Letters 4 – 22 – 2012

Rome’s Report Takes a Rational Approach

No one will argue that the transition to American schools and life is a challenge for recent immigrants. Nevertheless, the issue of improving academic performance should be color-blind. Making it a racial debate is unproductive.

Mr. Rome’s report seems to be taking a rational approach unlike the ‘Brennan report’ which apparently presumes a racial problem/solution rather than a performance problem that should be remedied.

Divid Usher


Focus on Similarities


The focus on diversity in Burlington schools is counterproductive. As human beings we are more alike than different and we should be focusing on our similarities, with respect for all. Multi-culturalism has failed in Europe according to leaders of several European nations. Examples are France and Germany where chaos prevails regarding multi-culturalism in society, an approach that divides. I hope that refugees come to the U.S. because they want to become proud Americans, not to change our culture. Our role is to help them become good citizens of this nation.


It is unfair and unproductive to place non-English speaking students in our schools. Everyone involved appears to be frustrated, and rightly so.


Suggestion: Have the Refugee Resettlement Programs take responsibility for the following: Teaching English to refugee children so that they are reasonably proficient in our language prior to their being able to enter school.


Also, if refugees are considered low income, the Resettlement program should be responsible for ensuring that they are prepared for gainful employment to elevate their income levels. Take the responsibility for teaching English to students from different cultures, and for educating them regarding U.S. culture, to create better assimilation and understanding of our country.


These responsibilities should not fall on the schools or the taxpayers. In fairness to all, and for better relationships, take this burden away from the schools. The current approach is not working and is not likely to work as designed. Step back and take a realistic look at what makes sense. Disruption in our schools does not facilitate learning for anyone. Sometimes individual agendas get in the way of real progress. Our students deserve better than the current environment in Burlington schools. Racism, diversity and multi-culturalism approaches and programs place an emphasis on these negatives in our society. As long as there is a mission in our schools and businesses to foster racism, diversity and multi-cultural issues, there will be unrest. Let’s focus on good old fashioned RESPECT and get down to teaching the children , the future of this nation.


Linda Kirker


Notes & Events

Wednesday April 25: VT Center Right Meeting 12:00pm – 1:30pm (Lunch will be provided – please RSVP so we have a enough food) AIV Conference Room 99 State Street Contact: Darcie Johnston at 229-6107

Tuesday May 8: Vermont’s Digital Future Conference.  This conference will start at 9:00am and be an all day conference held at Champlain College in Burlington.  It costs only $40, which includes all sessions, lunch, and reception. Student rate is $15. Register today at: evermontconference.org.


We look forward to your feedback, tips, and comments. Please send them to robmayn@myfairpoint.net.

One thought on “Letters 4 – 22 – 2012

  1. Linda: I think the points you make about responsibilities and accountability outside of the school system is a very interesting and important one. I think you’re right when you point up that simply tossing everyone together in the name of fairness isn’t likely to succeed — not without preparation and supports and “gateways” that experienced as valuable levelers of the playing field. Your comments are making me reexamine my own commitments to be sure I’m doing my part, as a white male, in supporting others’ success in those ways.

    When it comes to the schools, I think we all know, if only from our own experiences, that many kinds of things get learned and taught — academics and many other things as well. I do think it’s important that we find ways to “rebuild” our schools so that they are free from barriers to participation by people of all sorts and backgrounds and abilities to learn. I’ve seen again and again that kids who are different from one another and whose differences are valued bring brand new things to a school’s culture, and everybody’s richer for it. If kids are feeling marginalized in any school, it’s good to take time to pay attention to that and work to turn it around.

    Again, thanks for your important points about the specifics of language and resources — that analysis really helps me.

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