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Mailbag: Readers respond to 'School Flight' series

September 10, 2011

When my oldest was of school age, we went to Adams, toured the school and attended the town hall-style information night. We were excited about the possibility of simply walking our daughter around the corner to her school in the same way I walked to school when I was a child.

Then we started asking questions, and the answers were disturbing to us. In a class of 20 students, an average of 16-plus would be English learners. We asked a simple question.

"How do you meet the needs of the three or four students in the class that don't need any English-language instruction?"

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The answer: "We have the fluent speakers work as helpers in the classroom."

Question: "Do you differentiate reading instruction in the upper grades where children move to different classrooms based on reading levels?"

The answer: "No."

The answers to these two questions decided the situation for us. This school will not meet the needs of my child. I'm glad to see that Principal Gabe Del Real is trying to set a different tone by addressing children's individual needs, but our choice has nothing to do with our children fitting in. Our children are now in a school they love, where their needs are being met, and we have no intention of moving them.

What I see as the biggest problem in this whole situation is not racism, not low test scores, or fitting in or perceived violence. The problem is that Newport-Mesa is a basic aid district. The district has no motivation to meet the needs of its customer base because it gets paid whether my child attends its schools or not. If that changed, the schools would change.

Brendan Keegan

Mesa Verde

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My wife and I have lived in Mesa Verde for more than 32 years. We've raised four daughters here and all four have attended California Elementary, TeWinkle Intermediate and Estancia High schools.

I am a 13-year volunteer for various N-MUSD programs and committees. I was honored to serve as Estancia's Eagle Pride Foundation's first president, and was co-founder and first president of the Estancia & TeWinkle Schools Foundation.

All my daughters were senior class presidents. All excelled in scholastics, graduating with top honors. All graduated either magna or summa cum laude from California universities.

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