Letters to the Editor

Readers speak on Mandarin program, long wait in the ER, and high-school associate’s degrees

You can read and comment, as well as share stories, on The Herald-Sun and editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook pages.

Here’s what some of you said about the news stories and commentary we posted recently at wwww.heraldsun.com

▪ On growing pains at Glenwood Elementary School in Chapel Hill, which houses the school district’s poular Mandarin language program.

Lucy Lewis: “Board Chairman James Barrett said he would like CHCCS to clarify its goals for the Mandarin program. “I want to be sure that we are answering those questions sooner, in the best interest of the community,” he said.” Seriously, when we have a continued achievement gap among students in our community do we really need to keep putting resources into an elementary school Mandarin program for parents like these “some saying they moved to Chapel Hill from another state because of the program. “? I hope all CHCCS Board candidates are prepared to identify real priorities for our children.

Desiree Goldman: Love the program. Don’t love the $300 million in deferred maintenance needed in our schools. Time to manage the budget more effectively.

▪ On the family of a boy with autism that waited more than 10 days in the emergency department before he could be placed in a program he needed.

Nan Fulcher: Look at “The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes” by Randi Davenport for more information on this topic. This mother and writer describes the same issue ... the same ER.... the same UNC psych unit. I cannot say enough about the despair of children and their families, the appalling lack of support services, and lack of understanding within the psychiatric community itself. Every person needs to consider how they would respond if this was their child. This could be you in the ER, facing a serious mental health crisis of a child or other loved one. Understand that a highly regarded teaching hospital ER and residential psych unit are the places with the most support. Once you are served, you are left to fall off the edge of the earth. Even for those that have not experienced a medical crisis, adequate care for young children and teens with severe mental illness is non-existent. Children need compassion! Parents need respite and financial help!

▪ On former Durham principal Henry Pankey’s guest column calling for all student to have an opportunity to graduate high school wth an assocate’s degree:

Steven Hutton: I agree. We should look to countries like Germany where they do a much better job of assessing students’ aptitudes and advising regarding career interests. There’s nothing shameful about teaching someone to be a carpenter, plumber, electrician, mason, HVAC or auto mechanic, or similar starting at age 16 or earlier. Apprenticeships are essential, but our culture is too anti-union and too racist to permit a tried and true way of passing on knowledge and expertise, a method that has existed since the beginning of civilization. And we could look to Florida for examples, too. They are making a concerted effort to teach early for careers in biotech, high tech, etc. A clearly defined path to career can be highly motivating for many students, resulting in improved reading and math skills, due to increased motivation to succeed.

Lorenz Hintz: I’ve taught at both community colleges and high schools. Most high school students are not ready for college courses. It will be more productive for students to master the high school curriculum so they can be successful in college afterwords. Yes, high school students should have the opportunity to take intro courses already offered by many CTE courses and AP or IB courses. They should learn about the different careers and programs available in post secondary programs.

Katrina Ryan: The principle he is advocating is sound. I finished high school in France, and at the end of your, final year of Lycée ( high school) you were 18/19 years old, or, about a year older than is typical in the U.S. However, only 25-35 percent of students were on a University specific track. In the transition INTO Lycée, students are tested and offered a variety of options for their Lycée program. Most chose to go to something equivalent to a business college or trade school, where they would graduate with a degree that would get them a middle-class job. The idea that most people need a four-year liberal arts degree just isn't so.