I agree with your editorial regarding the Johns Hopkins research on high school dropouts and the solution that we must spend whatever it takes to give all students the best chance of success in college or the world of work.
Your editorial points out three times that in Toledo, only Rogers High School avoided a place on the list. Whitmer High School is also a public high school in Toledo and has an 87.9 percent graduation rate. This is higher than the state average despite the fact we have a very high rate of students who live in poverty and a high rate of students who require special education services.
I understand the focus of the editorial but Whitmer was painted with the broad brush of "In Toledo, only Rogers High School, of all the city's public high schools, avoided membership in this dubious club," which is simply inaccurate.
We proudly serve 7,000 Toledo students in nine elementary, two junior high schools, Whitmer High School, and our career and technology center. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss our district and the wonderful opportunities that we afford our students.
Patrick C. Hickey
Washington Local Schools
Negative statistics discourage students
So someone has labeled Toledo's high schools as "dropout factories." To whom do we owe our undying gratitude for yet another negative smack in the face? Angry taxpayers who send their kids to private schools but have to pay school taxes? Or the media that delight in making us feel like losers for living in Toledo and sending our kids to public schools? Frankly I don't really care who coined the phrase, but I do care that my kids, who attend Start High School and will graduate, heard this phrase at school and are painfully aware that they go to a school with a less-than-acceptable graduation rate.
Stop blaming the schools for these horrible statistics. If parents don't care enough to make sure that their kids go to school, do their homework, participate in the many extracurricular activities offered, and stay involved in their kids' lives, how can they expect them to graduate? It's not just up to the teachers, coaches, and counselors to see our kids through four years of school.
I think it's extremely irresponsible to publicize every single negative statistic that some naysayer calculates in his narrow mind. For those kids who do want to succeed, these constant put-downs just make it seem a little more hopeless. Why should they keep trying when they attend a "dropout factory"? If they fail, who cares?
Well, I care. I'm extremely proud to belong to the 60 percent of families where the kids do graduate. Let's hear it for us.
COSI, Toledo Zoo are a perfect match
It was unfortunate that the COSI levy failed. I would like to suggest that COSI move its operations to a different location with a lot of foot traffic to breathe new life into COSI. It should consider moving to the Toledo Zoo.
COSI and the zoo would be a perfect match. Both appeal to the family. Both stress learning and education. Zoology and the lessons of the natural sciences taught by COSI are a great fit.
There must be some remote space at the zoo where COSI could reopen on a smaller scale. With a little time, COSI could grow into a vibrant part of the zoo. Portside would most likely be renovated into office or retail shops. A partnership between the zoo and COSI would be great for Toledo and the people who visit our city.
George W. Weidner
I can choose where to spend my money
I would like to thank those voters in Lucas County who decided that they know better how to spend my money than I do. Thank you for voting to increase my tax burden against my wishes. Thank you for ensuring that I have less discretionary income to spend on things that I might actually deem important.
When a person on the street holds up another and demands his wallet, we rightly call that theft. But when a simple majority of voters (including those who will not share the "civic duty" of paying these taxes) reaches into my wallet and extracts money from my paycheck against my will, enforced by the power of government, we euphemistically refer to this as a "quality of life" issue. I say it's a distinction without a difference.
I must ask: How does it improve the quality of my life to have a diminished ability to determine where I want and need to spend my income?
Robert C.W. Birmingham
COSI defeat shows disregard for future
The defeat of the COSI issue makes me disheartened with the entire Lucas County population for its obvious disregard for the future of our community, the communities of surrounding counties and states, and unborn future leaders - scientists, doctors, explorers, engineers, architects, forensic personnel, inventors, electricians, mathematicians, musicians, etc.
The population that defeated COSI is personally responsible for the disposal of an ever-changing educational museum. No longer will difficult science concepts be made visible for children who need visuals for their learning styles. These children will be deprived of seeing and hearing the effects of wind, water, gravity, velocity, sound, magnetic properties, etc. These people have also deprived children, teens, and young adults of a hands-on place they can go after school and on weekends.
This same group of people throws out more costly waste in their weekly trash disposal than the levy's infinitesimal annual cost to homeowners (0.17 mill equals $3 per year on my $53,700 home). People throw away more than $3 worth of food during one meal at any restaurant.
This Lucas County population does not know how to make mathematical comparisons. Here's the math for my home:
•Library: 2 mills equals an increase of $10.72 per year
•TARTA: 1.5 mills equals an increase of $10.29 per year
•Metroparks: 1.4 mills equals an increase of $8.54 per year
The voters agreed to increase my taxes $29.64 per year but threw out a measly $3. They could not support an award-winning educational entity right in the middle of their so-called beloved city of Toledo. Where is the Toledo Pride? What is wrong with people?
Relocate COSI, bring Portside back
We all remember the good old days of Portside, with all its shops and restaurants. Portside was the only relief from the business world of downtown Toledo. Portside was plagued by New York rents and a bill of goods from the owners that the volume of business would more than pay for the high rents. But this was Toledo not New York.
One by one, Portside lost tenants, and eventually the owner turned the business over to the city. This should have been great news for the stores that created the original feel-good qualities of Portside. But the city brought in COSI in lieu of lowering the rents to those wonderful first tenants and rebuilding Portside to what it should have been.
COSI, with much fanfare, said it would not be a burden on the community. COSI did become a burden in many ways. The entertainment that made Portside what it was in the beginning now relied on busloads of school-age children to put life back into the building.
COSI could have been located in many vacant buildings in the Toledo area not considered prime real estate. But COSI was forced upon Toledoans in an area meant for entertainment and shopping.
Now that it is clear that the citizens don't want COSI downtown, it's time to bring back Portside and relocate COSI to a less expensive location like the Museum area or Erie Street Market. Revitalize Portside to what it was, downtown entertainment for adults and families.