I see a disconnect between Toledo Public Schools' decision to cut 132 elementary music, art, and physical education teachers and its proposal to transform Bowsher High School into a performing arts academy ("Budget ills endanger art, music, physical ed," Feb. 7).
It's also ironic that while teachers are being cut, there are plans to transform Scott High School into a teaching academy. I hope TPS has data showing that these are viable options.
If future enrollment projections don't work as planned for Bowsher and Scott, do you suppose TPS officials will link decisions made in 2011 to them?
All any future student has to do is read today's headlines about the distress at TPS and in Sylvania and Bedford schools to make an informed decision.
Cutting phys ed, arts saves nothing
Toledo schools would be making a serious mistake to cut art, music, and physical education to save money. These areas are critical to the growth and development of young children.
It is in these classes that children learn the art of getting along with others, leadership and following techniques, teamwork, self- direction, laughter, small and large muscle control, fairness and unfairness, hand-eye coordination, creative play, social skills, and more.
A person who does not understand the value of art, music, and physical education does not grasp the importance of these activities in developing well-rounded students who as adults need such a background for good citizenship.
Donald Neal Thurber
What about the gifted students?
I was shocked to learn that TPS's proposed cuts include seven teachers in the Horizons gifted student program ("TPS envisions huge changes to system," Feb. 1).
Many students have already benefited from this program, including Keon Pearson, whom The Blade nicely portrayed in the Jan. 17 article "Student's MLK talk to cite dreams of equality, unity."
Where will parents send their gifted children in the future? Probably to a charter school with a gifted program. Can you hear the charter schools applauding?
Mixing age groups is not a good idea
As for the Toledo schools' plans to put junior high students back into elementary schools: Are they nuts?
Teachers are trying to get junior high students ready for high school by teaching them that in high school they will have several teachers, all trained in different subjects. They are also teaching junior high students how little time they will have to change classes in high school.
If the district puts junior high students back into school buildings with elementary kids, junior high students would have to stay in one classroom and have one teacher, who may not be trained in all subjects. Schools will also have more students getting into trouble, as older kids pick on younger kids.
We now have a lot of overweight kids, and to cut music, art, and especially gym classes will endanger more of our children because they will get no exercise at all.
No wonder people I know have moved or are talking about moving to Rossford, Perrysburg, and Maumee.
I do not want my seventh grader going back to Burroughs Elementary School from Byrnedale Middle School. He has improved his attitude about school since getting out of the "baby school," as he put it.
Learn from foreign schools
It's unfortunate that the Toledo Board of Education is considering dismantling the art and music programs in our schools. The board is also proposing to keep all high school sports and reintroduce middle-school sports programs.
The Blade and other critics always compare our nation's schools to schools in other countries, calling them much better.
Most foreign school systems don't have sports programs, but spend their money on academic courses to make their schools better. There might be a lesson here, and we should do the same.
John A. Flynn
Good job plowing snow
To all of the area municipal, state, county, and private contractors who worked so hard after the latest snowfall, thank you.
I know they were compensated for their time, but the long hours away from their families are not unnoticed. People should note the personal sacrifice exhibited during severe weather.
They did a great job making our roadways safe and passable in a short time.
Robert J. Zuber
Snow plows clog driveways
In an effort to keep traffic flowing, city trucks (eventually) plowed the side streets.
So we have a clear street. The problem is we can't get out of our driveways because they're blocked by the snow of the plowing. I just ripped off the front panel of my car going into my driveway.
Leave the side streets alone. I had no problem until the street was plowed.
Steven J. Athanas
The other side of the snow story
The Feb. 7 Readers' Forum letter "City did great job plowing streets" that praised Toledo for its snow removal efforts was only one side of the coin.
It took calls from me and at least one other person on Feb. 6 to get our street plowed after big snowfalls on Feb. 2 and Feb. 5. It looks as if our street was just plain missed or ignored.
Work the polls to see for yourself
In response to the Feb. 7 Readers' Forum letter "ID checks at the polls were a joke," my suggestion to the writer is work the polls for the day and do the checking.<0x00A0>
I worked Defiance County elections and we check everyone's identification. If voters do not meet the requirements of our precinct, they are informed where they must go to vote or they must fill out a provisional ballot, which is verified by election officials.
Voters who come to the wrong precinct are thankful that we provide the information needed to allow them to vote properly.
Phoenix bishop made a bad call
In his Jan. 28 op-ed column about the bishop of Phoenix stripping St. Joseph's Hospital of its Catholic affiliation, Nicholas Kristof wrote that the hospital had "terminated a pregnancy to save the life of the mother" ("A bishop, a nun, and a hospital tussle over Jesus").
Not exactly. As I understand from the June, 2010 edition of America magazine, a national Catholic weekly, the hospital's procedure was not a direct abortion.
The death of the baby was the unintended, although foreseen, result of a procedure performed to save the mother's life. At less than three months' gestation, there was no possibility of saving the baby's life. If nothing was done, both mother and baby would have died.
Many think the bishop needs to rethink, and retract, his erroneous call.