The Woodward News

May 6, 2006

Lesha Alvarez

Editor, The News

I am writing to give my opinion on the upcoming bond issue – I previously submitted two bond surveys from the newspaper, but I guess my ideas were not worthy of discussion because nothing is changing in the upcoming bond.

I would like to know why we need a huge new building for our pre-k and kindergarten program. If I had to send my four or five-year-old child to a building like that it would upset me – I can’t get the image out of my head of a bunch of cattle being herded into a huge feedlot. Why can we not open our neighborhood schools (Madison Park and Oak Park) if we are going to spend this kind of money for a new building. We could use that money to update and reopen the schools we have now.

We have kids getting on buses between 6:45 and 7 a.m. each morning to run all over town, ending up at middle school then sometimes changing buses to arrive at their own school between 7:35 and 7:45 a.m. when they have a school three blocks from their house. What happens if they miss their bus (which happens more than you think). Is there someone at their house to get them to school? I think we need to check on these absences and see how many are related to a missed bus.

If the kindergarten class is going to be all day let’s open and update the schools we already have and put kindergarten back with first through fourth grade. Then we could use Westwood for a pre-k center - having the whole center for a morning and afternoon session of pre-k. Which leads me to another point - all day pre-k – that is something I would never be in favor of. We are trying so hard to grow our kids up so fast for what reason? Four-year-old kids going to school for eight hours is crazy. I feel that would be more like a state-run daycare, which is guess is fine for parents who have their children in daycare all day anyway, after all that way daycare would be practically free for them.

I think we as parents need to step up and take a little more responsibility for our kids’ education. We need to prepare them for school (ABC’s, numbers, coloring, etc.) instead of putting them in school when they are still babies. Our teachers are overworked and underpaid, yet we expect them to take all the responsibility for our kids’ entire education, so when they don’t live up to our expectations we can set around and judge what they are doing wrong instead of stepping up and doing what is our jobs to begin with. We wonder why we can’t keep quality teachers.

If we build this new pre-k and kindergarten building, I would like to know how we will pay the bills (electric, gas, etc.)? After all, I remember a time when lights were being turned off and heaters turned down because the electric bill was too high. Our kids being told to bring a blanket if they were cold - what will they do in a building two or three times bigger? Is there a certain time or temperature when air conditioners are turned on? The kids in middle school the last couple of hot days are coming out red-faced and sweating, complaining it’s like an oven in there - try learning in that environment.

If we were able to get the kindergarten classes back into our neighborhood schools maybe it would give our fourth graders and opportunity to buddy with the kindergarten class - helping them out, showing them how things go, reading to them, etc. - giving our fourth graders a sense of pride and accomplishment before sending them to middle school where they are at the bottom of the totem pole again.

I have to let you know not all these ideas are mine – a lot of them came from some concerned and involved parents. These are some of the ideas that at least we could discuss before we jump into something we can’t get out of.

Thank you for your time.

Lesha Alvarez