Too good to ignore
Re "L.A. schools seek — and find — gifted students," May 9
How many times must we learn that if the bar is set high, students will strive to reach it?
The late Jaime Escalante showed this country that students from East L.A. could pass the AP math exam. Yet we still let minority students in the poor areas of L.A. go unchallenged.
When students are bored, they will find something to do, and it usually involves trouble of some kind. Challenge them, and students will exceed our expectations.
Thank goodness for Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which is beginning to seek out gifted students in a group of historically low-performing schools. We need to challenge all students to achieve their potential.
As a former gifted-program coordinator at my elementary school, I disagree with the underlying notion of the article: that LAUSD has not sought out more gifted students in poor schools because of racism and classism.
There are other influences that maintain the status quo. First, the process that LAUSD goes by to "flag out" gifted students is antiquated and inefficient. The time required to maintain this process lowers it as a priority at any school.
Another reason that lower socioeconomic-area schools do not participate in the process is that they receive federal Title I money, which surpasses any amount the district appropriates for gifted programs. These schools are far less motivated to find alternative avenues of funding.
As a teacher, I believe that all children have the potential to succeed. Attention to "enhanced" learning opportunities should begin and continue at home. Libraries, museums, nature walks and plain old serious discussion are freely available to all. The major difference in the higher socioeconomic-area schools is parent advocacy. Let's remember: The best things in life are free.
Gifted students are special-needs students, yet the state sends schools just $25 apiece for gifted programs?
I am a teacher at a middle school in the Fontana Unified District that has a gifted and talented magnet program. These students flourish in classes with their peers, and they need teachers with special certification to teach them.
The occasional "field trip" or a few pull-out activities do not meet the needs of these students. Education of special-needs students, including gifted students, needs to be more equitable.
To vote or not to vote
Re "Choosing not to choose," Editorial, May 7
I am in agreement with The Times' decision not to endorse any candidates in the primaries for Senate and governor.
At such a crucial time, we are confronted with a miserable bunch of candidates. It is time for laws to be passed regulating who can run and a limit on finances. There has to be some criteria of prior experience before celebrities and the very wealthy, with their overinflated egos, can seek public office. The times we live in are too complex and too dire to entrust governing to those who are not experienced.
A good example is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who actually talks of laws being changed so he can run for president. After the mess he has made of California, he does not even have the decency to be embarrassed by his miserable performance as governor.
What crassness, and a lack of both guts and scruples.
Better to vote while holding your nose than not to vote at all. You can outline what's wrong with the political landscape and still offer a responsible endorsement.
No wonder you guys endorsed Gavin Newsom. And people complain about the Chronicle.
Re "The best choices," Editorial, May 9
Because The Times has endorsed Newsom for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary, I'll be voting against him and everyone else you've endorsed.
The reason for your support, you stated, was that "he would be an interesting governor-in-waiting."
There is an old Chinese curse that says, "May you live in interesting times."
Newsom has made San Francisco a sanctuary city. I don't want California to become a sanctuary state. We can't afford it.
Re "An assessor to count on," Editorial, May 6
I appreciate The Times' kind words about my tenure as Los Angeles County assessor, but I am disappointed you didn't join me and retired Assessor Kenneth P. Hahn in endorsing Deputy Assessor John Noguez as my successor.
Many of the candidates on the June primary ballot — like your pick, John Y. Wong — are somewhat familiar with appraisal issues, but running the largest assessment office in the country takes more than that. Only Noguez has the rare combination of training, experience, knowledge and temperament needed to efficiently manage the assessor's office while maintaining the 99-plus rating from the state Board of Equalization.