To the Editor:
This is a response to a Letter to the Editor from Dick Sabine, “Children in L-A have no voice in education,” which was published April 25 in Twin City TIMES.
Mr. Sabine, in his article on education in Lewiston-Auburn, seemed to go to great lengths to compare our great cities with Florida and Vermont in how proficient our young students are compared to them. He uses Hispanics and blacks in Florida and mostly whites in Vermont to compare against our students. Isn’t this like comparing apples with oranges?
The Florida students are probably second- to fourth-generation citizens, while our students are either new to this country or first-generation students whose parents do not speak our language. Is it the child’s fault things are this way? How would Mr. Sabine like to be placed in a country as a fourth grader who doesn’t know the language and be told he has a first-grade reading level, illiterate and will wind up in prison someday?
If our students in Lewiston continue to improve just a little bit at a time, it will eventually catch up to a great improvement for all.
Mr. Sabine uses the words failure, illiterates and unsuccessful schools. It is amazing that he could forecast our children’s future of poverty and prison without really knowing much about our students. He is right about one thing, though: the children are not at fault due to their geography or choice of parents. Maybe if he wore their shoes for a day he would be better informed.
The schools in our city are manned by excellent people who give their all to teach these children. They do not feel they are better nor do they use such words as failure or illiterate. In fact, they promote college and further education. They also do not blame the parents. They actually help support our children.
The newspapers have jumped on the bandwagon of the new reporting results our schools and continue to compare us against Florida. The Governor who attended schools in Lewiston even is on this bandwagon. Of all people! You would expect he would be the expert on these matters because he came from here. He should notice the difference between then and now and be able to realize you cannot compare the time and place.
Not once does Mr. Sabine express a positive opinion of any kind towards our children, and he completely bashes the situation only based on one example and a flawed example at that. Please, next time, view all sides and conditions and then you will have all the pertinent data to base your opinion on.
I, for one, am really tired of all this negative talk without one person actually speaking for the children. If things are so great in Florida and Vermont, maybe your return address should be from there.
Barnett is a substitute teacher who lives in Lewiston.