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Improving Pasadena's Public School System

August 16, 2003

"Task Tough for Ambitious Schools Chief" (Aug. 11), on the Pasadena Unified School District, featured Pasadena's most famous pessimists, including Joe Hopkins, publisher of the city's African American weekly, the Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley Journal, and community activist Rene Amy. Our 10-year-old son told us he thought the story was "really wrong." He just finished a week of the Pasadena Jazz Institute's "Jazz Camp" at the Sierra Madre public elementary school, which attracted students from West Covina, Manhattan Beach and Monrovia. Last Saturday we visited Wilson Middle School to watch the new All-Star Marching Band preparing to march in the Rose Parade in 2005. The kids are terrific, every one of them.

There is a lot of hard work to do, and the work is getting done. Having transferred from private school, we find the academics, based on California state standards, to be rigorous. A diverse student population is essential for "real-world" education for all kids. Pasadena schools Supt. Percy Clark Jr. leads this crucial effort to make up for decades of neglect.

Kevin and Katina Dunn

Sierra Madre

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