Letters-July 31

Donate part

of water rebate
To the editor:
   What good news that the forested land surrounding the Swan Creek Reservoir is to be preserved.
   Bravo to the state Green Acres program and to the Delaware & Raritan Greenway for assuring that this wonderful forest will be forever saved.
   Not only will all of us who live in Lambertville benefit from this action by having the eastern side of our town kept as a beautiful forest, but we are all to get a check for $305 from the water company!
   The preservation of the forests and fields that make Hunterdon such a great place to live does not happen by accident. Groups like Greenway and the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance work very hard to make sure that every farm doesn’t get turned into a housing development. This work is expensive; surveys, appraisals, legal fees and administrative costs add up for preservation sales just as they do for people buying a new home.
   I suggest that those of us who get this unexpected $305 send at least a part of it to the Greenway or to the Alliance so they can continue to preserve the beauty that surrounds us.

James C. Amon

Remember why

they teach
To the editor:
   I read with interest the articles on the survey results for South’s board and faculty and the one regarding drug testing in the school.
   While I acknowledge the seriousness of these issues, to me there is an even more critical one. That is the mindset of a public school that can’t, or won’t, deal with the "outliers," the kids that don’t end up as valedictorian or All-State this or that; the kid who transfers from a different school and is left to fend for him or herself; the kid who has a learning disability (and doesn’t know it) and gets criticized and failed by teacher after teacher; the kid who acts out and gets suspended, period.
   There is no caring, understanding, sense of urgency about the problem or joining forces with parents. Every problem is dealt with by punishment. By the time a progress report arrives home, the student is behind and humiliated, and the parent feels shocked and confused.
   I’ve had many teachers over the years refuse to meet before or after school. The assumption is that I’m asking to meet about my child so why should they come in early or stay after 3 p.m.?
   It’s not their fault I have a 10-hour-a-day job that’s one hour away from home, and I’m a single parent. So I’ve gone to school, met with teachers, made agreements about regular feedback and then never got it.
   When we talk, they betray their anger at the student who "just isn’t working up to potential" as if this were a deliberate prank rather than a need for help. I’ve gotten trepidation and even anger directed toward me for suggesting we partner on finding a solution; in other words, it certainly isn’t their problem.
   This behavior doesn’t match the school’s lofty, claims about wanting to instill self-esteem, pride and achievement in their students.
   Why shouldn’t we expect more from the administration and faculty? They are educated professionals who have chosen to intercede in the lives of our children.
   Why should we presume they know better than we and don’t have to answer for a failing child? They are anxious to take credit when the child excels and rightly so. But that coin is two-sided, isn’t it?
   At South Hunterdon, I have found genuine caring only in the guidance and nurse’s offices, which I’ve greatly appreciated. My children are no longer in the system, but I remain concerned about these issues as well as the deteriorating facilities.
   The story about the board not being good at community relations is like worrying about the quality of the guest relations on the Titanic. Let’s start worrying about the children. Let’s have a program that is in place when drugs are discovered, rather than just suspension or expulsion.
   I believe teachers should be held at least partially accountable when a child is failing. If parents weren’t so alienated by the school, maybe they would be more willing to do community relations and help get the funds that are so desperately needed.
   I am asking that new ideas be tossed around, new thinking be tried and not the same mindset that’s always applied to problems. I continue to hope that the board will shake things up, and teachers will remember why they decided to teach in the first place.

Linda Roemer