Letters to the Editor: October 2, 2013

Rais­ing chil­dren with cul­tur­al ties

People want to know who they are and where they come from. The use of gene­a­logy web­sites like An­ces­try.com and com­puter-as­sisted lan­guage learn­ing soft­ware like Rosetta Stone is on the rise as adults today search for in­form­a­tion about their fam­ily his­tory. 

It costs money and it takes time, but people care enough to do it any­way. But how much easi­er could we make it for our chil­dren if we just teach them from the be­gin­ning?

As a child, speak­ing a second lan­guage and be­com­ing ac­cus­tomed to eth­nic tra­di­tions is nat­ur­al and easy, without the trouble of lan­guage courses and hours of re­search. But the truth is that chil­dren gen­er­ally don’t re­cog­nize the value in learn­ing a second lan­guage and in learn­ing about their fam­ily’s cul­tur­al back­ground; by the time they are old enough to ap­pre­ci­ate these things, it is much more dif­fi­cult for them to do so. 

Be­cause of this, it is up to the par­ents to de­cide wheth­er or not they want to raise their chil­dren with strong cul­tur­al ties and know­ledge of their fam­ily his­tory.  

For adults who don’t speak a second lan­guage already, it may not be feas­ible to raise a bi­lin­gual child, but there are oth­er things you can do. 

Learn how to cook an eth­nic dish or sit down with your grand­moth­er and listen to some old fam­ily stor­ies. Look up some cul­tur­al hol­i­days and start a new tra­di­tion to share with your chil­dren. Giv­ing chil­dren cul­tur­al ties is an in­valu­able gift that can help them to have a bet­ter ap­pre­ci­ation for who they are and where they come from. It may take some ef­fort and ded­ic­a­tion, but your chil­dren will thank you for it in the fu­ture.

Christina Duben­ko


State is short­chan­ging Phil­adelphia schools

Jerry Per­ese’s let­ter shows he needs a little more math in­struc­tion than he re­ceived at Drexel U. He ig­nores that: 

1. The state cut the per-stu­dent rate for aid to Phil­adelphia schools by $1,000. 

2. Pennsylvania is the ninth-worst state in the na­tion for its con­tri­bu­tions to edu­ca­tion.

3. Since 2011, the school dis­trict cut its per­son­nel by 28 per­cent, while en­roll­ment was down only 18 per­cent.

4. Per­ese doesn’t like how the dis­trict spends its money, but does he know that one-third of its budget is spent on charter schools and debt costs?

5. Teach­ers are be­ing asked to cut pay by more than 10 per­cent and be­ne­fits by more, yet make less than sub­urb­an teach­ers, for a job that is more chal­len­ging.

6. He ar­gues Phil­adelphia’s dis­trict is fail­ing, but neg­lects to note the many suc­cess­ful mag­net schools, and the fail­ures of many charter schools.

7. Every oth­er school board in the state can levy taxes to meet its costs, but Phil­adelphia may not.

8. Phil­adelphia schools are run by the state, so the state bears re­spons­ib­il­ity for any of their fail­ures, as well as for ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing.

9. Phil­adelphia per-pu­pil spend­ing is $2,000 to $3,000 less on av­er­age than sur­round­ing dis­tricts.

10. As I un­der­stand it, Phil­adelphia pays more taxes to the state than it re­ceives back in state aid, so the 18 per­cent of the edu­ca­tion budget that he states goes to Phil­adelphia is ir­rel­ev­ant.

Ed­ward S. Marks

Winchester Park

Youth sports group thanks can­did­ate 

The Bustleton Bengals would like to thank Danny Al­varez, can­did­ate for dis­trict at­tor­ney, for donat­ing tick­ets to the Temple foot­ball game to our youth or­gan­iz­a­tion.

Good luck, Danny, on the up­com­ing elec­tion.

Glen Reed

Bustleton Bengals

I agree with term lim­its

Joe Oren­stein’s re­cent let­ter to the ed­it­or is spot on. I have been call­ing for term lim­its since the Tru­man ad­min­is­tra­tion. Joe calls for a maxmum of eight years. I sug­gest 12 to 16 years. Many states have term lim­its in­clud­ing Ohio, which man­dates a 16-year max­im­um. Joe made ex­cel­lent points when speak­ing to pro­trac­ted va­ca­tion time. Un­for­tu­nately, scan­dal­ous be­ha­vi­or will be with us un­til the end of time. Some things we can­not con­trol. On a pos­it­ive note, it was a pleas­ure to see Wein­er and Spitzer de­feated in New York. The elect­or­ate spoke! “We don’t want per­verts elec­ted to pub­lic of­fice.”

Adding to Mr. Oren­stein’s let­ter, I sug­gest that we jet­tis­on all forms of pat­ron­age jobs. Folks de­sir­ing pub­lic ser­vice jobs should take a civil ser­vice ex­am or com­pete with party loy­al­ist in a fair and ob­served man­ner.

Fi­nally. A two-year term in the state House and Con­gress is ludicrous. One year of cam­paign­ing. One year of work does not bode well with the elect­or­ate.

John T. Fritz

Park­wood Man­or

Seth Wil­li­ams must go 

Since Seth Wil­li­ams was elec­ted dis­trict at­tor­ney, it seems that every time I hear news about the DA’s of­fice, it is an­oth­er em­bar­rass­ing story of mis­man­age­ment, wasted re­sources and polit­ic­al cronyism.

While our city schools barely have enough money to start the year, Seth Wil­li­ams thinks it is ap­pro­pri­ate to pay top-dol­lar salar­ies to event plan­ners and oth­er un­ne­ces­sary staff rather than use that money to pro­sec­ute crim­in­als who are ter­ror­iz­ing our city.

Seth Wil­li­ams has com­pletely failed to in­vest­ig­ate polit­ic­al cor­rup­tion in the Sher­iff’s of­fice and in City Hall. He has even been ac­cused of ra­cial dis­crim­in­a­tion re­gard­ing the hir­ing of pro­sec­utors.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back is the plea deal he offered to two cold-blooded mur­der­ers. 

Shane Kelly was killed while walk­ing to his Fishtown home with his girl­friend dur­ing a botched rob­bery at­tempt. In­stead of pro­sec­ut­ing the mur­der­ers to the fullest ex­tent of the law, one of them will be eli­gible for re­lease in 12 years. 

This is an ab­so­lute dis­grace, and demon­strates Seth Wil­li­ams is not cap­able of pro­tect­ing our city, and can­not be trus­ted.

Mat­thew Gabor

Holme Circle

Bold ideas to bal­ance school dis­trict budget

To the mem­bers of the Cent­ral High School Home and School As­so­ci­ation, let me state the fol­low­ing: your pleas for more fund­ing from the city and state are fall­ing on deaf ears. You must face a dooms­day scen­ario. 

So what can you do? Here are a few sug­ges­tions you might want to con­sider. Close all school cafet­er­i­as. Let the par­ents feed their kids. In­crease classroom size to 40 pu­pils, and be­fore you teach­ers start whin­ing and com­plain­ing, let me say I grew up go­ing to school with more than 40 pu­pils per class and we were the last great gen­er­a­tion. 

Next, you should tell Gov. Corbett you are will­ing to take a 15-per­cent pay cut and pay health in­sur­ance costs to the same de­gree that the state le­gis­lat­ors do. All this will go a long way to­ward solv­ing the fund­ing crisis.  

Joe Oren­stein


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