Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: Tacoma Public Schools

Sep.
21st

STRIKE: Jarvis pursuing agenda over education

I congratulate Superintendent Art Jarvis for placing me, an administrator, firmly in the teachers’ camp. From what I have observed and read, it appears he is not negotiating in good faith, does not have the true welfare of teachers, students, and their families in mind, and has lost touch with the value and power within individual communities that sustain their respective schools.

Yes, children are being harmed through this strike. Yes, families and communities are being stretched, some to the breaking point. Yes, teachers are being treated like pawns, not people. Yes, teachers and protesting students are being bullied. And

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Sep.
7th

EDUCATION: Old idea repackaged as ‘innovation’

The News Tribune suggests that Washington state law be changed so that single-sex education can be another “tool” in the boxes of principals (editorial, 9-7). But segregating students by sex is an old idea being sold to districts as “innovation.”

Tools based on faulty science, with no solid research behind them, divert public funds from proven solutions. They also distract schools from tackling more pressing educational problems of racial and class disparities.

As to The News Tribune’s claim that there’s a “pile of evidence” that single-sex classrooms help boys and girls? It simply is not true.

Advocacy organizations such

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Aug.
8th

TACOMA: District needs a student-centered contract

Four months ago, a new coalition launched to bring community voices together for student success. Vibrant Schools Tacoma Coalition’s short-term goal is to focus on those areas of the Tacoma Public Schools/Tacoma Education Association’s Collective Bargaining Agreement that can lead to increasing student achievement and closing the achievement/opportunity gap.

The formula for success is known: a work environment that supports and encourages teachers’ professional growth, evaluations that recognize and support effective teaching, and a compensation system that attracts and retains great teachers. All will help our students achieve.

The path to success is more challenging. Trust and transparency are needed,

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July
6th

TACOMA: Keep ads off school scoreboards

Re: “Scoreboards will ring up ad dollars for schools” (TNT, 7-5).

Why does the chirpy headline about new corporate-sponsored scoreboards remind me of the Clear Channel billboard controversy?

Maybe it’s because in both cases, the assumption is that an inflow of money in these tough economic times is unquestionably a good thing, regardless of the costs of such corporate-driven media arrangements.

Let’s look at three points made about this proposal by the advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, almost 30 advocacy groups, parents and individuals who care about children.

As this

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March
30th

TACOMA: Same old ideas, same old failures

Why did Tacoma School Superintendent Art Jarvis (Viewpoint, 3-29) decide to attack teacher Mike Jankanish’s ideas (Viewpoint, 3-23) of finding ways to close the achievement gap through better early education and a “greater emphasis on creating a unified, rigorous curriculum?” I find these ideas commendable.

I believe all children can meet the standards we ask of them but we need to set these standards. It would be nice if the educational establishment believed this also.

My children have attended Tacoma public schools since 1991. The greatest improvement I observed was the results of the WASL. The whole community

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March
7th

TACOMA: Gender experiments require public discussion

Re: “Jason Lee tries separating 6th-graders to boost achievement” (TNT, 3-7).

Leonard Sax’s view on gender are extremely controversial and saying that “he has fans and detractors” hardly takes alternative voices seriously or gives them any space.

At least three books by neuroscientists in 2009 and 2010 have called Sax out by name as one of the worst offenders for cherry-picking from among studies that support his conclusions for same-sex schools (he’s the head of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, after all).

As a parent, scholar and university professor, I am upset that we seem to be

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March
7th

TACOMA: Disperse underperforming schools’ students

I completely understand the budget cuts that have to be made.

My concern is how these budget cuts are being solved for Tacoma elementary schools. The school board is making its proposals based on capacity numbers at each school. Our kids’ future is No. 1, and the budget is No. 2. These two crucial things should correlate with each other in that order.

I understand that Bryant wants a newer school, but that does not give the right for them to disperse Franklin students around to other schools just so Bryant can upgrade. They aren’t making their AYP scores (Franklin

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March
7th

TACOMA: Appalling experiment at Jason Lee

Re: “Jason Lee tries separating 6th-graders to boost achievement” (TNT, 3-6).

I’m appalled as a parent that the Tacoma Public Schools is experimenting with the taxpayers’ dollars. Calling on Dr. Leonard Sax, at the tune of $6,250, is playing with the budget like I play Monopoly with first-graders. I know who’s going to win the game before it even begins.

Sax isn’t the answer. Same-sex classes aren’t either.

First, the solution can easily be addressed by conducting more forums with parents. However, the district is being lazy and taking alternative courses of action that will bring it back to the

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