In his July 6 Guest Opinion on education, Bob Fontaine’s suggestion that effective schools should emphasize special concern for those in need by providing them with “hope and opportunity” seems a little empty of substance, a nice thought but what does that mean. What does “those in need” mean, exactly? In the current cultural climate it strongly implies impoverished, handicapped, racial/sexual/ethnic minority and other subgroups of the society. But don’t all children need to be able to read and calculate and to have a knowledge of what constitutes ethical behavior, history, literature, the English language and other foundational information and don’t they need this regardless of their cultural, minority group or economic status? Does Mr. Fontaine include the highly intelligent among those in need? They clearly need special concern and encouragement so they can develop their special gifts.
A plaque that said “The truly effective school is one which provides all students with the tools, skills and knowledge to take advantage of the opportunities which a great America will offer them” seems a better objective. Schools don’t provide opportunity or hope unless they provide tools, skills and knowledge.
William Haller, Boise
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