Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: Tacoma schools


TACOMA: Santorno disappoints SOTA-SAMI students

Sounds like Tacoma School District Superintendent Carla Santorno is behind the decision to cancel the SOTA-SAMI trip to Madagascar that students had worked so hard to plan. Supporters of her probably praise her caution. But I see a craven surrender to expediency, including concern for her own legacy.

The flip side of an American electorate that loves moral righteousness, certainty, and ideology over compromise is its tendency to be flummoxed in ambiguous times. Santorno taints an entire continent, because she can’t make a simple geographical distinction.

I’ve taken students to Africa in times of political violence and State Department cautions:

Read more »


TACOMA: Innovation in district is impressive

It has been nearly 10 years since our youngest daughter graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at Foss High School, and nearly that long since I worked in the Tacoma School District. I did some exploring on the district’s website to see just what the district has done in the past decade.

I was impressed by the innovation happening in the district’s schools: the School of the Arts has grown to 645 students in grades 9 through 12, with its students showing reading and writing scores above the 80th percentile in the past three years; the staff at Baker Middle

Read more »


EDUCATION: No room to tighten school days

The editorial, “Tighter school days might offset shorter school year” (TNT, 11-17), missed the mark on several levels.

Contrary to the assertion that our students spend an “enormous amount of time” on transitions and breaks, Tacoma students are allotted only 30 minutes to line up for lunch, wait in line, pay for their food and eat their meal. In many schools, children routinely end up with just 10 minutes or less to actually consume their food.

In our middle schools, children have only four minutes between classes, and in our high schools only five. District policy requires two 15-minute

Read more »


TACOMA: Lincoln Center also deserves recognition

In the Tacoma School District, Lincoln Center has been making huge advances with their kids, yet you hear more about SAMI or SOTA.

There is this feeling of superiority that the teachers and administrators have because they work at the Science and Math Institute or the School of the Arts and get all of this publicity about making such a difference in the Tacoma schools. There is this districtwide opinion that these schools are the pride and joy of the district, and Lincoln Center is merely the younger sibling who can never compare to either SAMI or SOTA.

I don’t

Read more »


TACOMA: School plan was 4-year high school

Recently there have been comments concerning the middle school model as it exists in the Tacoma Public Schools. In the 1980s, I served on the ad hoc committee that looked into making changes and many models were investigated.

The primary reason for changing was to implement a four-year high school plan that would make a better curriculum focus or flow for students. In adopting this plan, the complexion of the junior high schools would be affected.

One of the complaints then was having seventh graders with ninth-graders, not a good meld of ages. Very interestingly, this is the same complaint

Read more »


TACOMA: Middle schools are unhealthy for kids

Re: “Junior high return sought” (TNT, 9-27).

It is my personal opinion that middle schools are unhealthy mentally and emotionally for young children.

Going to middle school is a form of rite of passage. When children come into their teens, a new world opens up for them. Young girls begin to wear makeup, and for boys it is just a few steps away from learning to drive. There is peer pressure in social areas.

Young people just entering the sixth grade are often still just children, and the sixth grade has been traditionally a stepping stone toward a new world

Read more »


RELIGION: Is bias against Christians OK?

No public school official would even consider putting the words “Christmas” or “Easter”on a school readerboard nowadays. Christ’s birth has been relegated to “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.”

Yet they had no problem at the Tacoma Public School Professional Development Center on North 23rd (formerly Truman Middle School) putting a Yom Kippur message on the readerboard recently.

I can already hear the justifications. Don’t bother. The message was loud and clear: Anti-Christian bias is the now the only acceptable bias.


TACOMA: We’ve seen all this before

Re: the changes in three of Tacoma’s middle schools (TNT, 8-15).:

With a few changes of names and dates, you could have written this article from archives of The News Tribune. For example, Rudy Crew initiated new programs and teacher training to ensure that all children were ready for college, and Hunt Middle School launched the IB Middle Years program in the late 1990s.

Principals are regularly rotated through Tacoma schools, and new curricula emphasizing math and science have been trotted out almost every year – each one claiming to increase student interest and, consequently, test scores.

I applaud Susie

Read more »