way to encourage all of those environmentally concerned, carbon-footprint-reducing readers to help both the city’s growing smog and transportation issues than to make an appeal to the readers to show up at those hearings, make their opinion known and perhaps get on the bus themselves and see what they can do for their city.

If that’s of no concern to you, how about Metro Council’s plans to close the only public pool in the Cleveland Park neighborhood between Dickerson and Ellington Pkwy? Plus the removal of the one bus route that could actually bus the children of the neighborhood to the closest pool (East Park): the 30 line, which is on the docket to be cut. Hmm. These issues seem way more important than whose burger tastes the best and which of your employees got to clog their arteries by feasting on ground beef. How about paying a little attention and not sitting by silently while the city’s children, disabled and people of lower socioeconomic status get the shaft?ARIANA EVANSshinyroundthings@gmail.com (Nashville)

Testing the limitsI couldn’t help taking a personal interest in your article about the restraining of children in our public schools (“Self-Restraint,” May 1). As an elementary school music teacher in the Florida public schools for the last 30 years, I saw the same scenario played out repeatedly and with increasing frequency through the years.

Over time, I saw a change in the way teaching occurs. The rigidity of standardized testing and the subsequent application of punitive measures on so-called low-performing schools has transformed the classroom into a drill pit where students are expected to regurgitate useless information from day one so that they’re primed to make the school look good when test time comes.

As a music teacher, I was buffered from the scripted lessons my colleagues were instructed to read from to achieve maximum performance at test time. I saw these teachers lose interest in their profession and their percentage of problem children rise. An unconscious projection of their frustration seems to show up more and more in the students.

Every year, I was put into classrooms to help proctor for the test days. I saw children so worried that they would throw up, get too sick to come to school or, yes, have tantrums. The rigidity of the new age classroom actually causes these reactions throughout the school year, but it intensifies during testing. Those who react more than others end up labeled and pushed into a vortex that leaves them in special education classrooms that have padded timeout rooms built in. (That‘s becoming a standard in new school construction.) I guess that’s an improvement over the janitors’ closet. The amphetamines (Ritalin, Adderall) flow freely in the bodies of millions of our nation’s children.

Teachers are limited in what they are allowed to teach, and students are limited in what they’re allowed to learn. The most vulnerable are the most negatively affected, and the violent reactions are sure to continue rising.

I thank you for bringing the subject to light. The problems that create this state of affairs will eventually have to be addressed if any real solution is to be generated. That can only come from awareness and dialogue, which you have hopefully started.JOE FIRSTjoe@joefirst.com (Antioch)

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