Under Ohio's disastrous charter school law, it was easy to predict failure. Test scores at traditional urban public schools were low. Some extreme conservatives blamed professional educators. Clouded by rigid ideology, they irrationally concluded that urban children could be better taught by amateurs.
The latest findings, that most charter schools are failing miserably, reinforce previous studies. Charter school advocates whine that judging them by test scores is unfair. As I wrote in a previous letter to The Blade, "Charter school officials don't want to be judged by the same tests that are the very reason for the existence of charter schools." Now, years later, we are still told that charter schools need more time.
Time is money - lots and lots of our tax money. Ohio squandered almost $300 million on charter schools in the 2003-2004 school year alone. Despite their appalling record, the state will fund more charter schools for the 2004-2005 school year.
I do not oppose charter schools. I oppose the Ohio law that allows almost anyone to open a so-called public school - the only thing public about which is the money spent to fund it. No elected school board, incompetent and/or suspicious business practices, profit-making while failing, and blind neglect from officials charged with oversight.
By the way, one of the few success stories is a school for the performing arts chartered by the Toledo Public Schools; further proof that educating children is best done by professionals under the supervision of an elected school board. The charter school law must be changed to reflect this logical, rational reality.
Meanwhile, each charter school that has been operating more than two years should be thoroughly evaluated by the state to see which have earned the right to continue operating. Taxpayers and children deserve nothing less.
Today's economic climate forces us to tighten our belts and choose our investments carefully. Each time voters are asked to pass a school levy, there is the usual criticism of public education, the concern for the added tax burden put on the taxpayers, and a discussion concerning inadequate state funding. The challenge of meeting the needs of a growing district in the areas of academics and providing students with a top-notch learning environment is not easily met.
The most recent report card issued by the state of Ohio reflecting the Anthony Wayne Local School District's rating of "Excellent" is a great accomplishment.
The AW administrators, staff, and students should be applauded for the efforts put forth to not only meet the state of Ohio's expectations but, more importantly, the expectations of the residents who have had a long-standing reputation of supporting our school district.
Indeed, we have invested wisely!
My husband and I were shocked to see the Aug. 22 headline: "Bargain values at troubled Lake Seneca; Shallow, muddy history depresses lot prices." This was not only inaccurate but unnecessarily negative.
We have been lot owners at Lake Seneca since its inception in 1966 and cottage owners since 1971.
There have been troubles at Lake Seneca in the past but those troubles no longer exist. Full water levels have been back for three years. The property owners association is in good financial condition; the new restructured dam is being paid for, and the association board is doing a good job of managing operations. In the last three years, many new cottages and permanent homes have been built at Lake Seneca, representing a firm commitment to the future of the lake community. Property values are going up.
Your article intimated that you can get a good bargain at this lake if you like a pool of mud and slime. A man-made lake created from a river and farmland will never match Clear Lake in Indiana. Since babies, our children grew up learning to fish, swim, and water ski at Lake Seneca and never once suffered gastrointestinal problems from the "shallow, muddy" water.
Through the years, we have enjoyed privacy, calm waters, good fishing, beautiful sunsets, and the lifelong friends we have made at Lake Seneca.
The last paragraph of the article was positive - regarding newcomers who enjoyed their property and the lake. It would also have been positive to picture some of the new, beautiful cottages and homes that have recently been built.
Lake Seneca "troubled"? No longer!
As an avid motor sports fan I appreciate all those involved in bringing the Champ Boat series to Toledo. The Toledo race was the fifth stop on the race circuit, which will find the drivers and crews heading to San Diego for the final race of the season, with stops in between at St. Louis and Denver.
Those who failed to come down to the waterfront for this event missed some of the best racing in all of motor sports, with the added opportunity of patronizing some of Toledo's finest restaurants at the Docks, a wonderful location to enjoy the races.
Drivers and crews from all over the country welcome this site and look forward to coming back next year. This year's race will receive national attention when it will be aired on the Outdoor Channel on Oct. 27. This will truly showcase the Toledo waterfront, which most people around the country are not familiar with.
However, as with any major event of this type sponsorship to bring a national race circuit to Toledo does not come without cost. This is a perfect venue for area businesses, charities, and service organizations to band together and support the community and the downtown Toledo waterfront.
Let's make sure we bring the Champ Boat series back in 2005.
A recent letter presented a misconception of the 2000 presidential election in Florida. The truth is: George Bush was rightfully elected president. Can the earlier writer name one method that was used by Gov. Jeb Bush to help his brother get elected?
Does he understand that there was an existing Florida law requiring all recounted votes to be certified no later than one week after the election?
Does he know that according to that law, all recounting after that deadline was illegal?
Does he know that the U.S. Supreme Court made its rightful decision, for the sole purpose of upholding that law?
Why were votes still being counted three weeks after the deadline, if those who were doing the counting weren't concerned about changing the outcome? Isn't it strange how some people never complain about the electoral voting system unless the results are not to their liking?
He also mentioned how Ralph Nader stole votes from Al Gore. Votes are not stolen, they are cast by one's own free will. He claimed that voting for the Kerry ticket would restore truth and credibility to the White House. In my opinion, those qualities were never lost with the current administration.
So many Americans have simply ignored the truth as to why George W. Bush won the election in 2000. Those who would dare say that he stole the election or that the courts gave it to him need to do their homework instead of swallowing any distorted propaganda that comes their way.
That election was living proof that our democracy and our justice system, though imperfect, do indeed work as intended. Our opinions should be based on facts, not on emotional rhetoric and misinformation. The truth does indeed set us free!
GERRY A. TROYER
I cannot let the death of Fernand Auberjonois pass without giving a salute. He was the epitome of a foreign correspondent. I enjoyed his news coverage throughout his career, and saw much of the world through his eyes. He was indeed a distinguished journalist and a great credit to The Blade.
EDWIN L. HEMINGER
Findlay Publishing Co.
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