On the surface, the concept presented by Toledo Board of Education President Bob Vasquez for an independent review of Toledo Public Schools seems appropriate and needed ("Fiscal woes force TPS to retool itself," June 6). But past attempts at conducting such operational reviews have not resulted in meaningful reforms.
In 1999, the Corporation for Effective Government did a study of TPS involving a blue-ribbon committee of Toledoans and others. Union contracts and labor-management practices were not included because if they were, TPS administrators and union leaders on the steering committee would not participate. As a result, not one recommendation has been implemented.
In 2002, the school board hired educational consultant Phillip Schlechty to develop a strategic plan. In 2003, the public was presented a "road map to success." Not one recommendation has been implemented.
Whenever community members get upset, TPS puts a committee together or implements a study. The result is always the same: a waste of effort.
The current effort can work only if the board charters the committee by a vote. It must be autonomous and look at both operational and financial practices, including current union contracts.
No TPS officials or employees should be members of the committee. All employees and records must be available for interviews and inspection. All committee members must be free of financial or other relationships that pose a conflict of interest.
The true intentions of the board will be shown in how it structures the committee. Without independence and inclusion of education reform advocates, it's just grandstanding in preparation for a November levy.
As a retired employee of Toledo Public Schools, I've always believed in the value of public education. But as a result of the waste of money at the administrative level, I voted against the recent levy.
At levy time we hear how cuts have to be made to teachers, and sports, while many administrators are getting top salaries and perks. If any cuts are made at that level, the persons whose jobs are supposedly cut are only given new job titles with the same or higher salaries.
South Detroit Avenue
Charter schools are not to blame for trouble at Toledo Public Schools - TPS is to blame ("To save TPS, close charters," Readers' Forum, June 6).
Mismanagement is the biggest cause of TPS woes. You can close all the charter schools, and TPS would still have the good ol' boy network running it and unions overstepping their bounds, both of which have led to the long history of financial trouble.
I am a member of a charter school team. We do not just take a select group of students. We are a public school, not a private school. We take all students who choose to enroll. It is the law.
Accountability is the true test of a good public school.
After reading the June 3 letter "VA doesn't help every veteran," I suggest the writer quit whining, get off his butt, go back to the VA clinic, and let those who are qualified assist him in filling out forms. There are people and groups there who do a great job taking care of our veterans.
If the writer truly needs help, he can get it. I would not let a stack of forms keep me from getting the help I need. This country does take care of its veterans.
The writer should become part of the largest veterans organization in the world, the one primarily responsible for the creation of the GI Bill of Rights: the American Legion.
First the mall, now the theater ("18-screen theater complex to shut by summer's end," June 10).
I see in my future a $2 movie rental, a bag of microwave popcorn, and a soda in the comfort of my living room. It's certainly cheaper than going four miles to another theater.
Going to the movies in this economy was one thing a lot of people could afford. The Maumee theater is a good place to go. I will miss it.
It's a lot of political crap that President Obama is going to kick somebody over the gulf oil spill ("'Cap' over spill is capturing 11,000 barrels per day," June 8). A scapegoat will be found and we will have a trial that will run through a few news cycles.
There will always be an executive or supervisor willing to use a loophole to avoid the spirit of a rule. Though there is a genuine effort to be safe, the greedy and ambitious will always find a way to circumvent rules. It's human nature. Horrible accidents will always happen.
Politicians under pressure to tow the party line and special-interest lobbying with seemingly limitless amounts of money will make it impossible to keep proper regulations for industries that, in a blink of a eye, cause major pollution.
Now imagine having weeks of uncontrolled release of nuclear material instead of this terrible oil spill.
If you think this is unimaginable, think about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Davis-Besse.
My condolences to the families and friends of the people killed in the recent tornadoes ("Survivors recount ordeal of escaping brutal winds," June 7). The coverage by Toledo's television stations helped to save many lives.
More sirens must be installed, so people in every part of the region can hear them. They are life-savers.
So Marilou Johanek still holds Helen Thomas in "great esteem" ("Despite her gaffe, Helen Thomas is still revered," op-ed column, June 9).
Just what does an anti-Semitic, bigoted liberal have to do to lose Ms. Johanek's high regard? Turn conservative?
Apparently Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials have nothing more pressing to do than make Toledo police Sgt. Mark Fry's life miserable because he didn't let a helpless animal die ("Officer rescues fawn, but ends up in trouble," June 5).
ODNR, where have you been? Massive fish kills have been going on at a local power plant for years. Do you go after poachers with the same relentless fervor with which you are pursuing Sergeant Fry?
In Ohio, animal abusers get a slap on the wrist. A blind eye is turned to animal abuses on factory farms.
Is it just easier to pick on a citizen trying to do a good deed?
It sounds as if the moral of this story is that it is wrong to show compassion to another living creature.