Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, March 15

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rolling Thunder thanks donors for Easter funds

To the editor:

To the citizens of Shelbyville and surrounding communities who were on hand March 7, and were able to contribute to our Easter basket fund drive we offer our heartfelt thanks.

These are trying times, what with jobs lost and our economy in disarray, but what we saw Saturday with the outpouring of sincerety and giving from people, many of whom have not much to spare, showed the true spirit of America.

This is our seventh year of collecting donations in conjunction with Wal-Mart and our first year at Shelbyville.

Our funds go to purchasing Easter baskets for children of military families at Ft. Campbell. Through your generousity this will be one of the best Easters for many children. Again, our sincere thanks.

Rolling Thunder Tn. Chapter 1, Smyrna

Magnet school needs more time

To the editor:

Over the past several months I have followed intently the planning of the newly proposed K-5 magnet school at Thomas Elementary. This letter is not meant to decry the magnet school, nor call it "elitist" like some have claimed. It is written because I believe the concern many people have regarding the proposed magnet school is the improper lack of planning and lack of information given to the community.

To illustrate my point, let's look at the timeline of the magnet school according to the Times-Gazette. In October of 2008 the first public mention was proposed. In November a school was selected and approved (Thomas) and before the end of the year admissions criteria had been established. For government standards this expediency is a remarkable feat. However, the problem we have now is that it's March and we still don't know any more.

We have been told that students will be selected to the magnet school based on a set list of criteria, but no one knows what the standards for the criteria are. For example, if only 300 students apply and only half of them actually meet the criteria (that no one knows about) will the other half be accepted just to fill seats and maintain the zoning balance?

We have been told by a high ranking Bedford County education official that, "We are going to have a magnet school in 2009," but we don't know how many students will be attending, who will be teaching them and what they will be learning. Teachers and principals are worried because they have no idea where their careers are going and little time to prepare for them when they do.

The superintendent has said that the magnet school will have little to no additional cost but has not explained to the public how they will fund the extra activities and equipment -- characteristic of a magnet school -- to stimulate these high achieving students.

The problem is no one wants to be part of an experiment, not teachers, principals, parents nor students. While magnet schools haven been proven to work, this is not a magnet school in the true sense.

We need to encourage our education officials to continue to seek out new ideas which give our children better opportunities in a complex world, but we also need to hold our officials accountable when they hastily propose and approve without proper planning.

When I was in college and working on my thesis I had a professor who constantly told me to come back after I had done more research and thought my idea out some more.

We as a community need to do the same to our officials. We need to tell them we like their idea, but they still have some work to do. If a magnet school is the way to go, then let's establish one, but let's not start something as important as this without knowing what we're getting into.

Clyde Wright, Shelbyville

-- The Times-Gazette publishes letters to the editor as space allows, and reserves the right to refuse any letter and to edit for content and length. All letters become the property of the Times-Gazette upon submission. Letters must be typed or clearly handwritten, and must include the phone number and address of the writer for verification purposes. Letters must be 500 words or less, and may not include personal attacks against private citizens or businesses. Please submit letters to editor@t-g.com, or mail them to: Times-Gazette, Attn: Editor, P.O. Box 380, Shelbyville, TN, 37162.

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